USC Women's Basketball

South Carolina women’s basketball cracks top 10 of way-too-early ESPN poll

There’s been some recent departures, sure, but South Carolina is still expected to have one of the nation’s best women’s basketball teams next season.

ESPN analyst Charlie Creme released his “way-too-early” Top 25 on Monday and has the Gamecocks ranked ninth.

“The Gamecocks have the nation’s top-rated recruiting class coming to Columbia next season,” Creme wrote. “Led by top-10 recruits Aliyah Boston, point guard Zia Cooke and forward Laeticia Amihere, some believe it’s the best class the sport has seen in some time. Once a Final Four favorite, the Gamecocks will have to rely heavily on their youth. Within the past 10 days, four players — most notably juniors Te’a Cooper (team-high 11.9 PPG) and Mikiah Herbert Harrigan (10.4 PPG) — announced they were transferring, though Herbert Harrigan has reportedly withdrawn her name from the transfer portal. Junior Tyasha Harris (10.9 PPG, 5.3 APG) and freshman Destanni Henderson are both returning to the backcourt.”

USC has made eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments under Dawn Staley. It’s advanced to at least the Sweet 16 round six consecutive seasons.

This upcoming year — at least on paper — should be no different.

Staley, while addressing Harrigan’s return last week, said Carolina’s in good shape.

“(Harrigan) and I and her family had a really great discussion on how we move forward and how we got to the place where she wanted to transfer,” Staley said. “So the conversation was great and our program is healthy, contrary to what some people may believe. It’s healthy. It’s in a place where we’re thriving, it’s in a place where everyone that continues to be a Gamecock, their dreams will come true.”

USC debuted at No. 11 in the first coaches poll released before the 2018-19 season. It finished 13th after compiling a 23-10 record.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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