The Wolfpacker

November-December 2023

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 33 of 51

34 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY ETHAN MCDOWELL aniya Rivers entered the transfer portal following her freshman season with South Carolina, and she found her collegiate home at NC State. Rivers had just won a na- tional title with the Game- cocks, but the guard wanted to play for a program that felt closer to a family. A former five-star recruit from Wilmington, N.C., she had committed to South Carolina as ESPN's No. 3 recruit in the 2021 class. Rivers appeared in 27 games as a freshman and carved out a solid role, playing 13 minutes per game, but something was missing. "I didn't have that family feel my fresh- man year at South Carolina," Rivers said. She entered the portal and proceeded to hear from plenty of interested pro- grams. Rivers' search drew her closer to home, even though that was not always her plan. NC State and North Carolina emerged as her two finalists by the time she nar- rowed down her transfer portal recruit- ment. The Wolfpack had been talking to her since eighth grade, and as a high school prospect, she had considered the program. "It always felt good to have the sup- port from a local state team," Rivers said, "so it was an easy choice." A New Home Rivers committed to NC State on May 19, 2022. When she arrived on campus, the sophomore had to adjust to the Wolfpack team and an entirely new school. That included making new friends, learning her way around cam- pus and finding a life outside of basket- ball in addition to establishing her spot in the Pack's rotation. On the court, she steadily improved as the year went on and eventually took on starting point guard responsibilities following an injury to Diamond Johnson. She finished the year averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 assists, while also lead- ing the team in rebounds (5.2), blocks (1.0) and steals (1.8) per game. Rivers took home the ACC's Sixth Player of the Year honor. Over the past year, she has also established herself as a part of the Wolfpack family. "It's been pretty smooth for me," Rivers said. "I have friends on the track team, I've got friends on the soft- ball team, the volleyball team. I think I'm making pretty good moves." R ive rs i s o n e o f five returning play- ers from last year's NC State squad and, considering she is now an upperclass- man and potentially the team's start- ing point guard, the junior has taken on a l e a d e r s h i p role. NO PLACE LIKE HOME North Carolina Native Saniya Rivers Finds The Right Fit With Wolfpack S

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