South Carolina women's basketball: First look at next season

On3 imageby:Chris Wellbaum04/08/24


South Carolina basketball national championship postgame press Conference following win against Iowa

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South Carolina’s 2023-24 season is over. Most of this year’s squad will return, plus the Gamecocks add the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class. What will next season’s team look like?

South Carolina has three seniors who have an extra COVID season they can use next year. Two have already announced their decision.

Te-Hina Paopao has already announced she will use her extra year and return to the Gamecocks. Kamilla Cardoso announced on April 1 that she would be entering the WNBA Draft, despite Dawn Staley’s (mock) hopes that it was an April Fool’s Day joke, Cardoso is projected to be a high first-round WNBA Draft pick and the consensus opinion is that she is making the right decision.

Sakima Walker has yet to announce whether she plans to return to South Carolina for her extra year. She said during the Final Four that she will announce a decision soon. If she returns, she will probably play the same role she played this season.

That means that if nobody decides to transfer, South Carolina has committed 12 or 13 of its 15 scholarships, depending on Walker.

Projected starters
Point guard – Raven Johnson (RS Junior)
Shooting guard – TeHina Paopao (Fifth-year senior)
Wing – Bree Hall (Senior)
Forward – Chloe Kitts (Junior)
Post – Ashlyn Watkins (Junior)

Breakdown: Johnson, Paopao, and Hall are returning starters. Their status won’t change. Watkins was a part-time starter and looks like she is in line for a breakout season. The forward spot was in a bit of flux all season and remains so going into next year. Kitts started most of the season so she’s the favorite to start next year.

Projected backup forwards
Sania Feagin (Senior)
Joyce Edwards (Freshman)
Adhel Tac (RS Freshman)
Sakima Walker (Fifth-year senior)

Breakdown: Feagin could start over Kitts, but I have her coming off the bench to pair with Edwards, who excels on defense. South Carolina will still probably bring her along slowly. Feagin can also back up Watkins when the Gamecocks go small. Edwards might be able to slide over to the five eventually, but she probably needs a year in the weight room first. Edwards and Kitts may be able to play the wing in big lineups. Tac will back up Watkins.

Projected backup guards
MiLaysia Fulwiley (Sophomore)
Tessa Johnson (Sophomore)
Madisen McDaniel (Freshman)

Breakdown: The backcourt rotation will be mostly unchanged. Fulwiley and Johnson will have similar roles, but McDaniel should eliminate the need for either to have to play emergency point guard. 

Transfer Portal Targets
There are no clear needs unless someone decides to leave. If Walker doesn’t come back, South Carolina could use another post to pair with Tac. The coaches are very high on Tac, though, so they may not feel the need to get help. 

Of course, there could always be an all-American caliber player who enters the portal and wants to come to South Carolina, so there could still be some movement. 

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