COLUMBIA, S.C. - Three South Carolina Gamecocks will participate in the 2021 USA Basketball Women’s AmeriCup Team Trials, which will be held at the University of South Carolina April 18-21. Junior Destanni Henderson and sophomores Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke are among the 20 top collegiate athletes, including 10 who have captured a combined 21 gold medals competing on past USA Basketball teams, who have accepted invitations to the trials.
“The AmeriCup is a national level competition with some of the best players in the Americas,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee. “Because we are unable to bring WNBA players, we will rely on the best returning college players. Obviously, this is a very talented group with good junior national team level USA Basketball experience, but they will learn quickly the difference when playing against pros. So, we’ll need to find the 12 players who are up to the challenge of helping us in our dual goal of claiming gold and advancing to the 2022 World Cup qualifying tournament.”
USA National Team and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley will serve as the head coach of the USA AmeriCup Team, and she will be assisted by University of Arizona head coach Adia Barnes and Rizzotti, 2021 USA National Team assistant coach.
Boston and Cooke are among the 10 gold medalists invited to the trials with Boston collecting four in her previous stints with USA Basketball and Cooke bringing home two. Henderson was part of the 2016 FIBA U17 World Cup bronze medal team.
The Gamecocks wrapped up their 2020-21 season in the NCAA Final Four after claiming their second-straight SEC Tournament title. Boston was a unanimous First-Team All-American and was named National Player of the Year by The Athletic. Cooke was outstanding in the NCAA Tournament, claiming Hemisfair Regional Most Outstanding Player honors and a spot on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Henderson closed her first season as the Gamecocks’ starting point guard by breaking into the program’s top five in assists in an SEC season, including her first career double-double against Arkansas.
Continue to check GamecocksOnline.com and the team’s social media accounts (@GamecockWBB) for the most up-to-date information on the women’s basketball program.