South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner flew into town Friday night and was bright and chipper Saturday morning despite the time change. Why?
Another USC team is in contention for a national championship.
“What coach (Dawn) Staley’s done in her six years at the university has been very, very impressive,” Tanner said. “To get in this position is not easy. She’s certainly put us in position with our women’s basketball program to compete for a national championship.”
North Carolina starts two of its three South Carolina natives. It’s a familiar feeling for interim head coach Andrew Calder, also a South Carolina native.
Calder grew up in McBee, where his father coached high school basketball, and graduated from Coker. Calder followed in his dad’s footsteps, coaching at McBee High and winning a state championship in 1981. He was a volunteer assistant coach at USC in 1985-86 before leaving for UNC.
North Carolina hadn’t had an ACC Rookie of the Year since 2004. It now has the past two. Diamond DeShields made it two in a row this year, after former Spring Valley standout Xylina McDaniel won it last season. DeShields set ACC freshman records for points (616), double-digit games (30), field goals (235) and field goals attempted (551).
Staley sees this team’s success as just the beginning. While the Gamecocks have enjoyed the past three years, they want so much more.
Stanford, for example, is in its seventh straight Sweet 16 and saw a run of five straight Final Fours snapped last year.
Stanford is 28-4 in NCAA tournament games at Maples Pavilion.
The Stanford Regional was the only one where all four top seeds advanced to the Sweet 16.
“None of that means anything tomorrow.” – Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, after a moderator listed all of her career accomplishments.