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May 4, 2010

Coach Elkins

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 18-ranked South Carolina women’s tennis team earned its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid Tuesday and will face No. 54 TCU in the first round May 14 in Tallahassee, Fla., at 10 a.m. ET. Also competing in the Tallahassee regional will be No. 15 Florida State and No. 68 North Florida, who play May 14 as well at 1 p.m. ET. The winners will square off May 15 for the right to play in Athens, Ga., at the NCAA Championships from May 20-25.

The Gamecocks enter the tournament with a 16-8 overall record and were 7-4 in the Southeastern Conference. South Carolina reached the semifinals of the SEC Tournament for just the third time in school history and first time since 2002. After beating Kentucky in the first round, South Carolina defeated the three-time defending SEC Tournament champion Georgia Bulldogs in the quarterfinals, snapping a 12-match losing streak to UGA. It was also the Gamecocks’ first win over the Bulldogs in Athens since 1996. South Carolina fell to third-ranked and eventual champion Florida in the semifinal round.

Carolina hopes to make another impressive run in the tourney as it did last year. South Carolina was sent to Knoxville, Tenn., for first- and second-round action and defeated Wake Forest before upsetting host Tennessee in the second round. In College Station, Texas, the Gamecocks beat Washington in the round of 16 to reach the quarterfinals for just the second time in school history. South Carolina lost a five-hour-plus marathon to the tournament’s No. 2 seed Georgia in the quarters by a 4-3 score.

Overall, South Carolina has now been selected for the NCAA Tournament 20 times in the event’s 29-year history, and the Gamecocks are one of just 18 teams in the country to have received at least 20 bids. South Carolina’s 16 NCAA appearances in a row is the 11th longest active streak in the country. South Carolina has reached the round of 16 six times (1983, 1983, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2009) and advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice (1982, 2009).

Individual selections for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships will be posted on and on Wednesday no later than 6 p.m. ET. Georgia will also host the individual championships from May 26-31.