By: Kylan Watson
Dawn Staley led the University of South Carolina’s Women’s Basketball team to their first championship with a 67-55 win against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Staley, who grew up in Philadelphia, had a long journey on the road to winning her first national title. Staley went to three Final Four games as a player, but her teams never could make it to the title game. This is a nice victory for Staley and a highlight of her young coaching career.
Staley started her coaching career at Temple University, she coached at Temple for six years. During her coaching tenure at Temple, Staley won 172 games and lost 80 games. Her teams made it to the NIT, and to the NCAA tournament. Staley left Temple and accepted the coaching position at South Carolina in 2008. The Gamecocks were in the 2015 national title game, but loss to the University of Notre Dame. Staley’s team took advantage of their second opportunity in the national title game, and pulled off a victory against a very hot team.
Mississippi State University’s Women’s Basketball team pulled off a shocking victory on Friday, March 31st, 2017. It took a 15-foot shot by guard Morgan William to do the seemingly impossible and beat UConn and end their 111-game winning streak. A wild game like that took a lot out of Mississippi State. Even though they had a day off in between, to get ready for the Gamecocks they came out flat during the game, and by halftime were down by 10-points. The Gamecocks hit the Bulldogs in the mouth early and the team never recovered. However, even though they came up short in the title game the Bulldogs have a lot to be proud of they got to the national title game and beat UConn.
Staley did a masterful coaching job, her team was missing their star player Alaina Coates, and that added extra motivation for her players, not only did they want to win for their coach, but also for Coates who could not play, due to an ankle injury. Her teammate A’ja Wilson scored 23 points which was a game high to help her team win the title and give the University of South Carolina a championship in the sport of basketball. The victory by the women made up for the the men’s basketball team being eliminated by Gonzaga University during the Men’s Final Four game on Saturday, April 1st, 2017. This victory only adds to the legacy of Dawn Staley who was a good basketball player, and it looks like she is well on her way to being an excellent coach.