Dawn Staley confirmed what most presumed – junior Bianca Cuevas-Moore is South Carolina’s probable starting point guard.
“It is hers to lose, because she’s been in our program for so long,” Staley said Thursday at SEC Tipoff. “But Araion Bradshaw and Ty Harris are right there. They know I’m not just going to give it to Bianca.”
The three-time defending regular-season champs are looking for a replacement for Khadijah Sessions, who held the spot for three seasons. Cuevas-Moore has the most experience, but is still seeking consistency on the court.
Vanderbilt coach Stephanie White didn’t look harassed, despite the whirlwind of her first month on the job.
“I’m a really hands-on person, so not being here makes it a little bit tough, but that’s the reason I went out and was fortunate enough to get the staff that I wanted,” White said.
White, the 1999 National Player of the Year at Purdue as part of a national championship team, replaced Melanie Balcomb in late May (Balcomb is now an offensive analyst at USC). She elected to finish her then-job – head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever – before reporting to Vanderbilt.
She kept up by watching tape of practice and FaceTiming with her players. She’s getting used to Nashville but could have an easier transition to her new team – the Commodores signed the top-rated recruiting class in the SEC.
Gamecock senior center Alaina Coates wore six rings to the SEC Tipoff.
“I got my junior and senior rings and then I got my McDonald’s All-American ring,” the Dutch Fork High graduate said. “And the shot-put ring from my senior year.”
They were accentuated by two USC championship rings.
Georgia coach Joni Taylor’s first child is due Nov. 11. That’s also the date of the Lady Dogs’ season-opener, hosting S.C. State.
Taylor is married to former USC assistant Darius Taylor. The couple will welcome a daughter.
Staley also cleared up the departure of senior walk-on forward India Farmer, which happened at the beginning of the week.
“We did dismiss India, and it’s basically irreconcilable differences,” she said. “Sometimes that happens. It’s not that we don’t love India or we won’t miss India. It’s just we could not solve an issue today, and don’t feel like it could have got solved tomorrow or in a month, and we just didn’t want it to resurface later on in the season.”
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