I’m going to be honest: I don’t really like basketball. I rarely watch it and I struggle to make it through a whole game without losing interest multiple times. That being said, I can appreciate good teams, and the Gamecocks are a good team.
No. 21 South Carolina hosted No. 1 Stanford at the Colonial Life Arena last night and came within four points of pulling off a major upset. While a loss is never fun, the way the ladies played is something to be very, very proud of. Stanford is very, very good, and coming that close to beating them is no small feat.
Now in her fourth year as the coach at USC, Dawn Staley has brought the program to a level of national recognition and success. Last year’s squad reached the Sweet Sixteen, playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. They carried that success into this season, starting off 10-0 before suffering their first loss last night.
The ladies are sometimes overlooked and end up in the shadow of sports like football and baseball, but they deserve plenty of recognition and fan support, too. An announced crowd of about 8,000 showed up for last night’s game, which was part of a doubleheader with the guys (who beat Appalachian State), and that’s encouraging.
This is a team that has yet to reach their fullest potential, as the season is still relatively young, and it’ll be fun to watch them improve and grow as a group over the next few months (even for a non-basketball fan like me).
With the women being ranked and looking to keep up their high level of success, it’s key that they know they’ve got a strong base of fans at home. The team has one more game before the holidays, tomorrow at noon against South Carolina State. If you’re in or near Columbia, head out to the CLA and cheer them on!