South Carolina Gamecocks win first national title in school history!

Photo Credit: Eric Gay/AP

Dawn Staley, head coach at South Carolina, came close on a few occasions to winning a national championship as a player while at Virginia. While the title eluded her in a player’s uniform, it no longer has eluded her as a head coach.

The South Carolina Gamecocks were victorious over the Mississippi State Bulldogs by a final of 67-55 to claim its first-ever national title.

Throughout the course of the tournament, the conversation regarding the team was how far they would get without the interior presence of Alaina Coates. The Gamecocks stepped up and answered that question on Sunday night.

Our players never fretted. ‘La’ we got you a ring. We got you a ring.

Dawn Staley on Coates

A’ja Wilson was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four. Wilson finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds and Allisha Gray added another 18 points with 10 rebounds.

We’re trying to be in this same spot next year, we’re going to see how it goes.

–A’ja Wilson

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.

–Dawn Staley

Mississippi State, two nights prior to the title game, was basking in the glow of Morgan William’s overtime buzzer-beater against UConn, defeating the Huskies in the semifinal via a 66-64 result. In the fourth quarter of the game against South Carolina, William was on the bench and a Columbia-based eclipse took the place of said Starkville glow.

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The Gamecocks closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run to pull ahead by a score of 18-14 after one period. That became a 17-4 scoring binge that spanned two periods and allowed South Carolina to assume a 25-16 lead in the second quarter. At the half, the Gamecocks led Mississippi State 36-26.

At one point in the third, the Bulldogs trailed 45-31 prior to cutting its deficit to 45-40. In the fourth, the Bulldogs climbed back to within four at 54-50 prior to the Gamecocks closing the the game with an 8-0 run in the contest’s waning minutes.

South Carolina will host a celebration rally at Colonial Life Arena in downtown Columbia on Monday at 4 p.m.

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^Needless to say, there is likely much of this going on in Columbia right now. Much deserved congratulations to Dawn Staley and the South Carolina Gamecocks!

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