Jan. 20, 2005
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - South Carolina established a new team single-season blocked shots record in Thursday's game at Alabama, but it wasn't enough to generate a victory, as Alabama claimed a 75-62 victory at Coleman Coliseum.
With the win, Alabama improved to 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the SEC. South Carolina dipped to 6-12 overall and 0-4 in conference.
With 110 blocks as a team entering Thursday's game, South Carolina needed only five blocks to match the existing school record of 115 blocks, set by the Gamecocks of 2001-02. Carolina blocked seven shots Thursday to set the single-season record with 10 regular-season games yet to play.
Gamecock sophomore and Spring Valley HS graduate Lauren Simms scored a game-high 21 points for her highest scoring output since a 25-point showing against Clemson on December 3. It was the fifth 20-plus point scoring game of her career. Stacy Booker added 16, marking her highest scoring output since scoring 28 points against Clemson on Dec. 3. Alabama had five players score in double-figures, marking the first time a USC opponent had five players in double figures since Kentucky accomplished the feat on Jan. 25, 2004.
Despite the blocked shot record, defense was a problem for the Gamecocks in the early going, as Alabama converted on eight of its first 11 shots from the field -- most of which were uncontested looks - to get out to a 20-10 lead. Turnovers once again haunted South Carolina, as the Gamecocks gave the ball away 13 times in the first half and 19 times in the game.
South Carolina's game plan entering Thursday's contest was to go inside with more frequency, which the Gamecocks were able to do. Though the Gamecocks were able to get high-percentage looks, they were not able to cash them in. The trio of Iva Sliskovic, Ilona Burgrova and Larissa Kulcsar combined to take 11 of South Carolina's 26 first-half shots, but converted on only two attempts from the field. Consequently, Alabama took a 39-24 lead into the locker room.
Though the post players struggled as a unit, Kulcsar was able to provide a spark off the bench, finishing with five points and six rebounds.
The Gamecocks cut the deficit to nine points at 43-34 with 14:56 remaining in the game. However, Alabama guard Monique Bivins sparked a surge with her hustle on both ends of the court that raised the Crimson Tide's intensity level and increased Bama's lead to 53-36 with 10:48 remaining to put the game out of reach.
Including Thursday's game, South Carolina has lost 10 consecutive games against SEC opposition, with the Gamecocks' last win over an SEC opponent a 77-51 victory over Alabama at the Colonial Center on Feb. 12, 2004.
The Gamecocks return to action at 3 p.m. (EST) Sunday when they battle Arkansas in Fayetteville in search of their first win away from the Colonial Center this season. The game will be broadcast live on 1320 WISW AM radio, with Andy Demetra handling play-by-play and Robin Muller providing analysis. The broadcast can also be accessed live worldwide via the internet at www.uscsports.com.
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