Gamecocks over Iowa in Title Game

“I’m super proud of where I work, I’m super proud of our fans — it’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s unbelievable,” Staley said.

South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley celebrates winning her 3rd National Championship. (Photo: Morry Gash/AP)


Earl Heath

Contributing Sports Writer


South Carolina beat Iowa 87-75 to win its third NCAA women’s championship. It was a game USC Coach Dawn Staley Had to wait for a year.

The Gamecocks’ Tessa Johnson had 19 points and Kamilla Cardoso had 15 as the team smothered Iowa’s hope for its first championship title. The team was to strong as their will power came out strong

It was the final game in the college career of Iowa Hawkeyes star Caitlin Clark, who broke Division I scoring record for men and women.  She had 30 points on the night .

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley was overcome with emotion and in tears after the win.

“I’m so incredibly happy for our players,” Staley said. “It doesn’t always end like you want it to end, much like last year.”

It was Iowa that knocked South Carolina out of the tournament last year, beating them in the Final Four. But since then, South Carolina has not lost a game. The Sting still appeared to be fresh on Staleys mind. 

“I’m super proud of where I work, I’m super proud of our fans — it’s awesome. It’s awesome. It’s unbelievable,” Staley said.

With the win, South Carolina had the 10th perfect season in the history of Division I women’s basketball.

South Carolina guard Tessa Johnson (5) fights for a loose ball with Iowa guard Sydney Affolter (3) and guard Kate Martin (20) during the second half on Sunday. (Photo: Morry Gash/AP)

Staley, after accepting the trophy along with her team, congratulated Iowa for an “incredible season,” and she singled out Clark.

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” Staley said. “She carried a heavy load for our sport. And it’s just — it’s not going to stop here on the collegiate tour, but when she is the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft, she’s going to lift that league up as well.”

“So, Caitlin Clark, if you’re out there: You are one of the GOATs of our game, and we appreciate you,” Staley said, using the acronym for “greatest of all time.”

“With a record-setting audience of 18.7 million viewers, Sunday’s Iowa-South Carolina title game was a fitting finale to the most-viewed ever NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said. “These exceptional athletes, coaches and teams captured our attention in unprecedented ways and it’s incumbent on all of us to keep the incredible momentum going.”