By ERYKAH DAVENPORT
One of the big stories in sports this week is the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks winning their first national basketball championship. After losing a prime piece to their team, 6-foot-4 Alaina Coates, the Lady Gamecocks were not expected to make such a run in the NCAA tournament.
The Portland Press Herald covered South Carolina’s history-making debut. The article mentioned how Dawn Staley, SC’s head coach, had never earned a national championship while playing for four years for Virginia. She also coached the Gamecocks to the national semifinals two years ago before losing to Notre Dame.
“You have to give tribute to the former players,” Staley said in the story. “Go back to my Temple days, they believed in our vision. We took that vision to South Carolina, and that vision was we’ll be national champions. If you stick with us and if you’re disciplined, if you believe, all these players believed in that. Happy our words came true to them.”
USA Today also published coverage on the record-breaking team. The article discussed how Mississippi State had all the momentum on its side after a shocking win over UConn on Friday night that ended the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak. MSU was expected to pull off another upset, however, the Bulldogs fell short.
NCAA.com explained how this women’s basketball team has built its reputation on defense. The stellar defensive effort propelled the team past a nine-point halftime deficit in the Final Four.
“So, we were fortunate to be down nine,” Staley said. “But I just wanted to get our kids to the locker room at halftime because I knew, no matter how many points we were down, we could utilize our speed to get back into play — whether that’s trapping in the half court, whether that’s picking up full court, whether that’s coming off ball screens, setting our players up in positions where they could be effective.”
ESPN also covered this story in which Staley described her emotions the night she was crowned a national champion versus the emotion she felt in 1992 after losing her senior year in the semi-finals.
“I was exhausted, because I wanted it so much,” Staley said. “I put so much work and energy into being a national champion that the emotion was just to cry. To let it out. And 25 years later, no tears. Just going to enjoy it.”