COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Carolina’s emerging force on the court hails from Canada. Sophomore forward Laeticia Amihere thrives as the first off the bench at the NCAA Tournament.
A role assumed after senior LeLe Grissett sustained a season-ending injury in the SEC championship.
Amihere has embraced the opportunity to shine from the dance in San Antonio, Texas.
“I look at how she’s playing now, [and] I probably should have done something a little bit different,” said Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley.
How L.A. fits into Carolina’s current plans works perfectly.
“Her stubbornness also allows her to stay focused and to stay confident,” Staley added. “We didn’t know what this year was going to end up being. I do believe that L.A. is a player that needs to be needed.”
“Coach trusts me to go out there and put in the work,” Amihere said. “So I have to be able to deliver.”
Amihere nearly posted a triple-double in 17 minutes against Texas in an Elite 8 win.
She’s standing tall in LeLe’s absence. An impressive feat when you consider she overcame multiple knee injuries in high school.
“I’m super happy for her because she stayed there with us,” Staley said. “A lot of people would have been disgruntled. A lot of people probably would have been thinking about transferring.”
“I feel a lot better,” Amihere said about her recovery from multiple ACL injuries. “I’m moving a lot better. I’m just happy that I’m at this stage right now. Just got to keep going.”
And she leaves it on the floor for her godmother, who is battling cancer for the fourth time.
“Whenever I know I’m tired, I’ll tap my shoe,” Amihere said. “Just gives me a boost of confidence. Whenever I was going through injuries, whenever I was going through something that was tough during basketball, I just remember her resilience.”
Amihere also credits her teammates and coaches for their encouragement. She’s outperforming her season averages at the dance, and they’ll need that high-level play to continue against the Cardinal on Friday night.