USC Women's Basketball

Former South Carolina star cut from WNBA team

Former South Carolina women’s basketball star Alaina Coates was waived by the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday, the WNBA team announced.

In 14 games this season, Coates, a 6-foot-4 center, averaged 2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.3 blocks and 1.2 personal fouls per game on 6.5 minutes per contest.

(Alaina’s) personality is one we’ve enjoyed having around since we acquired her,” Minnesota coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said Friday. “She’s a player that has improved with coaching and reps ... she’s just somebody that has energy. Obviously very athletic. She rebounds and defends.”

The Lynx’s move leaves Coates without a team midway through the season — she was drafted No. 2 overall in 2017 by the Chicago Sky but missed a season with an ankle injury. After her 2018 rookie campaign, she was traded by the Sky to the Lynx for a 2020 third-round draft pick.

Coates played the 2018-2019 offseason in China after averaging 3.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 11.4 minutes per game in her first WNBA season. As a Gamecock, she was a four-time All-SEC center and holds the program record for field goal percentage in a career and a season. She is also USC’s second all-time leading rebounder and one of only six Gamecocks ever to record a triple-double.

Without Coates, there are four former Gamecocks currently on a WNBA roster — A’ja Wilson on the Las Vegas Aces, Tiffany Mitchell on the Indiana Fever and Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray on the Dallas Wings.

Greg Hadley is the beat writer for South Carolina women’s basketball and baseball for GoGamecocks and The State. He also covers football and recruiting.