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Former Syracuse women’s basketball player Kamilla Cardoso transfers to South Carolina

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Cardoso will head South to play for Hall of Fame Coach Dawn Staley and the Gamecocks in the SEC

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NCAA Womens Basketball: Notre Dame at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Former Syracuse Orange women’s basketball player Kamilla Cardoso has transferred to Southeastern Conference powerhouse South Carolina. Cardoso entered the transfer portal on April 22 after a breakout freshman year with the Orange.

In 24 games with Syracuse last season, Cardoso averaged 13.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest. She started in all but one game in 2020-21. Cardoso led the ACC in blocked shots (65) and blocks per game (2.7) throughout the season and was ranked in the top-15 nationally in field goal percentage (12th), blocked shots per game (13th), and total blocks (14th).

Cardoso, the highest-ranked recruit in program history (No. 5 overall), racked up multiple conference accolades last season, including ACC Freshman of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive Team, All-Freshman Team, and First Team All-ACC. She also earned three-straight ACC Freshman of the Week awards during the year (Jan. 26, Feb. 1, Feb. 8). Cardoso was named to the Lisa Leslie Center Award Watch List and the 2020 ACC Newcomer Watch List.

“Kamilla is a perfect complement to our program,” Staley said in a press release. “Coming from a traditionally rich grassroots program, her mobility, rebounding prowess and scoring ability at her size is a rarity. When she’s on the court the FAMS will quickly see why she was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and Co-Defender of the Year.”

The Gamecocks went 26-5 last season and advanced to the Final Four. South Carolina ended the season ranked No. 6 in the AP Top 25 Poll. The Gamecocks return all 11 players from the Final Four team while adding the No. 1-ranked freshman class.

Cardoso was one of 12 Syracuse players to enter the transfer portal this offseason. Cardoso and Emily Engstler were the biggest losses, with Engstler heading to ACC-foe Louisville. Four other Orange players also transferred to ACC schools including Kiara Lewis (Clemson), Digna Strautmane (Georgia Tech), Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi (Miami), and Amaya Finklea-Guity (Duke). Faith Blackstone transferred to North Carolina A&T, Khamya McNeal went to Stetson, and Taleah Washington joined Old Dominion. Kiara Fisher, Maud Huijbens, and Lauren Fitzmaurice (did not participate in 2020-21 season) have not made public decisions on their landing spots.

Though Syracuse lost 12 players, they have gained 10 newbies through transfers (four) and the incoming freshmen class (six). Teisha Hyman, Priscilla Williams, and Ava Irvin are the only returning players for the Orange next season.

Quick Look at the 2021-22 Roster

Najé Murray, G, Fifth Year - Transfer from Texas Tech

Jayla Thornton, G, Fifth Year - Transfer from Howard

Shalexxus Aaron, G, Redshirt Senior - Transfer from USC

Eboni Walker, F, Junior - Transfer from ASU

Teisha Hyman, G, Redshirt Sophomore

Priscilla Williams, G, Sophomore

Ava Irvin, G, Sophomore

Latasha Lattimore, F, Freshman

Shayeann Day-Wilson, G, Freshman

Amani Bartlett, F, Freshman

Nyah Wilson, G, Freshman

Julianna Walker, G, Freshman

Laura Salmeron, G, Freshman - Originally a member of 2020 freshman class, stayed overseas during pandemic