July 31, 2023
1-on-1: Laeticia Amihere talks draft process and the joy of basketball
'You always hear different things about where you’ll get drafted, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and it ended up working out for me'
ATLANTA – Atlanta Dream rookie forward Laeticia Amihere has always been unselfish and focused on winning. The Olympian and former 10th-ranked high school recruit, according to ESPN’s HoopGurlz, started in four games across her 127 outings at South Carolina and won a national championship.
Despite coming off the bench and averaging just 6.3 points in her collegiate career, the 21-year-old was the second-highest WNBA draft pick (No. 7) from South Carolina’s championship team in 2021-22, behind 2023 first overall pick Aliyah Boston.
“With [Amihere], there’s a level of physicality, athleticism, build, and attack mode about her that is rare to find in WNBA players,” Atlanta Dream general manager Dan Padover told The Next. “Yes, she’s raw, but from a developmental perspective, if you can work on the more skill-based things, she’s got the frame to make it in this league.”
Amihere’s role in the Dream rotation has varied game-to-game, with head coach Tanisha Wright utilizing her as a defensive specialist on superstar forwards like Breanna Stewart and Elena Delle Donne at times.
“We subbed her in specifically for that,” Wright on Amihere defending Delle Donne in Atlanta’s home matchup against Washington on June 30. “We have trust in LA. She’s a good defensive player and has great length, you know, EDD is a veteran player… maybe a Top-3 player in this league, so you just have to make it tough on her.”
Amihere has posted averages of 3.5 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 8.8 minutes per game across her first 12 games.
On July 30, we sat down with Amihere for the third installment of our new Q&A series, spotlighting the league’s young, up-and-coming stars.
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Q: First, looking back at your draft process, it felt like you had a quick rise up boards in the month leading up to the draft. For you, heading into the draft, did you have a good idea of Atlanta’s interest and what was the overall experience like for you?
Amihere: I mean, you always hear different things about where you’ll get drafted, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t, and it ended up working out for me. I remember being there and the mock drafts being [wide-open] and changing after No. 3, so I didn’t want to set any expectations for myself. Overall, it was a great process.
Q: In your minutes so far, you’ve displayed a lot of interesting traits as a play-finisher, attempting 11 free throws per 36 minutes. How does that come into effect with your length and assertiveness to draw contact?
Amihere: Yeah, I think I’m just super aggressive, and when I get that opportunity [to play], I’m always excited, so just being super aggressive down the lane on drives is key.
Q: Throughout your basketball journey, what aspect of the sport brings you the most joy and why?
Amihere: That’s a good question, I just think putting on different jerseys – from playing from so young. I played for Team Ontario [AAU], I played for Team Canada, I played at the Olympics, I played at South Carolina, and now, here, so being in different atmospheres and different jerseys.
Q: I know you still have a couple more stops, but what’s been your favorite WNBA road atmosphere so far?
Amihere: New York, for sure.
Q: What are your go-to shoes to play in?
Amihere: Currys, for sure.
Q: Favorite women’s basketball player growing up? And favorite Canadian athlete?
Q: Lastly, what is one word to describe your game on the court?