Staley says she would go to White House if invited

There is a reason why she was tapped to be Geno Auriemma's successor as court marshall of the U.S. Women's National Team.

"It's great to be a Gamecock", it read.

SC held first-team All-SEC performer Victoria Vivians to 12 points on 4 of 16 shooting, while Morgan William, who hit the game-winner against UConn, finished with two field goals and eight points.

Two days earlier, the Bulldogs stunned four-time defending national champion CT - which was riding a 111-game winning streak that included multiple wins over Staley's teams.

Inasmuch as she planted the seeds, it was only fitting that Debbie Ryan could see her coaching tree in all of its splendor. The last loss came to Notre Dame in 2012 in the Final Four.

Staley finally clutched it. "She was comfortable with me being there and I never once felt like I was taking her time".

"It means I can check off one of the things that has been a void in my career", Staley said. "Those were the things that I held near and dear to me when I was growing up".

Out of 320 Division I women's teams, only 10 percent have an African-American female coach. "Something I wanted to do".

Gray woke her team back up with a layup.

"Look, nobody's won more than we've won", he said. The National Championship game appearance was the first for Mississippi State. The Gamecocks' championship game win was over a giant-killing Mississippi State that had dethroned the University of CT team that had won an astounding 111 games in a row. SC didn't even attempt a three-pointer until late in the second quarter. Each time, an A'Ja Wilson jumper stretched USC's lead to six.

In the first half, the Gamecocks spread the Bulldogs out and took turns beating defenders off the dribble with Gray, Bianca Cuevas-Moore or Kaela Davis scoring in the paint or dumping it off to Wilson down low.

Sunday, the SC duo of A'Ja Wilson (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Allisha Gray (18 points, 10 rebounds) proved too much for MSU to overcome.

UConn came back in the third quarter behind its trio of All-Americans with Williams, Napheesa Collier and Samuelson keying a 12-3 run to start the second half.

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State would have trouble finding rhythm against a strong man-to-man SC defense leading Coach Vic Schaefer to call time out with his Bulldogs down 25-16 with 6:38 to go in the half.

Jazzmun (Holmes) was playing good today and Morgan (William) had her struggles early.

"I'm disappointed we didn't play better for you", Schaefer said. That blossomed into a four-point lead by the end of the quarter.

"I live for moments like this", William said.

South Carolinians of all walks and from all schools have been weighing in with words of congratulations, and rightfully so. "We wanted to put them in situations in which we were going to make the officials make a call".

The team watched Friday night's upset at the hotel and went to sleep knowing the path was clear for the program's first national title.

South Carolina, though, quickly got their lead back to end the third up 52-44. In 2008, she moved on to SC, but her teams struggled through two losing seasons before winning more games than it lost. "It should be exciting to go with this group of girls", Wilson said.

"And it puts you in an exclusive club knowing that you've done it, and you haven't really recruited out of. this tri-state area".

The men's team had their cinderella run to the Final Four before falling to Gonzaga and the women cut down the nets in Dallas.

Davis, who was 2 of 15 in a semifinal win over Stanford, missed eight of her first 10 against the Bulldogs before the late shot in the third.

When Dawn Staley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, she knew that was quite an honor.

The Columbia resident and longtime USC fan said he wasn't able to relax until the final minutes of the game when Staley smiled during a last-minute timeout.

"She's been close so many times, and I'm sure that burns her up inside", Wilson said. I'm excited to see her just relax.

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