Counseling after injury helped Gamecock Te’a Cooper build relationships.
Guard Te’a Cooper, the leading scorer for South Carolina women’s basketball this past season, has entered her name in the transfer portal and intends to leave the Gamecocks, a team spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
Cooper is the fourth USC player to enter her name in transfer portal in the past two days. Rising senior Mikiah Herbert Harrigan, rising junior Bianca Jackson and rising junior LaDazhia Williams all entered Tuesday.
Cooper played just one season at Carolina after transferring from Tennessee, where she played her freshman year and missed her sophomore season due to injury. USC coach Dawn Staley pushed to get Cooper a waiver from the NCAA to make her immediately eligible to play her junior season in 2017-2018, but the waiver was denied after Tennessee objected, Staley said.
In her lone season, Cooper averaged 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in 30 appearances and 28 starts for the Gamecocks. After South Carolina lost in the Sweet 16 to Baylor, Cooper was asked if she would return for her redshirt senior season and responded, “Absolutely.”
Through a spokesperson, Staley declined to comment Wednesday.
Cooper had the option to renounce her remaining eligibility and enter the WNBA draft, held Wednesday night, but did not do so. Now, she will be a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible wherever she goes.
The Powder Springs, Georgia, native was a five-star recruit out of high school and has earned SEC All-Freshman and second-team All-SEC honors in her career.
South Carolina advanced to its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament Sweet 16 this past season but will now have to replace eight members of the 2018-2019 roster due to graduation or transfer. The Gamecocks are adding the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class, which includes four five-star recruits, and currently have nine players on scholarship, including seven underclassmen, for the 2019-2020 season.