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meet the Brazilian two-time NCAA champion and top 5 in the WNBA Draft
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22-year-old Brazilian center made history for the University of South Carolina in the NCAA, being MVP of the finals, and guaranteed a place in the WNBA

Brazilian women's basketball has not had one of its best years, sportingly speaking. Not achieving classification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And this light is being emitted by the pivot Kamilla Cardoso22 years old, who shows a chance to rescue the shine that Brazil already had on the court in the past, with Hydrangea, Magic Paula and much more.

A native of Minas Gerais with long red hair, Kamilla is a star in U.S and touches young girls who love basketball wherever she goes. With an incredible 2.01m, the Brazilian was the main pillar of the team. University of South CarolinaO South Carolina Gamecockswinning the title of NCAAthe main North American college basketball tournament.

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Kamilla and her companions did quite a feat beating the Iowa Hawkeyes by 87 to 75 on Sunday, April 7. What is impressive is that on the other side of the court, wearing yellow and black, was Caitlin Clarklegend of college sports, being the greatest scorer in history (male and female) and future number 1 in the 2024 Draft for the WNBA, promising to be one of the greatest athletes to ever play basketball. Cardoso was dominant in the match, scoring 15 points and grabbing an incredible 17 rebounds, in addition to three blocks. All this, playing with a knee injury.

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The player's performance even caught the attention of Magic Johnsonlegend of NBA and multi-champion with the Los Angeles Lakers. “Kamilla Cardoso dominated the entire tournament, and this was his best run ending with 15 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in today's victory”acknowledged the former player.

Kamilla is now a two-time NCAA champion, dominating the entire season under the paint, with a mix of strength, speed and lightness, leading the Gamecocks to the title undefeated. The first trophy was lifted in 2022, aged 20, while she was a reserve, but she received the award for best sixth player in the Southeastern Conference. Now, an absolute starter, she was chosen as defender of the year by the U.S. Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the Southeast Conference. In the Brazilian team, he has already won the Argentina 2022 South American Basketball Championship and won another gold in Mexico AmeriCup in 2023, in addition to a bronze in the same competition, in 2021, in Puerto Rico.

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But how did Kamilla's career start?

Born in the city of Montes Clarosin Minas Gerais, Kamilla Cardoso has always shown a great desire to win in sport. Therefore, at the age of 14, she moved to the state of Tennessee, without even speaking English, leaving his family behind in Brazil. There, she played at High School, the famous North American high school, already dreaming of being a great athlete in college basketball and in the future in the WNBA.

“I left my family, my mother and my sister, and that was very difficult. It was a decision I made to follow my dream of playing basketball in the United States and eventually making it to the WNBA. I am so grateful for the opportunity to play at South Carolina and represent my country in the NCAA. It means a lot and makes it seem like all the sacrifice was not in vain.”commented the Brazilian, in an interview with “The Athletic”.

Kamilla always made a point of thanking her for her hand, Janet Soaresand her older sister, Jessica Silva, in her interviews, for her courage in letting the teenager live so far away. Furthermore, she always mentions Keisha Huntcoach of Hamilton Heights Christian Academyschool where he studied in Chattanooga, who welcomed her, and her companions, who even learned the names of the moves in Portuguese so that she could play her best. With Google Translate, she learned English. And, with a lot of training and evolution, she already has a guaranteed place in the top-5 of the WNBA Draft, which takes place this Monday, the 15th.

Kamilla Cardoso - Credits: Getty Images
Kamilla Cardoso – Credits: Getty Images

In some mock drafts, which are selections simulated by specialized websites in the United States, such as “ESPN” or “The Athletic”, they place the Brazilian in different positions, all in the top-5. However, during the weekend, Kamilla was placed in several mocks in second position, but usually runs in third. Now it's time to dream. On Monday the 1st, Cardoso announced her eligibility for the WNBA selection.

“I would like to thank my family for their sacrifice in letting a 14-year-old girl cross the world to pursue her dreams and for their unconditional love and support. To my teammates, who I consider my sisters, this journey has been something I will remember for the rest of my life. Together we did incredible things and created a bond that no one can take away from us. To my techniques, his guidance, mentoring and unwavering support were fundamental in shaping me as a player and as a person. I am eternally grateful for the impact you have had on my life.”he wrote on his social networks.

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Soon, Brazil will be very well represented on the North American WNBA courts. In addition to Kamilla, other players are also making a name for themselves in the league: Damaris Dantasdrafted in 2012, plays for Indiana Fever currently, and Stephanie Soaresthe first Brazilian drafted from a United States university.



meet the Brazilian two-time NCAA champion and top 5 in the WNBA Draft

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