Davis following in her father's footsteps with big postseason performance

Davis following in her father's footsteps with big postseason performance

**Story by Jeff Owens/Photo by SC Media Relations**

STOCKTON, Calif. — Kaela Davis learned as a kid that she could not just score at will against the other basketball players in her family. 

Not against her twin brother, A.J., and certainly not against her father, former NBA star Antonio Davis.

"Yeah, one-on-one games, got shut down a lot. So that stopped at a early age," Davis says. 

Gamecocks calm, cool, collected heading into Elite Eight

There's not many who can shut her down now, though. Years later, the 6-2 guard is on top of her game, helping lead South to another SEC championship and to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Women's Tournament. 

Davis, who has taken a backseat to post players A'Ja Wilson and Alaina Coates most of the season, has excelled in the postseason, averaging more than 15 points per game and shooting 44 percent from the field, 45 percent from three-point range. 

Davis scored 20 points in South Carolina's second-round win over Arizona State and exploded for 28 points in a 100-58 Sweet 16 victory over Quinnipiac, a performance that included 5-of-6 from three-point range. 

"Kaela is playing some of her best basketball. She saved it up for this time of the season," head coach Dawn Staley said. "She is a player in which it's a hard guard for anybody. She's big. She's 6-2, a perimeter player that can do a lot of things with the basketball."

Wilson named first-team All-American

Davis has also led a defense that has stepped it up in the postseason. South Carolina's perimeter defense held Quinnipiac, a strong three-point shooting team, to just 43 percent shooting.

"I'm impressed with what she does from a defensive standpoint," Staley said. "Obviously it's well known what she can do from an offensive standpoint. And she's living up to her reputation as being a tremendous scorer, and she does it in so many ways, but defensively she is a big presence out there on the floor."

Davis will play a big role tonight against Florida State (9 p.m. ET) with a spot in the Final Four on the line. 

"What we're hoping to utilize everything that she's doing on both sides of the ball against a Florida State team which will be very physical, fast, play fast," Staley said. "So hopefully we'll be able to use some of our length on the perimeter against their speed."

Davis has been groomed for such moments. She grew up playing basketball and followed her dad's 13-year NBA career all over the country. Her brother, A.J., plays at Central Florida, which made the NIT Tournament. 

"It was just fun," she said. "Obviously getting to … just to see my dad's work ethic and what it takes to kind of play at the highest level, you know, that was always fun. I was just always excited — excited to see him play and I've gotten to live a lot of different places and experience a lot of different things. It's been a blessing. It's been a really cool opportunity."

A transfer from Georgia Tech, Davis is now part of her own special experience, with an opportunity to make it even more special.  

"I'm just excited," she said. "Obviously this is … I came here to be in these games, to be in this situation. You know, I wouldn't want to be on another team, trying to get to the Final Four with another group of girls. So I'm just excited."

comments powered by Disqus