The Daily Gamecock

'We are at the dawn of a new dynasty': Gamecocks women's basketball team returns as national champions

The South Carolina women's basketball team returns to Columbia, SC after a victory over University of Connecticut in Minneapolis, MN to claim their second national title. Fans waited for the team and cheered them on outside of Colonial Life Arena.

The South Carolina Gamecocks women's basketball team returned to Colonial Life Arena for a celebration ceremony Monday afternoon after winning its second national championship in program history.

Head coach Dawn Staley thanked the crowd of fans outside the stadium for their support and said she hoped the team can win the national championship again next year.

"We couldn't wait to get back here to celebrate," Staley said. "I looked on social media, and I saw how much partying and watch-partying you've been doing."

Multiple students, such as fourth-year political science student Mary Goodlett, said they believed the team can win back to back championships. 

"Dawn Staley is absolutely phenomenal, and our team is great. And I feel like we'll just keep recruiting great athletes and will just continue the trend of being national champions," Goodlett said. 

Interim university President Harris Pastides also thanked the crowd and said there will be a championship parade later this week.

"We are at the dawn of a new dynasty," Pastides said. "Every member of the team and all the coaches have done more to advance the status of women in athletics and in our nation than has ever been done before."

Brad Muller, the radio voice of South Carolina women's basketball, said it was appropriate that the women's team won the national championship on the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Title IX is a law that states that no one can be excluded from any educational activity or program on the basis of sex.

Senior guard Destanni Henderson thanked the crowd as well. Henderson scored a career-high in her last game as a Gamecock Sunday night.

"This national championship wasn't just for everybody standing up here today, but it was for you guys," Henderson said. "The love, it never goes unknown, and we appreciate you guys."

Students celebrated the championship by storming the fountain in front of the Thomas Cooper Library Sunday night. Sammie Grant, a fourth-year sports and entertainment management student, said with five minutes left in the game, she left for the fountain to celebrate the victory.

"It was amazing. It was so fun to see all of our student body celebrating," fourth-year public relations student Carson Hendricks, who rushed the fountain after the game, said. 

Grant said the team was "very uplifting for women in sports." Grant is also a part of the Gamecocks women swimming and diving team. 

"As a SPTE major and a woman student athlete I feel like they are a very powerful group to me and they mean a lot," Grant said.  

Michael Layer, a USC Graduate School alumni, said he thinks the team can win the championship next year and said it was fun seeing everyone celebrate.

"I think it's a pretty special program that we have here," Layer said. "It's fun to see the players come back, and it's fun to see the team celebrating the win"


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