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Gamecocks Continue to Collect National Honors
Women's Basketball  . 

Gamecocks Continue to Collect National Honors

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley added two more Coach of the Year awards to her collection this season as the Associated Press and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) bestowed that title on her today. The WBCA also named Kamilla Cardoso to its All-America Team, and Te-Hina Paopao was one of 42 to receive All-America honorable mention status.

Staley has led her team to its third-straight NCAA Tournament overall No. 1 seed with the Gamecocks entering the NCAA Tournament undefeated for the second-consecutive season and advancing to the NCAA Final Four for the fourth-straight season. After losing seven players to graduation, including all five starters from the 2023 NCAA Final Four team, Staley entered the season with just one player who had ever started a game as a Gamecock. Still the talent level that returned and was added via the transfer portal and the signing class had the team slotted at No. 6/4 in the preseason national polls. South Carolina dominated its historic season-opening top-10 matchup against Notre Dame in Paris and shot to the top of both polls, where it remained for the entire season. The Gamecocks’ nine wins over ranked opponents are tied for the most in the country.

South Carolina swept the SEC Regular-Season and Tournament titles for the sixth time in the last 10 seasons, posting a perfect 16-0 SEC regular-season record for the third time in program history. Already named National Coach of the Year by The Athletic, ESPN, The Sporting News and USBWA, Staley drew SEC Coach of the Year honors from her colleagues for the seventh time this season, leaving her just one behind legendary Pat Summitt for the most selections in league history.

Cardoso has already drawn All-America honors from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (First Team), the Associated Press (Second team) and the Wooden Award. She also picked up WBCA Defensive Player of the Year honors on Wednesday. The All-SEC First-Team selection and SEC Defensive Player of the Year is the Gamecocks’ top scorer (14.1 ppg) and rebounder (9.4 rpg). Impacting the game on both ends of the floor, she leads the SEC and is 19th in the nation in player offensive rating (128.5) while ranking third in the SEC (behind teammates Ashlyn Watkins and MiLaysia Fulwiley) and 10th in the nation in player defensive rating (72.6). In more traditional stats, Cardoso is 14th in the country in blocks per game (2.48), 16th in field goal percentage (.589), 34th in double-doubles (14) and 46th in rebounds per game. She has led the Gamecocks in scoring in a team-high 12 games and in rebounding in 17 times.

Paopao has already picked up All-America recognition from the USBWA (Second Team) and the AP (honorable mention). She is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year Award and was an All-SEC Second-Team selection. She is second in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage at 46.3 percent and is second in the SEC with 2.34 made 3s per game. Her 82 made 3s this season rank fourth in program history and are the most since Valeria Nainima hit that same mark in 2009-10. Paopao is ninth in the SEC with 3.7 assists per game, and her 2.33 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks fourth in the league and 27th in the country. With her 10.9 points per game and teammates scoring 8.5 points per game off her assists, Paopao has her hands on 22.7 percent of the Gamecocks’ total offense (19.5 ppg), and that number rises to 26.5 percent (21.9 ppg) against ranked opponents. She is second in the SEC in player offensive rating at 124.2, which ranks 35th in the nation. In nine games against ranked opponents, Paopao is second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game and in assists at 4.0 per game.

No. 1/1 South Carolina is in the NCAA Final Four for the fourth-straight season and sixth in the last nine tournaments and will face No. 11/11 NC State on Fri., Apr. 5, at 7 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on ESPN.

Continue to check and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for the most up-to-date information on South Carolina women’s basketball.

2023-24 WBCA All-Americans
Madison Booker, Texas
Cameron Brink, Stanford
Paige Bueckers, UConn
Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina
Caitlin Clark, Iowa
Aaliyah Edwards, UConn
Hannah Hidalgo, Notre Dame
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech
Angel Reese, LSU
JuJu Watkins, Southern Cal