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Jan. 4, 2007

Box Score | Quotes | Notes

Lexington, Ky. – The South Carolina women’s basketball team lost a 59-55 decision to Kentucky Thursday at Memorial Coliseum in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The Gamecocks dipped to 10-5 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, with Kentucky improving to 12-3 overall and 1-0 in conference.

After Kentucky got out to a 13-8 lead to start the game, Carolina trimmed the lead to 13-12 after a Brionna Dickerson score underneath with 10 minutes remaining. UK regrouped, however, and expanded its lead to 33-17 before the Gamecocks scored the last four points of the first half to go into the locker room down, 33-21 at intermission.

Kentucky’s Samantha Mahoney led all scorers with 14 points in the first half and finished with a game-high 19 points, with Sarah Elliott adding 16 points to the Wildcat effort. After being held scoreless in the previous game against Winthrop, Lakesha Tolliver led the Gamecocks with eight points in the first half, most of which came as a result of successful back-to-the-basket moves. Her team-high 14 points in the game fell just one point shy of her season-high. Stacy Booker added 11 points and Lauren Simms finished with 10.

The two teams traded buckets for the first 12 minutes of the second half, but the Gamecocks made a push to trim the Wildcat lead to 49-43 after an Ilona Burgrova score with 6:28 remaining., but Kentucky center Sarah Elliott knocked down a pair of key jumpers from the top of the key to move the Wildcat advantage to 53-43 with 3:33 remaining and put the game out of reach.

A three-pointer by Booker with 56 seconds left cut the Wildcats’ lead to 55-50, then after a pair of made free throws by Kentucky’s Jenny Pfeiffer, Dickerson sunk a trey from the corner to bring the score to 57-53 with 11 seconds left. Forced to foul, Carolina sent Mahoney to the line with 11 seconds remaining. She made both free throws, only to have Simms answer with a quick basket on the other end to bring the score to 59-55 with four seconds left. Neither team scored in its final possession.

Thursday’s game featured the top two teams in the SEC in terms of rebounding margin, as the Gamecocks entered the game leading the league and ranking sixth in the country with a +13.3 differential and Kentucky ranking second in the league and 12th nationally at +10.8. South Carolina won Thursday’s battle of the boards, 41-31.

Sliskovic moved into sole possession of fourth place on South Carolina’s career defensive rebounds list in the contest when she grabbed her second defensive rebound of the game with 17 minutes remaining in the second half.

The Gamecocks return to action when they travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for a date with No. 12 Stanford, set to tip off at 10 p.m. Eastern on Monday, Jan. 8.