Mitchell joins Jeffery as honorees by the #Gamecocks

Tiffany Mitchell guided USC to its first Final Four appearance in 2015 (Gamecock WBB Twitter)

Just two days after the University of South Carolina announced it would retire football standout Alshon Jeffery’s jersey, USC is adding another uniform to the rafters. Women’s basketball star Tiffany Mitchell will have her jersey retired during a pregame ceremony on December 12th at Colonial Life Arena. The Gamecocks will host Maryland in a non-conference matchup following the festivities.

Head coach Dawn Staley says the move by USC should not be taken lightly. “Retired jerseys may seem cliché for some, but for me, they showcase players of our program who have demonstrated excellence on and off the court,” Staley said in a release. “For a player like Tiffany, who believed in Gamecock women’s basketball before we ever won a title and bought into the vision from day one, this is incredible. She paved the way for our team to become the best.”

From USC Athletics: At the end of her Gamecock career in 2016, Mitchell was the most decorated women’s basketball player in program history, and she made her mark beyond just the South Carolina program. In 2014, she was just the second sophomore in league history to be named SEC Player of the Year when she was the first Gamecock to claim that honor. Mitchell repeated the award the following season as she guided the Gamecocks to their second-straight SEC regular-season title and their first NCAA Final Four. She was just the fourth Gamecock to earn All-America status three times and the first to do it since South Carolina joined the SEC.

Mitchell was the leading scorer on South Carolina’s first SEC Regular-Season Championship team in 2013-14, her sophomore season, and she led the Gamecocks to two more titles in her career. In 2015, she powered South Carolina to the first of its four-straight SEC Tournament titles. Individually, Mitchell is one of just three Gamecocks to finish her career with at least 1,500 points, 300 assists and 200 steals and remains the only addition to that group since 1996. Her 1,885 career points still rank seventh in program history while her 4,167 minutes played are third.

A top-10 pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft, Mitchell was selected ninth by the Indiana Fever and played her first seven seasons with that team, grabbing WNBA All-Rookie honors in her first season. Free agency took her to Minnesota for the 2023 season, during which she is averaging 7.6 points on 42.4 percent shooting this season. Mitchell has also thrived on the court overseas, playing in several countries in her eight years since leaving South Carolina, including helping the Melbourne Boomers to a Women’s National Basketball League title in 2021-22.

“I’m completely honored, humbled and blessed knowing that the University wants to retire my jersey,” Mitchell said. “Being a part of the foundation and trusting the process with Coach Staley when I was in high school and knowing that I’m laying that foundation for the players after me means a lot to me. The University means a lot to me and definitely has changed my life for the better. Thank you so much to the coaching staff and all the coaches that I’ve had, all the teammates that I’ve had along the way and, of course, Gamecock Nation, for supporting me for those four years and even after I graduated as a professional. You guys are the best, and I’m so happy that I’ll be able to see my name in the rafters.”

Retired jerseys are selected by a committee of representatives from the South Carolina Athletics Department, University Board of Trustees, and the USC Lettermen’s Association. Factors for jersey retirement include post-season national and conference recognitions, school record holders, impact on team accomplishments and either graduating from South Carolina or leaving the school in good academic standing. There is a five-year waiting period, which begins at the conclusion of the student-athlete’s final season of collegiate competition.

The current athletics department policy states that the school retires jerseys not numbers. Athletics department records indicate the current policy has been in place since at least 2007. Numbers retired prior to then will continue to be in a retired state. Current and future student-athletes can wear numbers that were affiliated with jersey retirements after 2007.

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