Basketball in South Carolina: Sanya Rivers in the transfer gate

Sania Rivers of South Carolina (44) moves the ball in the lower zone during the quarterfinal semifinals against Louisville at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, April 1, 2022.

Sania Rivers of South Carolina (44) moves the ball in the lower zone during the quarterfinal semifinals against Louisville at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Friday, April 1, 2022.

tglantz@thestate.com

Departing from the program is one of the 2021 South Carolina Women’s Basketball Team’s top players.

Guard Saniya Rivers announced via social media Thursday that they are entering the transfer gate after just one season playing with Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks. She was the 2021 Gatorade National Player of the Year and McDonald’s All-American.

“Thank you to Coach Staley and the rest of the coaching staff and program for giving me the opportunity to win a National Championship in my first year with this team. It was truly the experience of a lifetime,” Rivers wrote on Twitter. “I also want to thank everyone who has supported me this year on and off the field and made my first year unforgettable. Last but not least, thank you Gamecock Nation.”

Rivers was the No. 3 player on the ESPN HoopGurlz’s rankings for the 2021 class. South Carolina ranked first in the country’s enlistment category last season.

“A note on Sania Rivers’ transfer from South Carolina: She’s been flagged in the gate as ‘Not calling,’ which means she knows where to go,” sports reporter Chantelle Jennings posted on Twitter.

Rivers appeared in 27 games and averaged 2.3 points per game, but went nearly three weeks in one period of the season without playing a game.

Rivers did not play in his first three NCAA games at USC due to what coach Don Staley said was “a coach’s decision.” Her entry into the fourth quarter of her Elite Eight match against Creighton in the Greensboro Regional Final was acclaimed by the crowd.

Rivers were instrumental in the Gamecocks’ Final Four victory over Louisville. She took the floor at 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 provided a crucial pass to Saxton, who hit a cross cross to give the Gamecocks a 19-10 lead.

Rivers finished the night with three points, four assists, two balls, and a block in 20 minutes played. It was only the sixth time this season that the Wilmington, North Carolina native has scored 20 minutes or more in a game and the first time since the February 20 game against Tennessee.

Rivers’ performance in Final Four was praised by Staley.

Staley said of Rivers: “She has a good talent for seeing her on the court. She’s the elite. I thought about bringing her where we put her in a position where she could play, get the ball from our position players, or make good decisions – she’s been doing that all season.” It’s just certain situations that require you to focus on that, and I think she’s done a great job with it.”

Rivers is the third Gamecock player to leave the program since the Gamecocks won the National Championship. 1st Elisa Wisolek and 2nd student Enya Russell revealed their intention to leave Gamecocks in social media posts last week.

Rivers, Wisolek and Russell attended and were honored during Wednesday’s National Championship Parade in Columbia.

Rivers averaged more than (12.9) minutes for any freshman at USC during his 27 appearances. Bree Hall (9.2 mpg) has been played in 36 games, while Sania Feagin (4.3) has seen a move 21 times. New goalkeeper Raven Johnson lost to a season-ending injury in his second game of the year.

South Carolina has signed two recruits for the 2022 class in East Clarendon Cardinals Newman Ashlyn Watkins and Talcia Cooper, both McDonald’s American. Georgia Tech’s Kyra Fletcher has signed with Gamecocks as a transfer.

Top 5 recruits in the 2021 WBB class

According to ESPN HoopGurlz

1 – Azzi Food (Ucon)

2 – Raven Johnson (South Carolina)

3 – Rivers of Sanya (South Carolina)

4 – Sania Vision (South Carolina)

5 – Caroline Ducharme (Ocon)

This story was originally published April 14, 2022 4:52 pm.

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Lou Bezjak is the High School Middle School Athletic Coordinator for the Columbia State and Hilton Head Island package. He previously worked for Florence Morning News and has covered high school sports in South Carolina since 2002. Low is the South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year twice by the National Sports Media Association.
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