South Carolina women's basketball: Chicago Sky select Kamilla Cardoso

On3 imageby:Chris Wellbaum04/15/24


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South Carolina post Kamilla Cardoso was selected by the Chicago Sky with the third pick in the WNBA Draft.

Cardoso is the 19th Gamecock selected in the WNBA Draft and the 15th of the Dawn Staley era. She fought back tears after the pick was announced.

“I got really emotional because the main goal was to get here and be able to give my family a better life,” Cardoso said. “Looking at them and seeing them at my table was amazing.”

Cardoso played her best basketball in the postseason and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. She had 22 points and 11 rebounds in just 22 minutes against NC State and then tallied 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds against Iowa.

“I’m just excited to get out there and play with some of the big names of women’s basketball,” Cardoso said. “That was the dream but I never really expected it. I’m so proud that I’m here right now. I know that little Kamilla when I was 13 years old would be proud.”

Last season Cardoso averaged 14.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 2.0 assists. She set career-highs for each category except blocks. 

Chicago also selected LSU star Angel Reese with the seventh pick. Reese and Cardoso were involved in the buildup to the fight in the SEC title game, but Cardoso is looking forward to playing with her former rival.

“It’s going to be great. She’s a great player, I’m a great player, so two great players together,” she said. “Nobody’s going to get no rebounds on us.”

“Now being able to be teammates is amazing,” Reese said. “I actually talked to her earlier and was congratulating her. She just came off an amazing run and amazing college career wo I’m looking forward to playing with her.”

Cardoso played her freshman season at Syracuse before transferring to South Carolina. She was a role player her first two seasons, but emerged as the centerpiece of South Carolina’s offense as a senior. 

The Gamecocks surrounded her with shooters and trusted Cardoso to make reads and pass out of double-teams. As a result, she more than doubled her assists. Cardoso also made her first career three-pointer, a buzzer-beater to down Tennessee in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Cardoso skipped Sunday’s WNBA Draft orientation to attend South Carolina’s championship parade, but she flew to New York to attend the draft Monday evening. 

“It’s been an amazing day,” Cardoso said.

Cardoso had an optional Covid year of college eligibility remaining, but she announced on April 1 on social media that she would forgo her optional season and enter the WNBA Draft. She met with Dawn Staley that afternoon and they agreed she was ready to turn pro.

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“Yeah, just talking to Coach Staley, she’s telling me I think you are ready,” Cardoso said. “It made me have more confidence making my decision. Like okay, she thinks I’m ready. She’s the best in the business. So if she’s telling me I’m ready, she knows I’m ready.”

“I had one discussion with Kamilla about it, and it was (Monday). So I met with her (Monday) in the afternoon and she told me that’s what she decided to do. There was no trying to get her to come back. We’ve been through this with a lot of our players. I want to walk them to the next level,” Staley said. “When they’re prepared, when I feel like they have done enough on this level and the only thing that can help them is being on that level. Kamilla’s in that position. She’s been in our program for three years now. She played a role for us in the first two, and now she plays the focal point. Anytime you play the focal point in our program, it expedites your ability to be able to make the jump to the WNBA. And I do feel like her making the jump will only mean that her best basketball is ahead of her. I mean, there’s so much more to her game that will be had because when you go to the next level and you’re playing with like-minded players, you’ve got no choice but to elevate. And she’ll do that at the next level.”

First Round Draft Picks
1. Indiana Fever – Caitlin Clark (Iowa)
2. Los Angeles Sparks – Cameron Brink (Stanford)
3. Chicago Sky – Kamilla Cardoso (South Carolina)
4. Los Angeles Sparks – Rickea Jackson (Tennessee)
5. Dallas Wings – Jacy Sheldon (Ohio State)
6. Washington Mystics – Aaliyah Edwards (UConn)
7. Chicago Sky – Angel Reese (LSU)
8. Minnesota Lynx – Alissa Pili (Utah)
9. Dallas Wings – Carla Leite (France)
10. Connecticut Sun – Leila Lacan (France)
11. New York Liberty – Marquesha Davis (Ole Miss)
12. Atlanta Dream – Nyadiew Puoch – (Australia)

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