South Carolina’s Cooke, Beal, Amihere enter WNBA draft
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina lost three more players Tuesday when Zia Cooke, Brea Beal and Laeticia Amihere joined three-time All-American Aliyah Boston in entering the WNBA draft.
Cooke, Beal and Amihere announced their decisions on social media. All three could have returned for a fifth year because of COVID-19 canceling their NCAA Tournament as freshmen in 2020.
The Gamecocks have lost their entire starting lineup. Victaria Saxton and Kierra Fletcher finished their eligibility.
Cooke, a 5-foot-9 senior from Toledo, Ohio, started all 137 games she played in the past four seasons, leading the team this year with 15.4 points a game.
Beal, a 6-foot-1 guard from Rock Island, Illinois, was a defensive stopper for the Gamecocks.
Beal started 137 of 138 games in her four seasons. She helped the Gamecocks win three Southeastern Conference tournament titles, reach three Final Fours and win the national championship in 2022.
Beal averaged 6.4 points and 4.3 rebounds this season. She was also second on South Carolina with 100 assists.
Amihere is a 6-4 fourth-year senior who was part of the 2019 recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 in the country. Boston, also among the newcomers with Cooke, Beal and Amihere four years ago, entered the draft on Saturday and has signed with an agency.
South Carolina (36-1) lost 77-73 to Iowa on Friday night in the national semifinals.
Cooke and Beal are projected to be first-round selections in the draft.
Amihere, from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, played in 127 games the past four years, all but four coming off the bench. She has been projected as a second-round pick.
Boston is projected as the No. 1 pick in Monday’s draft.
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