South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso to Miss Upcoming Games to Join Brazilian National Team for Olympics Qualifying Event

Kamilla Cardoso will be missing several South Carolina Gamecocks games… for good reason.

The 22-year-old Brazilian college basketball player, the top scorer and rebounder for NCAA Women’s Basketball’s South Carolina is leaving the team to join the Brazilian national team for its Olympic qualifying event this week.

Kamilla CardosoShe’ll miss the Gamecocks’ next two games at home, against Missouri on Thursday night and No. 11 UConn on February 11.

“We want the best players on our team,” Staley said. “But sometimes the best players are the best players that represent another country. When we recruited her, we said if there’s an opportunity to go with your national team, go with your national team.”

Brazil is hosting one of the four-team tournaments that serve as Olympic qualifiers. The Brazilians have a tough pool with Germany, Serbia and Australia in the group. The top three teams qualify for the 2024 Paris Games this summer.

“It only makes us feel good,” said Staley, who was the U.S. Olympic coach for the 2020 Tokyo Games in 2021.

Cardoso, at 6-foot-7, has been the best player on the Gamecocks and a top candidate for Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, averaging 13.7 points and 10 rebounds this season.

Her value was apparent in an 85-56 win over Ole Miss on Sunday. Cardoso picked up two quick fouls and had to sit much of the first two quarters as the Rebels got within 32-31 right before halftime.

When Cardoso returned to the court, she fueled a 16-2 run as South Carolina (21-0, 9-0 SEC) took control.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said Cardoso will be missed. But her time on the bench in the first half gave South Carolina forwards like Ashlyn WatkinsChloe Kitts and Sania Feagin more necessary minutes as they prepare to make up for Cardoso’s points, rebounds and blocks.

“No one has a rim protector like her,” Mississippi coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin said.

South Carolina will find that out for itself over the next two games.