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Feb. 27, 2011

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Coach Major

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FRESNO, Calif. – South Carolina swept both Western MVP’s against No. 9 Fresno State on Sunday, but could not come back from an early deficit, as the sixth-ranked Gamecocks fell 7-5 to the Bulldogs at the Best of the West Tournament.

“It was a disappointing loss for us today,” South Carolina head coach Boo Major. “Certainly, hand it to Fresno State, they won some close rides and we just weren’t ready for them. They did a great job running the show this weekend and we appreciate their hospitality.”

Sunday’s competition began with Equitation Over Fences, where the Gamecocks dropped two of three points. Kimberly McCormack won her ride 72-40, while Morgan Hale, and Alex Arute all fell to their Fresno State opponents. The Bulldogs’ Hillary West clinched the MVP with an 80-73 decision over McCormack.

The Gamecocks (5-7) rebounded in Equitation on the Flat, as South Carolina swept the Bulldogs 3-0. Junior Colvin Hedgepeth turned in an MVP performance with her 85-82 win over Fresno State’ Lisa Beach. Redshirt Junior Victoria Middleton picked up a 65-61 win over Hannah Flamming, and freshman Kelsey Hart scored a 14-point win over Nicole Roworth.

The Gamecocks won the Hunt Seat competition on the raw score tie-breaker, 439-438.

In Horsemanship, freshman Johnna Letchworth picked up the lone Gamecock point, defeating Fresno State’s Shauna Woodward, 69-66.5. Letchworth picked up her fourth MVP of the season and improved her record to 9-1-1.

The Bulldogs held a 5-4 advantage heading into Reining, and despite an MVP ride by senior captain Chloe Gray, Fresno State took two of three points to hold on for the 7-5 win. Gray defeated Whitney Kittle 70-63 to pick up her sixth win of the season and fifth MVP.

South Carolina dropped the Western competition, 4-2.

“We struggled on the Western side against Fresno,” Major said. “But our Western girls have been great all season, today was just an off-day for them. They’ll be able to put this one behind them. But to win two rides and two MVP’s from Chloe and Johnna, that shows we have a strong group of Western riders.

The Gamecocks also faced No. 8 Baylor on Sunday, and a full recap of that competition will be posted shortly.