David Cloninger

January 30, 2014

Cloninger Soundoff: USC not panicky in tight spots

South Carolina wasn’t playing well and knew it. The Gamecocks had gotten away from what they know they have to do to be successful – pounding the ball inside and defensive rebounding – and as a result, Ole Miss had turned it into a one-point game.

David Cloninger

All things Gamecocks, especially basketball and football

South Carolina wasn’t playing well and knew it. The Gamecocks had gotten away from what they know they have to do to be successful – pounding the ball inside and defensive rebounding – and as a result, Ole Miss had turned it into a one-point game.

Coach Dawn Staley gathered her players around, but before she could lay into them or even calmly address them, the look told her all she needed to know. All of the players, in the game or not, looked collected. Calm. Confident.

A look that screamed, “Don’t worry. We got this.”

As if a giant switch was flipped, USC finished the first half on a 19-1 run. It was nearly scary to watch how the Gamecocks clinically did everything they needed to do to steamroll Ole Miss and re-take a comfortable lead. They missed one shot attempt from the field or line in the final 6:41 as the Rebels gasped to the break.

USC is long past the point of panicking in tight games. It’s a feeling borne of winning.

There should be a lot more of it – the look, and the result.

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