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Gamecocks in the WNBA

Jun 4, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Las Vegas Aces forward A'ja Wilson (22) shoots the ball while Indiana Fever center Aliyah Boston (7) defends in the first half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past decade or so, Dawn Staley has built the South Carolina women’s basketball program into a powerhouse. They have won two national titles, been to multiple other Final Fours, and have had two players drafted as the top pick in the WNBA draft. Staley’s influence on the women’s game is now expanding more and more into the pro level, with her players getting drafted and making an impact. There are currently nine Gamecocks on WNBA rosters. They range from a former MVP to the most recent top pick, to a solid starter, to bench depth. A quarter of the way through the 2023 season, we look at how the Gamecocks in the WNBA are performing.

Gamecocks in the WNBA

Victoria Saxton and Latecia Amihere are both on rosters for the Indiana Fever and Atlanta Dream, respectively. These young ladies were both a part of Staley’s 2022 national title team and this past March’s Final Four run. Neither has been able to crack their squad’s rotation yet, but considering how many quality players were cut from teams before the season began, holding onto a roster spot is still a positive. It would not be surprising to see Amihere began to get minutes as the season progresses. She has good size and length and is versatile with her skills on both ends of the floor. Also, Destanni Henderson was just signed by the Los Angeles Sparks after being cut in the preseason by the Fever.

Tiffany Mitchell – Guard – Minnesota Lynx

The former SEC Player of the Year is in her first season in Minnesota after seven campaigns with the Indiana Fever. She has earned a starting role on the perimeter for the Lynx. Mitchell is averaging 12 points, three boards, and three assists per game. She is also doing this in an impressively efficient manner, shooting 50% from the field and almost 90% from the free-throw line. Her game is predicated on attacking off the dribble, and she has been thriving in her new home so far this summer.

Tyasha Harris – Guard – Connecticut Sun

The former Gamecock point guard and National Champion also changed teams this off-season. She moved from the Dallas Wings to the Sun and has established her place as a solid option off the bench. Her next game will be her 100th career appearance as a WNBA player. Harris has struggled with her shot to start the year but did have a season-high 15 points in a win over Atlanta. As she gets more acclimated with her new team, she should settle in and see her production go up.

Zia Cooke – Guard – Los Angeles Sparks

The bucket-getting guard from Ohio got off to a quick start in her pro career with 14 points in her debut. She hasn’t reached double figures again since opening night. Cooke is a very skilled guard with a deadly mid-range game. She is still adjusting to the overall size and speed difference in the professional game, and her shooting percentages have struggled because of it. However, Cooke has the skill and the mental toughness to stay the course and improve as her comfort level rises. She is averaging four points, one board, and one assist per game through the Sparks’ first nine contests.

Allisha Gray – Guard – Atlanta Dream

After six solid seasons with Dallas, Gray joined the Dream this off-season. The new team has seen her take a giant step forward from a solid starter to an All-Star-level performer. She leads the team in scoring while being second in both rebounds and steals. Gray is an Olympic gold Medalist as well, winning the inaugural 3v3 basketball tournament at the 2022 summer games. The Greenwood, SC native is averaging 18 points per game and has developed into one of the best slashers and finishers around the basket in the league. Among the Gamecocks in the WNBA, Gray’s improvement in year seven may be the biggest surprise this season. She has scored in double figures each game so far and has two double-doubles.

Aliyah Boston – Forward – Indiana Fever

The 2023 number-one pick has gotten off to a great start in her first WNBA season. She became the youngest player in league history with 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, and five+ assists in a game as the Fever got their first home win earlier this week. She is averaging 15 points and eight boards in 66% shooting through her first ten professional games. Boston has elite footwork in the post, is a tenacious rebounder on both ends, and has a very good touch around the basket. She also leads the Fever in blocks with almost one and a half per contest. The 6’5” forward has three double-doubles in her last five games.

A’ja Wilson – Forward – Las Vegas Aces

The two-time MVP is again playing at a very high level for the defending champion Aces. She is averaging 19.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1.5 steals per game as Las Vegas has raced to a 9-1 start. Wilson has the game and personality to be the face of the league, and she has become just that. The Columbia, SC native has six games of 20+ points this year and can get her buckets in a variety of ways. Her mid-range jumper has improved each season, and she has always been tough to handle in the post or on the offensive glass. Wilson has become the standard, not only for fellow Gamecocks in the WNBA but for the entire league.


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