Gamecocks' quartet enjoy homecoming, reunion during Team USA camp
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two days of camp at the Carolina Coliseum and one more night under the lights at Colonial Life Arena was more than enough to put smiles on the faces of A'ja Wilson, Allisha Gray, and Tiffany Mitchell. The trio of former Gamecocks reunited this week as Team USA prepares for FIBA World Cup.
Under head coach Dawn Staley, Team Red and Team White put on a show in front of several fans who came to see former Olympians, former WNBA All-Stars, former Gamecocks, and a few women's college basketball stars in an intrasquad scrimmage.
"Our fans get a chance to see our former players who thought they played their last game, senior night or in the NCAA tournament," Team USA head coach Dawn Staley said. "They get a chance to see them again. But they get a chance to witness what women's basketball is all about."
The foursome was split into pairs with Wilson and Gray playing for Team White while Mitchell and current Gamecocks guard Tyasha Harris competed for Team Red. For Harris, having the chance to play among some of the best players in the world is something she'll never forget.
"I'm just thankful for the opportunity to just be able to play in Red," Harris said after Wednesday's game, "compete with one of the greats in the basketball program. Having A'ja and Lish and Tiff out there on the floor with me made me more comfortable and having Coach Staley as the head coach. When she threw in plays, I already knew them so I was already comfortable at the level. It was just adjusting to the speed and the physicality of the game."
Coming home was surreal for the players to say the least, but it was also good to see familiar faces at practice.
"We always talked about memories that we had while being here," Gray said. "Being with each other again, it was fun. Being on the same court, being able to practice with each other definitely brought back a lot of memories. It was definitely a lot of fun."
Tiffany Mitchell last played in Colonial Life Arena in 2016. However, being back in Colonial Life Arena gave her a feeling that she hadn't had in a while.
"To this day, I still get goosebumps every time before a game," Mitchell said. "It's even more now that I was here. I knew I had so many people cheering me on and wanting me to do well. You kind of could tell. My first shot was an airball, but then I got it together because it was just so refreshing to be in front of everyone. I kind of got too excited, but I'm just glad I really had the opportunity to play here one more time."
Team USA now heads to Bridgeport for a scrimmage with Canada. They'll also have an exhibition game with Japan in Washington, D.C. before opening play in the FIBA World Cup on Sept. 22.
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