COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina coach Dawn Staley is building a program to last – and others outside the Southeastern Conference want to be part of it.
Staley picked up a second high-profile transfer from the Atlantic Coast Conference in high-scoring Georgia Tech guard Kaela Davis, a 6-foot-2 guard who was third in the ACC at 19.2 points a game this past season.
The signing, which Staley announced Friday, follows the graduate transfer of the ACC’s top rebounder from last season in Virginia’s Sarah Imobvioh.
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The Gamecocks (34-3) are coming off a breakthrough season, winning a second SEC championship and reaching the program’s first Final Four before falling to Notre Dame in the national semifinals.
”Kaela’s experience and skill set will be a great addition to our team as we work toward getting back to the Final Four and compete for national championships,” she said.
Davis must sit out next season because of NCAA transfer rules before having two seasons to play for the Gamecocks. That synchs well for Staley’s team since she will be losing two-time SEC player of the year Tiffany Mitchell, a senior, after next season.
Davis showed with the Yellow Jackets she’s capable of making up for Mitchell’s lost scoring punch. Davis, the daughter of former NBA player Antonio Davis, averaged 18.9 points as a freshman to help Georgia Tech go 20-12 and reach the NCAA Tournament.
Davis increased her scoring this year, but the Yellow Jackets went 19-15 and were picked for the WNIT.
She wrote about her move on her Instagram account, thanking Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph for her time there. Davis continued that she’s a competitor accustomed to playing and succeeding at the highest levels.
”I want to compete for a National Championship,” she posted.
The Gamecocks run of success is making South Carolina a destination for transfers.
Former North Carolina star freshman Diamond DeShields considered South Carolina last offseason before transferring to Tennessee. This time, the Gamecocks were the right landing spot for Georgia Tech’s Davis and Virginia’s Imobvioh.
Imobvioh is a graduate transfer who can play next year. The 6-foot-4 forward will step in for departing senior Elem Ibiam in the middle to add to a front line that should include this year’s backups in 6-5 A’ja Wilson and 6-4 Alaina Coates.