#3 South Carolina Women's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #3
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
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After four straight SEC regular season titles, South Carolina has now finished second in three of the last four seasons. Despite falling all the way to second in an extremely difficult conference, the Gamecocks earned a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and returned to the Final Four for the third time under Coach Dawn Staley. With absolutely everybody back and an amazing recruiting class, this will be a group that would be disappointed not to return to the Final Four.
2020-21 Record: 26-5, 14-2
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 331-103 at South Carolina, 503-183 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Zia Cooke, Junior, Guard, 15.9 ppg
Aliyah Boston, Junior, Forward, 13.7 ppg
Destanni Henderson, Senior, Guard, 12.2 ppg
Victaria Saxton, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg
Brea Beal, Junior, Guard, 7.1 ppg
Laeticia Amihere, Junior, Forward, 6.8 ppg
LeLe Grissett, Senior, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Eniya Russell, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg
Destiny Littleton, Senior, Guard, 2.6 ppg
Olivia Thompson, Junior, Guard, 0.8 ppg
Elysa Wesolek, Senior, Forward, 0.4 ppg
Key New Players
Kamilla Cardoso, Sophomore, Center, Transfer from Syracuse
Sania Feagin, Freshman, Forward
Bree Hall, Freshman, Guard
Raven Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Saniya Rivers, Freshman, Guard
Aliyah Boston followed up her impressive freshman campaign with an even better sophomore season. The 6-5 forward averaged 13.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. She has already recorded 30 double-doubles in her two seasons and a couple triple-doubles. Boston is only getting better too and the Gamecocks will continue to rely heavily on Boston on both ends of the floor. Victaria Saxton will again start beside Boston in the frontcourt. The 6-2 senior tallied 8.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. Laeticia Amihere was the first forward off the bench last season and adds another dangerous shot blocker who can hit the glass effectively. South Carolina’s top scorer last season was Zia Cooke. She tallied 15.9 points per game and knocked down a team high 48 three-pointers. Destanni Henderson is a very good shooter too, but the point guard does her best work attacking the basket. Brea Beal added 7.1 points per game and is a big guard who can help out on the glass. LeLe Grissett is not a shooter, but the 6-2 senior can score in the paint and provide quality depth. Kamilla Cardoso spent one season starting at Syracuse where she averaged 13.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. She will provide some very quality depth behind Boston. Incoming freshman Sania Feagin will add even more frontcourt options. Like Feagin, guards Saniya Rivers and Raven Johnson are also top ten recruits who are more than capable of making an impact as freshmen. However, Coach Staley does not need any of the freshmen to return to the Final Four, but having so much depth will be helpful in March and if the injury bug should happen to hit.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 75.4 (26th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 58.1 (38, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (48, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.4 (29, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.5 (280, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.7 (74, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.2 (210, 9)
Rebound Margin: 14.4 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 12.9 (161, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.1 (69, 4)
Madness 2022 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#23 Destanni Henderson
Madness 2021 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#2 Saniya Rivers
#4 Sania Feagin
#6 Raven Johnson
#30 Bree Hall