South Carolina women are the best team in the NCAA tournament overall
Whether you call it irony or coincidence, the best team to play during college basketball’s greatest moment during a month dedicated to women’s history makes too much sense. Yes, we all think of men’s football when we think of March Madness. And yes, the The men’s game brings in all the money. But commerce and attention can’t bring you what Dawn Staley’s team has – dominance.
James Browns text materialized on a basketball court.
With a perfect 32-0 record and led by the only black coach in the game’s history to ever win multiple NCAA tournamentsStaley’s Lady Gamecocks will be the best team to see on TV this month.
When No. 1 South Carolina takes on No. 16 Norfolk State on Friday afternoon, the Spartans will be just the last team to leave the court with a loss on their record. You don’t stand a chance. And that’s not a disregard for their program, it’s just that nobody’s had one against South Carolina lately.
South Carolina’s résumé speaks for itself
Since 2015 this is the Ré of the Lady Gamecockssumé: Final Four (2015), Sweet Sixteen (2016), National Championship (2017), Elite Eight (2018), Sweet Sixteen (2019), Final Four (2021), National Championship (2022). South Carolina has lost two games overall over the past two seasons as they were 36-2 last year.
G/O Media may receive a commission
And it’s not like they feel the pressure to go into the tournament undefeated.
“I just spoke to our players about it today,” Staley said last month. “We don’t need a defeat to make a push. Last year did we need it? Perhaps. I don’t know. But it happened. And it was a boost that helped us.
“They don’t come into practice and think, ‘Oh, we’re undefeated,'” Staley explained of her team. “It’s not something they have in mind. Even when we played as tight as we did in overtime at Ole Miss, they never flinched. You haven’t thought about it. They just went into the mode of, ‘We just have to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how many minutes that is.'”
Only four programs have completed undefeated seasons
According to ESPN, nine teams from four programs have gone unbeaten in NCAA women’s basketball history: the Texas longhorns (1986), UConn Huskies (1995, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2016), Tennessee (1998) and the Baylor Bears (2012). South Carolina wants to turn that nine into a 10 and put his program in the history books.
In college basketball, especially in the women’s game, the best programs have always been led by the best coaches. Yes, star players matter, but the play callers were the ones who stood the test of time. Tennessee had Pat Summit. UConn has Geno Auriemma. Notre Dame had Muffet McGraw. And LSU and Baylor had Kim Mulkey. In Staley, South Carolina doesn’t just have one coach who wants that take position and has made historybut they also have someone who should already have broken down a barrier as the first female coach in the NBA – not Becky Hammon.
“I come with many references” Staley told the New York Times in 2021 when she was being interviewed for the job as the Portland Trail Blazers head coach. “I definitely have the confidence. I can certainly stand in front of men and lead them. First-Team All-Stars. MVP’s. That’s okay for me.
“I didn’t practice in the league,” Staley explained. “But you know what? I’m a fast learner. I’m a fast learner.”
March is a month that guarantees uncertainty. But when it comes to the 2023 NCAA tournament, the safest bet is the South Carolina women’s basketball team.
https://deadspin.com/south-carolina-basketball-ncaa-tournament-dawn-staley-1850237162 South Carolina women are the best team in the NCAA tournament overall