Eight Gamecocks on WNBA Opening Day Rosters
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Eight South Carolina women’s basketball alumnae made opening day rosters as the WNBA tips off its 2023 season today, giving the Gamecocks the third most representatives of any program in the nation. All eight played at South Carolina under head coach Dawn Staley, including four of the program’s five 2023 draftees.
Tiffany Mitchell is the longest tenured Gamecock in the group, entering her eighth WNBA season and her first with the Minnesota Lynx. Allisha Gray is next in line with six years of experience behind her as she embarks on her debut season with the Atlanta Dream. The Dream’s No. 8 pick in the 2023 draft, Laeticia Amihere joins her on the roster. Reigning MVP, Defensive Player of the Year A’ja Wilson is opening her sixth season with the Aces, who look to repeat as WNBA Champs this season. Tyasha Harris signed with the Connecticut Sun this season after spending her first three in Dallas. The Indiana Fever boast a pair of Gamecock rookies in No. 1 draft pick Aliyah Boston and third-round pick Victaria Saxton both claiming roster spots. Top-10 draft pick Zia Cooke earned her spot on the LA Sparks roster to round out the group.
South Carolina’s eight entries lead the SEC, which has a total of 21 alumnae on rosters to open this season, and are third in the country behind UConn (15) and Notre Dame (10). Among WNBA players with seven years or less experience, eight Gamecocks are second behind UConn (12). Staley’s four 2023 draftees to make rosters are the most of any coach this season.
The 2023 WNBA Draft was a milestone moment for Staley’s program, which became just the third to have at least five selections in a single draft (Notre Dame 2019, Tennessee 2008 and 1999). The Gamecocks’ three first-round picks in 2023 tied the 2017 draft for the most in program history, which is a benchmark held by just seven program’s in the country.
In program history, 16 Gamecocks have played in the WNBA, including 12 from Staley’s 15-year tenure. Just two of Staley’s 14 WNBA draftees have not seen time in the league, while four of her eight veterans have been named to the All-Rookie Team, including two who were named WNBA Rookie of the Year (Gray 2017, Wilson 2018). This season’s four rookies – Amihere, Boston, Cooke, Saxton – will be looking to extend those numbers.
Continue to check GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for the most up-to-date information on South Carolina women’s basketball.