Women's national champion Gamecocks to play games in Japan

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) The women's national basketball champions are headed to Japan.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said Tuesday her team is heading overseas later this month on a trip that includes three exhibition games against the Japan national team. Staley says she had been searching for a trip like this for a while so she could get her younger, untested players some game experience.

The Gamecocks will enter next season without three starters who helped them win the title: Alaina Coates, Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray.

South Carolina's trip begins June 27 and the three games will take place on June 30, July 2 and July 4.

Staley is coach of the United States national team, which will try for a seventh consecutive gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.