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Women's Basketball  . 

Catching Up with Laeticia Amihere

by Brad Muller

Gamecocks+ caught up with former Gamecock standout Laeticia Amihere. Check out the article below or listen to the full podcast. You can also find the podcast on Spotify, Apple, or on the Gamecocks+ web site.

Laeticia Amihere (2019-2023) has competed on some of the biggest stages in the world. The former South Carolina women’s basketball standout not only won a national championship and competed in several NCAA Final Fours for the Gamecocks, she has played for Team Canada at the FIBA World Cup and the Olympics and was also a first-round draft pick in the WNBA. Even with that success and notoriety, it’s her ability to overcome adversity that makes up who she is.

“My life has been a testament of adaptability and perseverance and pivoting,” said Amihere, whose college career started with rehabbing injuries that caused her to miss most of her last two seasons of high school basketball back in Canada.

“I came in early (January 2019). I went from being a regular student, to getting injured, to flying off to a state I had never been to. All of that was something I had to adapt to. Those years taught me to view the game in a different light, and to cherish it more.

“(Women’s basketball sports performance coach) Molly (Binetti) and I are best friends to this day! Going through injuries like that, you have to rely heavily on your strength (and conditioning) staff and your trainers. I still lean on her.”

Amihere was part of the famous “freshies” class, which included four-year starters and fellow WNBA draftees Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, and Brea Beal.

“It’s something that’s going to carry on with me for the rest of my life,” Amihere said of the bond with her classmates. “Even going to the WNBA, people still remember me as the player from South Carolina.

“We’re in a group chat text messaging each other very often. We’re always there for each other.”

Amihere would lean on her teammates and staff again during her final season with the Gamecocks after the loss of her beloved aunt and later, one of her brothers.

“It was a whirlwind of emotions. Being on the court, it kind of became my safe haven.”
Laeticia Amihere  . 

“I had the most amazing people in my life with the coaches being there every day for me,” Amihere said. “The strength staff, my teammates; I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them because when you go through things like that, it takes a village. Having those people around makes me want to come back here all the time because it genuinely feels like home.

“It was a whirlwind of emotions. Being on the court, it kind of became my safe haven.”

Amihere closed out her career with her best offensive season, averaging 7.1 points per game on 48.7 percent shooting as a senior and ranked among SEC’s top 15 in blocks per game. After helping South Carolina reach the NCAA Final Four again in 2023, she was selected eighth by the Atlanta Dream in the WNBA draft.

“It’s something I dreamed about my whole entire life,” Amihere said. “To have the ‘freshies,’ my coaches, and my family around that night, it was a great moment for me. Having a pro career, it wavers. Some days are up, some days are down. Whenever somebody asks me about my rookie season, I always say, I learned a lot!

“It’s the weirdest feeling. One time Aliyah was shooting a free throw, and it was one of our first games (in the WNBA), and I started clapping because I’m just used to doing that. I was so embarrassed. It was a great moment. It’s so much fun.”

Amihere is also active off the court after starting the Back to the Motherland Foundation, which provides opportunities through sport for people in underserved communities, whether it’s near her home in Canada or abroad.

“Back to the Motherland is something I am extremely passionate about,” Amihere said. “I started by going to the Ivory Coast, where my mom is from, starting camps out there, partnering with people out there who are doing amazing things. I was once that kid that wanted to play sports, but my older brothers played sports and we couldn’t pay for three kids to play sports. Coaches gave me that opportunity, so I just want to pay it back to the community. I just want to go to other countries and other communities that are underserved and give them that opportunity.

“My big plan is to build a court. I went to Ivory Coast when I was younger. We would show up to basketball courts, and there would always be soccer goals. Then they would kick out younger people. Girls were only allowed to watch. There are a lot of gender barriers we have to overcome. In America we have a lot less barriers in that space.”

Amihere looks forward to training with Team Canada for the 2024 Olympics, and until then, she is interning in the women’s basketball office at South Carolina and hasn’t ruled out a career in coaching when her playing days are over.

“People just don’t understand what (Dawn Staley) has done for me and my family,” Amihere said. “She has been a rock.

“Even when I don’t see it in myself, she sees things beyond what I can imagine. She put me in a position to be drafted in the first round. I owe a lot to her. I chose to come to this university because the staff was very honest with me. You need people that are honest with you, whether you want to hear it or don’t want to hear it. She has been amazing.”