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When Morning time Staley arrived to debate defeating Stanford 65-61, her team’s biggest comeback victory in program history, she sat down and effect her grey Havanese dog Champ on the table real beside her. Staley and her team were at dwelling, and Champ acting beside her was par for the route.
A total of 13,079 of us were reported in attendance at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, for one in all potentially the most anticipated matchups of the 2021-22 season. It was moreover a rematch of the 2021 ladies folk’s Final Four between Staley’s Gamecocks and Tara VanDerveer’s defending national champion Stanford Cardinal. VanDerveer’s squad came out on prime final April, defeating the Gamecocks 66-65 to transfer onto the national championship recreation.
When Staley was asked about the attendance number and the draw in which the crew was ready to assist will her team aid from an 18-level deficit, she answered: “Who accounted for the 3,000 of us that snuck in? Due to it looked indulge in rather greater than that.”
She remarked that the exhibiting Tuesday night time was electric and remembered seeing a social media post sooner than the recreation that mentioned the matchup was going to be “an trip that you just are going to fill got never heard sooner than in a gymnasium.”
“There was no lie told,” Staley mentioned in response to that fan’s post.
That energy, obsessive fandom and loaded roster from prime to bottom is what Staley has in-built her 14 years because the head coach. And her team’s reach-from-on the aid of victory against the defending champs was e-book of the juggernaut she has built.
The Gamecocks fill the aptitude to enter the postseason undefeated, and so that they just correct proved precisely why. Staley’s team continues to conceal that or now not it’s elite and the well-liked to decide the national championship.
Staley’s Fundamental Adjustment on Defense
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In the first half of, Stanford’s offense was in sync. The Cardinal scored 21 points in every quarter and shot over 47 percent in both quarters as effectively. Lexie Hull scored 14 points in the first out of her 17 total, and the Cardinal hit six of their seven threes.
Staley smartly-known that in the first half of the Cardinal caught the ball the build they wished and moved it around at will. Stanford’s Princeton-fashion offense unfold the floor, received all people fervent and was free-flowing. When there was an commence lane, level forwards and wings Lexie and Lacie Hull and Haley Jones made the true reads.
Going into the third quarter, the Gamecocks wished to adjust and investigate cross-take a look at to explain Stanford’s significant weak point: its lack of a outdated level guard. Their biggest adjustment in the third was denying any pass going into the excessive post. As soon as the Gamecocks were all on the identical page in denying that preliminary entry pass to commence every of Stanford’s offensive sets, South Carolina was ready to string together a couple of stops, turnovers and plays in transition in a row.
Point guard Destanni Henderson, taking half in in her first recreation since November after sitting out due to the a left leg break, led the Gamecocks’ defensive intensity in the 2d half of. She had seven steals as effectively as to her 17 points and a recreation-excessive seven assists. With 24 seconds left and Stanford down by one, Staley made certain that Henderson was on the Cardinal’s significant ball-handler in level-ahead Jones.
“We absolutely wished Henny in the station of taking half in under [Jones], making her play rather bit faster and hassle her rather bit,” Staley mentioned after the recreation. “And I believed we just correct, you admire, we wished that matchup. All people else can fill matched up alternatively they wished to take a look at up, but for that one, Henny was the one which’s gonna carry it dwelling and kind a play.”
With 5 seconds left after Aliyah Boston’s 1-of-2 breeze to vacation on the line gave the Gamecocks a 63-60 lead, Staley’s animated anticipation stymied Stanford. After the timeout, she instructed Zia Cooke to tainted Cameron Brink once she received the ball sooner than she would possibly perhaps perhaps space a conceal for stretch post Ashten Prechtel to gather off a three. The tainted sent the sophomore to the line, the build she finest made one free throw sooner than Francesca Belibi dedicated a lane violation.
Staley effect on a coaches sanatorium for the length of.
How South Carolina Landed Its Simplest Crew Potentially Ever
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VanDerveer smartly-known in her postgame presser that she felt indulge in her team can fill done a greater job on the offensive glass, because the Cardinal were outrebounded 18-11.
“You understand, I believed our defense was beautiful real,” she mentioned. “You understand, we gave up some baskets that we should not, but, you admire, Boston’s very tricky in there. And we received concern on the O-boards. We didn’t place an real sufficient job on the O-boards. Now we want to be more aggressive.”
Stanford in fact outrebounded South Carolina 40-38, but it absolutely wasn’t sufficient, and the correct offensive rebounding team in the country stayed real to its identification. So how did the Gamecocks change into so efficient on the offensive glass? How is that this what they’re known for?
Before every thing, they’re deep. Besides smartly-known person heart Boston, South Carolina has 6’7″ Kamilla Cardoso, 6’2″ Victaria Saxton (who had 10 rebounds against the Cardinal) and higher guards in 6’4″ Laeticia Amihere and 6’1″ Brea Beal.
How else does Staley work her magic? How does she gather some of potentially the most proficient recruits to bet on her and South Carolina? Dating aid to the times of WNBA smartly-known person A’ja Wilson‘s time with the Gamecocks, Staley has had a advance of connecting to possible recruits. She’s ready to gather a maternal bond with them that goes beyond the court docket.
“I endure in tips telling my fogeys, ‘Coach Staley has long previous through every thing that I are looking out to battle through,'” Wilson told ESPN’s Katie Barnes earlier this twelve months.
Girls folk’s basketball analyst Debbie Antonelli equipped some perception as to how Staley moreover captured the hearts of followers in the neighborhood. “I dangle Coach Staley is an very just correct teacher and a position mannequin,” she mentioned, in step with Cleopatra Shabazz of the Carolina Info & Reporter. “Any individual you are going to need your daughter to play for. Not just correct what you would possibly perhaps perhaps be going to learn on the court docket however the classes she’s going to educate you off the court docket.”
Wilson, in the meantime, is powerful from the correct conventional South Carolina participant at this time in the W or drafted, which involves Alaina Coates, Kaela Davis, Allisha Grey, Mikiah “Kiki” Herbert Harrigan and Tyasha Harris. That core crew of gamers gave Staley a formula for achievement, which included a national championship in 2017 that Wilson and her peers introduced to South Carolina.
Practically 5 years after the Gamecocks were the final team standing in early April, their new core, which involves Wilson’s successor in Boston and a proficient supporting cast of Cooke, Henderson and Amihere, looks prepared to position Staley and the Gamecocks aid underneath the confetti.
However a month sooner than the season even began, South Carolina identified who they had in Staley and the gather of program she’s created from the floor up. The board of trustees honored her with a new seven-twelve months, $22.4 million contract, making her the highest-paid Black coach in ladies folk’s basketball.
Extra history was made Tuesday after the ancient comeback, and the Gamecocks knew it don’t fill been imaginable with out the toughen and steering from their coach.
“It’s beautiful frigid to be a piece of that history,” Saxton mentioned after the recreation when asked about what this opt skill to this system. “I just correct in fact feel indulge in, you admire, with out the coach that we received, we wouldn’t be ready to head available and tackle industry indulge in we did.”