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Ex-USC women's players plead guilty to credit card, pot charges

Two former South Carolina women’s basketball players were sentenced to 18 months of probation this morning after pleading guilty to multiple counts of financial card theft and fraud and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Fifth Circuit Judge J. Michelle Childs sentenced Ashlie Billingslea and Jasmine Payne to five years of prison, suspended to 18 months of probation under the youthful offenders act, and ordered them to pay restitution to the victims whose credit and debit cards they took from the Blatt P.E. Center last March.

Childs also will require both to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing.

The players were charged with taking the stolen cards and, in one instance, using them at Wal-Mart to purchase a TV and other items totaling more than $400, assistant solicitor Dolly Justice said.

While searching their dorm room for the credit and debt cards, campus police also found 21 grams of pot divided into 44 plastic bags inside a team-issued gym bag with Billingslea’s name on it.

Payne must pay $391 in restitution; Billingslea owes the victims $351. Payne must pay more because she admitted to an additional theft, Justice said. Billingslea and Payne both apologized in court.

Billingslea is the starting point guard and on the dean’s list at Chipola College in Florida, according to her mother, Pam Dixon. She signed a letter of intent with Mississippi State last week and will enroll there next fall.

Payne attends Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College, but is not eligible to play until next semester. She said she is hearing from a number of Division I schools.