New addition to Gamecocks women’s basketball makes national list of top transfers

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Te-Hina Paopao, who transferred from Oregon to South Carolina this offseason, was named the No. 11 transfer in college basketball by ESPN. She is one of 13 players on the 35-player list who transferred to SEC schools.

The 5-foot-9 senior guard, who has two years of eligibility left including the 2023-24 season, has three All-Pac-12 honors to her name (including two first-team selections). Her 2022-23 three-point shooting percentage of 42.4% and career percentage of 38% should serve South Carolina well, as the Gamecocks struggled from beyond the arc last season (31% as a team, tied for No. 168 nationally, making 4.4 threes per game).

ESPN’s rankings were determined by evaluating players’ talent and how they could impact their new teams, the article read.

“The Gamecocks said goodbye to their entire starting lineup, making Paopao’s decision to leave Eugene for Columbia so important,” the story read. “She will step in alongside Raven Johnson to form a talented backcourt. ... Paopao wasn’t as consistent last year, but did settle in toward the end of the season, averaging 19.7 PPG in Oregon’s final nine games. Paopao is at her best with the ball in her hands, but her skill package, which included 42.4% 3-point shooting last season, allows her to take on any role.”

South Carolina returns six players from last year’s squad, which went 36-1 and reached the Final Four. The Gamecocks bring in five new faces freshmen MiLaysia Fulwiley, Tessa Johnson and Sahnya Jah, as well as transfers Sakima Walker (Northwest Florida State College) and Paopao for a total of 11 scholarship spots.

“We are thrilled to welcome our newest team member to our Gamecock family — Te-Hina Paopao,” coach Dawn Staley said after Paopao’s commitment. “T is a skilled proven point guard that can score and deliver the ball. She brings big game experience and is a great fit for the SEC.”

During each of Paopao’s three years at Oregon, the Ducks earned postseason tournament berths. In 2021 they reached the NCAA Sweet 16. In 2022 they qualified for the NCAA Tournament. And in 2023 they reached the 2023 WNIT Quarterfinals.