COLUMBIA — Dawn Staley said she wanted to add another post player in recruiting, and the South Carolina women’s basketball coach wasted little time in signing a proven one.
The Gamecocks announced Monday that Sarah Imovbioh, a 6-2 center who was the ACC’s top rebounder at Virginia, will transfer to South Carolina. The native of Abuja, Nigeria, is scheduled to graduate next month, so she will be eligible immediately at South Carolina and have one year remaining to play.
South Carolina, which is coming off the best season in school history and its first Final Four appearance, lost two starting inside players — 6-foot Aleighsa Welch of Goose Creek and 6-4 Elem Ibiam — off that team to graduation. Imovbioh averaged 10.8 rebounds last season at Virginia, which ranked first in the ACC and 19th nationally. She also averaged 12.6 points per game.
Imovbioh ranked among the ACC’s top 15 in rebounds each year of her career and led the league in field goal percentage her sophomore season, hitting 59.1 percent. Her 27 career double-doubles ranks among the top 10 all-time at Virginia.
Imovbioh was one of two players to leave the Cavaliers program after this past season, when Virginia went 17-14 and lost in the opening round of the WNIT. Imovbioh’s former high school coach told the Daily Progress of Charlottesville, Va., that “she wants to end on a positive note.”
Imovbioh joins point guard Shay Colley of Ontario, Canada, in the Gamecocks’ 2015-16 signing class. Staley currently has one scholarship remaining for next season.