Former Gamecock Brea Beal waived by WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces

Former South Carolina women’s basketball player Brea Beal was waived by the Las Vegas Aces Thursday, she announced via X (formerly Twitter).

“I wanted to break the news first and let you guys know that I was waived from the Aces today,” Beal wrote. “It was amazing to be a part of a championship atmosphere and I am thankful for the opportunity! I am still in great spirits and look forward to the next chapter in my life!”

Beal was part of South Carolina’s beloved “Freshies” 2019 recruiting class, which included Aliyah Boston (who now plays for the Indiana Fever), Zia Cooke (who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks), Laeticia Amihere (who plays for the Atlanta Dream) and Olivia Thompson.

Beal, the 6-foot-1 guard-turned-forward, was part of the Gamecocks’ 2022 NCAA Championship team and a 2023 Associated Press All-America honorable mention.

Beal was selected by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2023 WNBA Draft (No. 24) and waived before the season started. She signed a training camp contract with the Aces on March 29.

Coach Dawn Staley provided some words of encouragement for her former player in a reply to Beal’s post:

“Brea reset and keep coming back. We love you!” she wrote.

Boston did the same in a quote of Beal’s post:

“God is the author and finisher! Keep trusting His plan,” Boston wrote with a heart emoji.

So did USC women’s basketball athletic trainer Molly Binetti: “Nothing but love for you always!”

There are 144 roster spots in the WNBA. Teams can have up to 18 players on their training camp rosters but must whittle that down to 12 by the start of the regular season, which is May 14.

Just because Beal was released doesn’t mean she won’t be able to play professional basketball this year. She could sign with another team in the WNBA or join an overseas league. There are also hardship contracts, which can pop up throughout the season.

A hardship contract is an emergency contract offered by teams with fewer than 11 players available to play due to illness or injury that don’t count toward the 12-person limit. To ensure franchises are always able to field a team, they can’t be under 11 available players at any given time. If someone can’t play, a team is given a 72-hour window to sign someone else. That’s how Alaina Coates landed with the Aces last season after Candace Parker injured her foot. Coates and fellow former Gamecock Kaela Davis have since signed a training camp contract with the Seattle Storm.