South Carolina basketball has a new look for the 2023-24 season.
The Gamecocks graduated all five of their starters, including the quartet often dubbed “The Freshies.” WNBA Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston, alongside Zia Cooke and Brea Beal, started in nearly every game since their freshman seasons, and they leave big holes to fill in their absence.
Still, head coach Dawn Staley is excited for the next group to step into the starting roles.
“It’s a totally new starting five starting from scratch, so I’m excited,” she said. “I’m excited to see how they come out and play, and what they can do when they’re put under that pressure.”
Leading the new starting five are senior center Kamilla Cardoso and junior Raven Johnson. The Gamecocks also added two key transfers in the offseason in Te-Hina Paopao and Sakima Walker.
Young talent, including Chloe Kitts and Ashlyn Watkins, also could factor in, as both have shown promise during preseason. Either way, Cardoso has been tasked with becoming a bigger leader on the team.
“Kamilla has to step into the role of being our dominant post on the inside,” Staley said. “She’s very very unselfish, and at times, much like Aliyah, she’ll pass out to people who shoot half her field goal percentage, and you can’t do that. You have to bet on yourself sometimes … We want Kamilla to be a leader.”