South Carolina basketball: Saniya Rivers in the transfer portal

South Carolina's Saniya Rivers (44) moves the ball down the field during the Final Four semifinals against Louisville at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.  Friday, April 1, 2022.

South Carolina’s Saniya Rivers (44) moves the ball down the field during the Final Four semifinals against Louisville at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Friday, April 1, 2022.

tglantz@thestate.com

One of the top players in the South Carolina women’s basketball team’s announced recruitment class in 2021 is leaving the program.

Guard Saniya Rivers announced via social media on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal after just one season of play for Dawn Staley and Gamecocks. She was Gatorade National Player of the Year 2021 and McDonald’s All-American.

“Thanks to Coach Staley and the rest of the coaching staff and the program for giving me the opportunity to win a national championship in my first year with this team. It has truly been an experience of a lifetime,” Rivers wrote on Twitter. also say thank you to everyone who has supported me this year on and off the field and made my freshman year memorable. Last but certainly not least, Gamecock Nation Thank you.

Rivers was No. 3 ranked by ESPN HoopGurlz for the class in 2021. South Carolina had the country’s No. 1 recruiting class last season.

“A note about Saniya Rivers’ transfer from South Carolina: She is marked in the portal as’ do not contact ‘, which means she knows where she is going,” The Athletic reporter Chantel Jennings wrote on Twitter.

Rivers appeared in 27 games and had an average of 2.3 points per game. match, but went almost three weeks in a stretch of the season without playing in a match.

Rivers did not play in USC’s first three NCAA Tournament matches because of what coach Dawn Staley said was a “coach’s decision.” Her fourth-quarter entry to the Elite Eight match against Creighton in the Greensboro Regional Finals received an ovation from the audience.

The Rivers played a major role in the Gamecocks’ Final Four victory over Louisville. She spoke at the Target Center to start the second quarter against Louisville along with teammates Victaria Saxton, Destanni Henderson, Zia Cooke and Kamilla Cardoso. In the first minute, she handed out an assist to Saxton, who struck a reverse layup to bring the Gamecocks up 19-10.

Rivers finished the night with three points, four assists, two steals and a 20-minute block play. It was only the sixth time this season that the native of Wilmington, North Carolina, played 20 minutes or more in a game and the first time since a competition against Tennessee on February 20th.

Rivers’ Final Four performance was praised by Staley.

“She has a really good ability for her track vision,” Staley said of Rivers. “It’s elite. I was just thinking about bringing her in, where we put her in a position where she could play, give our posters the ball or make good decisions – she’s been doing that all season. It’s just certain situations that requires you to really focus on it and I thought she did a great job with it. “

Rivers is the third Gamecock player to leave the program since Gamecocks won the national championship. Senior Elysa Wesolek and sophomore Eniya Russell revealed their intentions to leave the Gamecocks’ social media program last week.

Rivers, Wesolek and Russell were all present and were recognized during Wednesday’s National Championship Parade in Columbia.

The Rivers averaged the most minutes (12.9) of any USC freshman while appearing in 27 games. Bree Hall (9.2 mpg) played in 36 matches, while Sania Feagin (4.3) saw action 21 times. Freshman guard Raven Johnson was lost to a season-ending injury in the second game of the year.

South Carolina has signed two recruits for the Class of 2022 in Cardinal Newman’s Ashlyn Watkins and East Clarendon’s Talaysia Cooper, both McDonald’s All-Americans. Georgia Tech’s Kierra Fletcher has signed with Gamecocks as a transfer.

Top 5 recruits in the 2021 WBB class

According to ESPN HoopGurlz

Azzi Fudd (UConn)

Raven Johnson (South Carolina)

Saniya Rivers (South Carolina)

Sania Feagin (South Carolina)

Caroline Ducharme (UConn)

This story was originally published April 14, 2022 16:52.

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Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for (Columbia) State and (Hilton Head) Island Packet. He has previously worked at Florence Morning News and had covered high school sports in South Carolina since 2002. Lou is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.
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