Columbia, SC (WLTX, AP) - South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley confirms that stars Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray are leaving school early to go into the WNBA Draft.
Staley spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon, less than two days after her team won the national championship, the first in program history.
The Associated Press had reported earlier in the day that the pair were leaving after helping the school earn the title.
Staley says she has no hard feelings about losing the players, and understands why they'd want to go now after winning a championship.
Gray released a statement on Instagram saying the following:
"I just want to say thank you to everybody that has supported me so far in my basketball journey. Even going back to my UNC days the support I received from people and the fans was great. I wanna thank Gamecock Nation for accepting me and supporting me all season even though I've only been there for 2 years y'all made me feel like I've always been apart of the South Carolina family...Winning a National Championship for y'all was an unbelievable feeling and I am glad that my team and I was able to do that for you because your support is unbelievable. I also wanna thank Coach Staley and the entire coaching staff for allowing me to come to the University of South Carolina. Coach Staley is an amazing person and coach and I am honored that I got to play for her. As a little girl I always dreamed of playing in the WNBA and once I was presented with the opportunity me and my family thought it was best for me to chase my dreams...With that being said I have decided to forgo my 5th year of eligibility and declare for the WNBA draft. Once again I wanna say thank you to everybody that has supported me and I hope in the future I will continue to receive the same support."
Davis and Staley transferred to South Carolina two years ago and had to sit out last season per NCAA rules. Gray had 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the win over Mississippi State for the NCAA title.
Staley also confirmed that Alaina Coates, a senior whose career ended a few weeks early when she went down with an ankle injury, will attend the WNBA Draft. Staley says she plans to be there with her.
© 2017 Associated Press