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USC women lose fourth in a row

Dawn Staley took the Colonial Life Arena microphone and addressed the crowd quickly after South Carolina dropped its fourth consecutive game with a 65-49 loss to Georgia on Thursday night.

First, she wanted the fans to thank senior Lauren Falohun, who was playing in her last home game. Then she had a simple message for the fans.

"As you can see, we're still a work in progress and not where we want to be," Staley said. "If you hang in there, (soon) these will be distant memories for us."

The four-game losing streak is a season-high. The Gamecocks had a season-high RPI of 27 after defeating Georgia in Athens on Feb. 7, but NCAA tournament hopes are gone unless USC wins four games in the SEC tournament.

It's likely the Gamecocks (13-14, 6-9) will miss out on postseason play for the second consecutive year. They played in the WNIT at the end of the 2007-08 season.

"We are at a point where we are so low," Valerie Nainima said. "We're trying to talk positive but it's just frustrating. We were in such a great position for the post-season, then this occurs."

"But we're going to take it because we have to learn things. We can't do anything but go up from here. We have to stay together, stay strong and keep playing hard."

Three of the four losses came at home, where USC finished the SEC part of the schedule 3-5. The frustration might have reached a boiling point in the second half. Staley sent sophomore guard La'Keisha Sutton to the locker room and would not comment on the reason.

When asked about it in the postgame press conference, Staley said it was a, "coach's decision."

Nainima rebounded from a season-low 4 points in a loss to Kentucky on Sunday to score 18. Ieasia Walker tied her season-high with 12 points, but USC shot 33.9 percent from the field and looked out of sync offensively.

Also, the Gamecocks were dominated on the boards 37-25.

The 24th-ranked Bulldogs had lost six of eight coming in but took control at the beginning of the second half and cruised down the stretch.

Georgia (21-7, 8-7) scored the final four points of the first half to take a 29-25 lead, then opened the second half on a 9-2 spurt to make it 38-27. The Gamecocks got to within five points once but it was a double-digit lead the final five and half minutes.

Ashley Houts led Georgia with 21 points and was 7-for-7 from the field - including three 3-pointers. Porsha Phillips finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

"They were very aggressive," Nainima said. "We tried to come back but they kept driving and we kept fouling. You have to get stops."