South Carolina ladies are finest general NCAA Match crew


Whether or not you name it irony or coincidence, the perfect crew enjoying throughout faculty basketball’s largest second throughout a month that’s devoted to the historical past of girls makes an excessive amount of sense. Sure, all of us consider the boys’s sport after we consider March Insanity. And sure, the males’s sport brings in all the cash. However, commerce and a spotlight can’t get you what Daybreak Staley’s crew has — domination.

James Brown’s lyrics have materialized on a basketball court docket.

Sporting an ideal 32-Zero document and led by the solely Black coach within the historical past of the sport to ever win a number of NCAA Tournaments, Staley’s Woman Gamecocks would be the finest crew you see on TV this month.

When No. 1 South Carolina takes on No. 16 Norfolk State on Friday afternoon, the Spartans will simply be the newest crew to exit the ground with a loss on their document. They don’t have an opportunity. And that’s no disrespect to their program, it’s simply that nobody has had one among late towards South Carolina.

South Carolina’s résumé speaks for itself

Since 2015, that is the Woman Gamecocks’ résumé: Ultimate 4 (2015), Candy Sixteen (2016), Nationwide Championship (2017), Elite Eight (2018), Candy Sixteen (2019), Ultimate 4 (2021), Nationwide Championship (2022). South Carolina has misplaced a complete of two video games the previous two seasons, as they have been 36-2 final yr.

And it’s not like they’re feeling the stress of getting into the match undefeated.

“I simply talked to our gamers about this at the moment,” Staley stated final month. “We don’t want a loss to make a push. Final yr did we want it? Possibly. I don’t know. Nevertheless it occurred. And it was a push that helped us.

“They’re not coming into follow pondering, ‘Oh, we’re undefeated,” Staley defined about her crew. “It’s not one thing within the forefront of their minds. Even after we performed as shut as we did within the time beyond regulation sport at Ole Miss, they by no means flinched. They didn’t give it some thought. They simply went into the mode of, ‘We’ve simply acquired to do no matter it takes to win, nevertheless many minutes that’s.’”

Solely 4 packages have accomplished undefeated seasons

In keeping with ESPN, 9 groups from 4 packages in NCAA ladies’s basketball historical past have completed a season undefeated: the Texas Longhorns (1986), UConn Huskies (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016), Tennessee (1998) and the Baylor Bears (2012). South Carolina is trying to flip that 9 right into a 10 and put its program into the historical past books.

In faculty basketball, particularly within the ladies’s sport, the perfect packages have all the time been led by the perfect coaches. Sure, star gamers matter, however the play callers have been those which have survived the check of time. Tennessee had Pat Summit. UConn has Geno Auriemma. Notre Dame had Muffet McGraw. And LSU and Baylor have had Kim Mulkey. In Staley, South Carolina not solely has a coach that may take a stand and has made historical past, however in addition they have somebody who ought to have already damaged down a barrier as the primary feminine coach within the NBA — not Becky Hammon.

“I include quite a lot of credentials,” Staley instructed the New York Instances in 2021 when she was interviewed for the Portland Path Blazers head teaching job. “I absolutely have the arrogance. I absolutely can stand in entrance of males and lead them. First-team All-Stars. MVPs. I’m OK with that.

“I haven’t coached within the league,” Staley defined. “However you recognize what? I’m a fast study. I’m a fast study.”

March is a month that ensures uncertainty. However on the subject of the 2023 NCAA Match, the South Carolina ladies’s basketball crew is the most secure choose. 

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