South Carolina takes down college basketball’s biggest threat to be crowned champion

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south carolina women's basketball NCAA champions

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Jeremy Bryant

South Carolina women’s basketball beat the Connecticut Huskies 64-49 to become National Champions and take the crown from one of the biggest dynasties in all of sports. This is the Gamecocks’ second National Championship in five years after winning their first in 2017.

The UConn Huskies came into the matchup with the ultimate confidence as they do every year in the tournament. They have ruled college basketball for over two decades under head coach Geno Auriemma, with an astounding 11-0 record in National Championship game, including winning it four consecutive years between 2012 and 2016. If that wasn’t enough to strike fear into the rest of the nation, the Huskies have advanced to 14 Final Fours in a row.

As for Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley, her attitude exuded that she was not afraid to become the first to take down the women’s basketball goliath in the final round. Staley won her second Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year award to coincide with the anchor and lead force of her team Aliyah Boston, who also won Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Even with all the accolades to boast for the Gamecocks, they still had to be aware that they were facing the best player in women’s college basketball. Paige Bueckers was not as dominant in the game as some might have hoped, but she made sure to help her team stay within striking distance for most of the game. She was the Huskies leading scorer with 14 points, but did not get much offensive production as the team found itself in a heap of foul trouble.

On the other side of the court, the Gamecocks came out swinging and landed a lot of punches to the Huskies’ pride throughout the game. Boston became more of a facilitator by attracting double teams off the dribble and allowing Destanni Henderson to take the lead. She torched the defense all night to the tune of 26 points.

The Huskies found themselves inching toward the lead in the fourth quarter, down only 7 points, but the Gamecocks flipped the switch and never looked back. They went on a huge run to stretch their lead to cross the finish line and let the confetti begin to fall.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest headlines that began to go viral on Twitter was not about the game itself. Staley caught more looks for what she wore to the game, rather than the photo finish of her hoisting the trophy.

Staley looked primed and ready for the moment and did not let the standard of what a head coach should dress like stand in the way of her becoming the first Black men’s or women’s head coach to win multiple NCAA Division I titles.

Categories: College Sports, Sports