Gamecocks Fall At No. 6/6 Tennessee
Feb. 17, 2005
Knoxville, Tenn. - South Carolina lost a 74-44 decision to No. 6/6 Tennessee Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
With the loss, the Gamecocks dipped to 6-19 overall and 0-11 in the Southeastern Conference. The Lady Vols improved to 19-4 overall and 10-1 in the SEC.
The Gamecocks looked sharp at the onset, hurting the Lady Vols with a series of backdoor cuts that resulted in easy buckets in the first five minutes of the game. Tennessee made the necessary adjustments, however, and took away Carolina's backdoor looks, making every USC possession difficult. Consequently, the Gamecocks scored only one field goal in the next 9:07. On the other end of the court, the Lady Vols pounded the ball inside and ran their offense smoothly, going into the locker room with a 42-21 lead by converting on 18 of their 36 attempts from the field in the first half (.500 pct.)
Lauren Simms and Iva Sliskovic led the Gamecocks with 16 and 14 points, respectively, marking the first time in Carolina's last four games that more than one player scored in double-figures. Guard Shanna Zolman led Tennessee with 13 points, 11 of which came in the first half.
The Gamecocks got a scare at the 4:20 mark of the second half when forward Larissa Kulcsar hit her lower back hard on the ground after getting tangled up with Sybil Dosty on a box-out. Kulcsar did not return to the game and was diagnosed with a lower back contusion.
USC took Tennessee out of its offensive rhythm to start the second half, but the Lady Vols kept South Carolina at bay with defensive intensity and a pronounced quickness advantage that translated into steals on the defensive end and offensive rebounds on the offensive end. The Gamecocks turned the ball over 23 times in the game, thanks largely to the defensive performance of Lady Vol guard Loree Moore, who made four steals in the game and disrupted Carolina's offense before it could get going.
Any hopes of a Gamecock comeback were dashed when Carolina was held scoreless for a span of 8:10 in the second half. Tennessee went on a 13-0 run during that stretch to open its lead to 56-27 before Simms broke the ice with a bucket at the 9:13 mark.
The Gamecocks return to action at 2 p.m. Sunday when they host Alabama at the Colonial Center. The two teams met in Tuscaloosa on Jan. 20, with the Crimson Tide claiming a 75-62 win. Sunday's game will be "Take a Kid to the Game Day", with all children who come in with a paying adult admitted free.