South Carolina's Coates to miss NCAA Tournament with injury

South Carolina center Alaina Coates (41) attempts a shot against Georgia forward Mackenzie Engram (33) and Caliya Robinson (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina forward Alaina Coates will miss the NCAA Tournament with an ankle injury, making a Gamecocks' potential run to the Final Four that much harder.

Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said Tuesday that Coates won't play in the tourney because of continued problems from a sprained right ankle. The 6-foot-4 Coates was an all-Southeastern Conference first-team selection who led the league with 10.7 rebounds a game this year.

Coates also averaged 12.9 points a game.

The senior ends her South Carolina career as the program's second leading rebounder (1,230) and second in career double-doubles (57).

Coates has missed three of the past five games since injuring her ankle in a loss at Missouri on Feb. 19. She also missed South Carolina's SEC Tournament championship win over Mississippi State last week.

The Gamecocks (27-4) open play Friday against 16th-seeded UNC Asheville (19-14).

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