During a break in the first half of the Mississippi State-South Carolina title game Sunday night, the players were introduced along with some coaches and staff members. Her accomplishments there include two Final Fours and 25-win seasons the last six years.
Dawn Staley hopes to pass along a piece of her first championship net to another aspiring African-American coach - the same as Carolyn Peck did for her years ago. Wilson - the Final Four Most Outstanding Player - sees Staley's work ethic as the driving force behind her arrival as one of the new faces of women's basketball. "I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm all those things".
Great, indeed. Never greater than on Sunday, when the program beat Mississippi State, 67-55, to win the program's first national title. Proving to be no match for the Bulldogs, the All-American forward recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Guard Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State with 12 points, and guard Dominique Dillingham added 11. She has taken a once-dormant program and turned it into a school ready to raise its first national championship banner.
"I just moved up here from Knoxville and I just became a die-hard Gamecock fan, all the way", Scurlock said.
"We work together at SC for this common goal of winning this national championship", Staley said.
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"We've been getting a lot of Gonzaga money, more so than I had anticipated", he said Monday afternoon.
Jimenez looked as if he was going to win relatively easily on Sunday, with a two-shot lead going into Number 18 at Fallen Oak.
We caught up with former player Khadijah Sessions and some of those fans who say this moment is special because of what it took to get to this point. MSU (34-5) also was making its first appearance in the national title game.
"I think it suits her well", Wilson said.
But Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer never stopped coaching. And then beat them ...
Thanks to that win, the crowd heavily favored Mississippi State, which used the energy for an early 7-1 lead before the Gamecocks took control for a third straight win this season against the Bulldogs.
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The Bulldogs were on pace for a ideal regular season until the fateful night of February 25, an evening when they hoped to honor their seniors by finishing off a flawless regular season.
When the buzzer sounded and the confetti began to fall, Wilson sat crouched in front of the bench, overcome with emotion, before her teammates came over to celebrate with her and help her to her feet.
Bianca Cuevas-Moore turned over the ball for SC and Mississippi State had all the momentum for the first time.
SC beat Stanford 62-53 on Friday to reach the championship game.
But Mississippi State battled back despite foul trouble and a scoring drought of more than four minutes in the first half.
"This team has played with so much heart, and played through so much adversity", Wilson said, referring to the loss of star center Alaina Coates to a season-ending knee injury during the SEC tournament. For her, the culture of US basketball - of working as a team for a common goal - is what she tries to replicate in every locker room she oversees. Allisha Gray tied the game at 14-14 and four free throws later, SC was up 18-14 going into the second. Obviously we've had some hard times dealing with them. "We were a half-step late all day". Will they have enough in the tank to defeat the team they've already lost to twice this season.
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