The South Carolina Gamecocks were upset by the Stanford Cardinal in the 2021 NCAA Final Four.
That setback fueled their dominance in women’s college basketball this season, culminating in the program’s second national championship.
Led by head coach Dawn Staley, who’s built the Gamecocks into a national power, and center Aliyah Boston, South Carolina completed its journey Sunday night with a convincing 64-49 win over Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies.
It was Geno’s first loss in a title game. The legendary coach had won his previous 11 trips to the ultimate game.
Center Aliyah Boston expressed her excitement in her postgame interview.
“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this since last season. Because everyone had a picture of me crying at the end of the Final Four. And they put it everywhere as if that was some type of — but today we’re national champions.
“And happy tears, Holly. Happy tears. So if you guys want a smile, here you go. And we’re national champions.”
Staley’s Last Eight Months Have Been Remarkable: Gold Medal And NCAA Championship
Known for her pregame drip, Staley leads the Gamecocks with that North Philly flavor and pizzazz that she displayed throughout her illustrious playing career.
It has led to two national championships and four Final Fours, in a place where women’s basketball was an afterthought when she arrived in 2008.
Only Geno Auriemma (11), Pat Summitt (8), Tara VanDerveer (3) and Kim Mulkey (3) have more titles than Staley’s two.
Following last season’s disappointing loss in the Final Four, Staley then turned her attention to leading the U.S. Women’s National Team in the Olympics.
She did just that by going to Tokyo and bringing back gold for the USA’s seventh straight Olympics and extending their Olympic winning streak to 55 games. Following the gold medal winning game, an elated Staley had this to say about her team.
“Our country has a lot great coaches that can get the job done. Me being a part of I believe six, that’s enough. I’m full, I’m full.”
To find out more about the powerhouse Dawn Staley has built in South Carolina, click here