USC wins the NCAA Women’s National Championship
Dallas — At long last, Dawn Staley did something she was unable to do as a player.
Win a national title.
USC fell behind early in the 1Q, but flexed their muscles down the stretch as the Gamecocks beat Mississippi State – the team that ended Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak on Saturday morning – for the third time in the season, 67-55.
“You have to give tribute to the former players,” said Coach Staley. “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.”
Aja Wilson, from the Columbia-Lexington metro area suburb of Hopkins, scored 23 points to wrap up her penultimate season as a Gamecock.
“Man, just be with us next year, we’re trying to be in this same spot next year, we’re going to see how it goes,” said Ms. Wilson after winning the most outstanding player award for the Final Four.
Alaina Coates, who suffered a career-ending knee injury during the Southeastern Conference tournament, stayed behind in Columbia. Coach Staley dedicated the title to her.
“Our players never fretted, `La’ we got you a ring. We got you a ring,” said Coach Staley of Ms. Coates. “Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis they all believed in it. They spent a year getting to know our team, getting to know our system. Got the opportunity to play and we become national champions. It’s incredible belief and discipline and can’t thank them enough for choosing South Carolina.”
Image of Bianca Cuevas-Moore via Getty Images.