Move over Gary Gilmore and Dabo Swinney. Make room for Dawn Staley. The USC women’s basketball coach followed the footsteps of the last 10 months of the Coastal Carolina baseball coach and Clemson football coach in securing a national championship for the Palmetto State Sunday night guiding her Gamecocks past Mississippi State 67-55.
It’s the first national championship for Staley who reached the Final Four three times as a player at Virginia and two years ago at USC. It’s also the first basketball national championship for the university.
The Gamecocks spotted the Bulldogs an early first quarter but led by four at the end of the quarter and by ten at halftime. USC build the lead to 14 in the third quarter but State cut the deficit down to four three minutes into the fourth quarter. That was as close as the Bulldogs would get as the Gamecocks gradually pulled away over the final minutes.
Wilson, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, led USC with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Allisha Gray added 18 points and Kaela Davis 10 as the Gamecocks defeated Mississippi State for the third time this season.
USC post game press conference (Courtesy NCAA)
A’Ja Wilson & Kaela Davis show off their post-game moves (Courtesy NCAA)