USC’s Aaliyah Gayles scored her first official basket since being shot in 2022 in the team’s 85-44 win over Cal Poly Tuesday.

She made a 3-pointer and free-throw during the four minutes she played in the game. In a postgame press conference, teammate McKenzie Forbes spoke about what it meant for the team to watch Gayles sink her 3-pointer 19 months after the shooting.

“That’s everything to us,” she said. “That’s our teammate. That’s our sister, and we know how much it means to her so therefore, it means that much to us. I think basketball has been the most important thing to her, and we all know how hard she worked to get back and everything she’s been through. We’re just super happy for her. I’m super proud of her.”

Gayles has played 18 minutes in three games with USC this season, according to ESPN. She stepped onto the court as a Trojan for the first time during the final minutes of USC’s 67-51 win over Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 10.

“It felt good,” she told ESPN after her first game. “It boosted my confidence a little bit. I feel like I was back to my old self.”

Who is Aaliyah Gayles?

Gayles is a redshirt freshman guard at USC from Las Vegas. She was a McDonald’s All-American and the No. 8 recruit in the 2022 recruiting class, according to ESPN.

She was shot in her arms and legs by a masked gunman in 2022. She made her basketball return on Nov. 10.

When and where was Aaliyah Gayles shot?

On April 16, 2022, Gayles was shot several times at a party in Las Vegas — just one day after playing in the Jordan Brand Classic in Chicago.

The trauma surgeon on duty at University Medical Center the night of the shooting counted 18 bullet holes and estimated Gayles had been shot nine times in her arms and legs, ESPN reported.

“The bullets fractured her left forearm and damaged her wrist, her right arm above the elbow, her right thigh bone, her right shin, her right ankle and her left shin. A ripped artery behind Aaliyah’s left knee was of immediate concern. It was no longer able to distribute enough blood to her lower leg,” meaning amputation may have been necessary if surgeons were unable to repair the artery, according to ESPN.

Dwight Gayles, Gayles’ father, told ESPN that he “thought basketball was over” for his daughter.

“I’m thinking, like, reality. Both legs. Both arms. People don’t just bounce back from something like that, you know? But I forgot who I was talking about,” he said.

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Was the person who shot Aaliyah Gayles arrested?

The USC guard says she doesn’t know who shot her.

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As of Nov. 2, Gayles’ shooter has yet to be arrested, and the investigation into the shooting is still open, according to ESPN.

When was Aaliyah Gayles cleared to play basketball again?

After undergoing successful surgeries, Gayles didn’t give up hope on playing again. She signed her letter of intent from her hospital bed nine days after the shooting, 3 News Las Vegas reported.

She arrived at USC on July 14, 2022, almost three months after the shooting. She redshirted her first season while doing rehab but was cleared to train that September and to play earlier this month, according to Just Women’s Sports.

“It sent chills through my body,” her father told ESPN after watching his daughter take the court for the first time as a Trojan. “She did it. She finally touched the floor of a USC basketball court.”

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