For the first time, Dawn Staley speaks on WNBA pairing of Kamilla Cardoso, Angel Reese

Kamilla Cardoso Angel Reese
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Sky were one of the big winners coming out of Monday’s 2024 WNBA Draft, landing South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and LSU’s Angel Reese in the first round.

Both were key to their teams’ respective national championship runs in the past two seasons, success they can only hope to replicate together with the Sky.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said on 670 The Score in Chicago this week that she’s a fan of the Cardoso/Reese partnership in Chicago even though they were rivals on the basketball court as recent as last month’s SEC Tournament Championship Game.

“Kamilla is the ultimate competitor,” Staley said. “Angel Reese — ultimate competitor.

We had a lot of battles, last year and this year. We were the top-2 teams in the SEC, so you know they are enemies by nature because of rivalry. But now they’re joined hands in hopefully bringing a WNBA championship to Chicago.

I’m a fan. I’m gonna get me some season tickets. I know I won’t be there the entire season. But somebody’s gonna be sitting in my seats cheering Kamilla Cardoso on.”

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Cardoso began her career at Syracuse before transferring after one season. She won two national titles (2022 and ’24) with Staley and the Gamecocks.

In 33 games last season, Cardoso averaged 14.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game on 59.4% shooting. Over the course of her career, Cardoso averaged 10.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game on 57.5% shooting.

Kamilla Cardoso, Angel Reese paired together in Chicago

Talking to Holly Rowe of ESPN, Cardoso was in tears as she talked about getting selected No. 3 overall by the Sky.

“I had a goal to be here tonight and give my family a better life,” Cardoso said.

“It’s really special that she’s here. She’s one of my biggest inspirations. She’s the reason that I’m here right now because she’s inspired me to play basketball. I’m just so thankful she’s able to be here.”

She’s joined in Chicago by Reese, who went seventh overall in the draft. In the 2023-24 season, Reese averaged 18.6 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game on 47.1% shooting. For her efforts, Reese was named the 2024 SEC Player of the Year.

Reese led LSU on a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, including a statement 78-69 win over No. 2 seed UCLA.

In the Tigers’ season-ending loss to national runner-up Iowa, Reese tallied a stunning 17 points and 20 rebounds.

In Reese’s first year in Baton Rouge, she averaged career-highs of 23.0 points, 15.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest while shooting 52.5% from the floor.

Reese earned First-Team All-American honors and was named the 2023 Final Four Most Outstanding Player after guiding LSU to a national championship.

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