Preseason Predictions Are In for Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina women’s basketball will open the 2023-24 season ranked in the top 10 nationally and predicted to finish second in the SEC. In polls all released on today, the USA Today/Coaches’ Poll puts the Gamecocks at No. 4in the nation, while the Associated Press voters placed them at No. 6. The SEC released its preseason voting by league head coaches and media members with the Gamecocks at second in the league with senior center Kamilla Cardoso earning a spot on the Preseason All-SEC First Team.
This marks the 10th-straight season South Carolina has been ranked in the AP Poll’s preseason top 10 and the eighth time in that span it was among the top six. In the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the Gamecocks have been among the top 5 eight times in the last 10 preseason polls.
The Gamecocks return six members of their 2023 NCAA Final Four squad, including 2023 SEC Sixth Woman of the Year Cardoso and SEC All-Freshman selection and team assist leader Raven Johnson. Juniors Sania Feagin and Bree Hall as well as sophomores Chloe Kitts and Ashlyn Watkins round out the returning group. Staley added senior transfers Te-Hina Paopao and Sakima Walker, and the group of veterans have welcomed three freshmen who, along with early enrollee Kitts, comprised the No. 2 signing class in the nation – 13th-ranked Milaysia Fulwiley, 25th-ranked Tessa Johnson and 40th-ranked Sahnya Jah. Head coach Dawn Staley enters her 16th season at South Carolina, which have included two National Championships, five NCAA Final Fours, seven SEC regular-season titles, seven SEC Tournament championships and six 30-win seasons.
Cardoso emerged as a dominant force in the SEC and the nation last season, especially on the glass. The 6-foot-7 center finished third in the country in offensive rebounding percentage (.208) and seventh in total rebounding percentage (.232). Pulling in 8.5 rebounds per game, she was 21st in the NCAA in offensive rebounds (3.72) and came in 28th in blocks per game (1.94). That production came in addition to her 9.8 points per game while playing just 18.8 minutes per game. Cardoso exploded in the postseason, averaging nearly a double-double in the SEC Tournament (13.0 pp, 9.3 rpg) and capping her NCAA Tournament with a 14-point, 14-rebound effort in the Final Four. In addition to her SEC Sixth Woman of the Year recognition, she was an All-SEC Second-Team selection and an All-America Honorable Mention.
South Carolina will host an exhibition game against Rutgers on Sun., Oct. 22, as the two programs honor former assistant coach Nikki McCray-Penson, who passed away over the summer. Tipoff at Colonial Life Arena is set for 1 p.m.
The Gamecocks will officially open the 2023-24 season in an historic way, playing #10/10 Notre Dame in Paris, France, on Nov. 6. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN with a 1 p.m. ET tipoff. South Carolina’s regular-season schedule includes 11 games against teams ranked in at least one of the two national polls, including five games in the season’s first five weeks.
For more information on 2023-24 women’s basketball season tickets, which start at $55, visit https://thegamecockclub.com/wbb/. To purchase season tickets, visit https://am.ticketmaster.com/gamecocks/virtual-venue/V0IyNA==. To purchase a Community Supporter ticket to donate to underrepresented communities in the Columbia area, visit https://fevo.me/wb24communitysupporter.
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.