USC Women's Basketball

USC’s newcomers explain jersey decision. For some, it’s more than just a number

South Carolina women’s basketball has reloaded with the No. 1 recruiting class coming into the 2019-2020 season.

This year’s team for Dawn Staley features six newcomers: five freshmen and one transfer.

At some point, each newcomer has to decide what jersey number she will wear. It was an easy choice for some, but for others it involved a little more detail.

Freshman wing Brea Beal’s decision to choose No. 12 was simple.

“Growing up, I’ve always wore 9 and 12,” Beal said. “It was kind of like a childhood thing, so I was going to go back to that.”

However, freshman forward Aliyah Boston’s decision was more complex.

Double-zero was her original choice because it was her high school number. Before arriving on campus, Boston made a joke to her dad saying she changed it to No. 4, which was not true at the time.

“Three days later, Coach Staley texted me and said some numbers had opened up,” Boston said. “Number 4 opened up, and my sister also wore number 4 in AAU, so I thought this was it. This is the lucky number, and that’s what we went with.”

Transfer guard Destiny Littleton has worn No. 4 and No. 24 her whole life, but those numbers were already taken when she arrived on campus.

“Through this whole process, I’ve kind of stayed true to myself and who I was,” Littleton said. “Eleven is one of one. One of one means I’m one of one. I don’t try to be anybody else but myself.”

Freshman forward Laeticia Amihere did not choose her first number growing up, but she’s had the same number since and will be wearing it for the Gamecocks.

“I’ve always been number 15, so I just stuck with that,” Amihere said. “It was just given to me the first time I started playing basketball, and I’ve just stuck with that.”

For freshman guard Zia Cooke, it’s about looks and sticking to what always has been.

“I’ve been wearing number 1 since I was younger,” Cooke said. “I feel like I look good in 1, and that’s just what I’ve been wearing for a long time.”

Freshman guard Olivia Thompson based her decision off of her high school number and the first letter in her first name.

“Since my sophomore year [of high school], I was double zero, and my name is Olivia, so that’s why I decided to choose zero,” Thompson said, noting the similarity between the letter “O” and the number “0”.

The six newcomers are looking forward to the start of the regular season in November. But for now, they will spend the rest of the offseason practicing, taking classes and building their team chemistry on and off the court.


No. 15: Laeticia Amihere — freshman, forward, 6-foot-3

No. 12: Brea Beal — freshman, guard, 6-feet

No. 4: Aliyah Boston — freshman, forward, 6-foot-4

No. 1: Zia Cooke — freshman, guard, 5-foot-9

No. 11: Destiny Littleton — junior, guard, 5-foot-9

No. 0: Olivia Thompson — freshman, guard, 5-foot-8

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC