Look out. Dawn Staley is channeling her frustration with South Carolina women's basketball's regional placement in the NCAA tournament into ticket selling.
Her campaign to fill up Colonial Life Arena for the Big Dance's first two rounds started just moments after she learned the Gamecocks' seed and region this past Monday.
Speaking from the stage at Williams-Brice Stadium, Staley urged fans to buy tickets despite higher prices from the NCAA.
"Go out and get your tickets, because we got another competition. Did y'all know about the other competition?" she asked. "Mississippi State has sold over 10,000 tickets. OK? We won't be outdone. We won't be outdone. I don't care if it's one ticket over what they have, we're going to win that battle. We're at 6,100. We got a lot of politicking to do."
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Since then, Staley has continued to pump ticket sales, requesting daily updates from the athletics department about how many tickets have been sold, then offering to donate up to 400 youth tickets and 300 adult tickets for both Friday's and Sunday's game to people in the Columbia community for every ticket sold.
She has even gotten football coach Will Muschamp and mens' basketball coach Frank Martin in on the effort, with her two colleagues offering to buy tickets for others in the community as well.
So far, Staley announced Thursday afternoon, fans have fulfilled the first part of her challenge, buying 1,000 tickets that she will match with donations.
This is the fourth straight season the Gamecocks have hosted the opening two rounds of the tourney since the NCAA made the switch to have the top 16 seeds stay at home for two games, and over the past three years, attendance has actually declined slightly at Colonial Life Arena.
In 2015, 10,644 fans watched South Carolina defeat Savannah State in the opening round, while 10,485 were there for round two against Syracuse. In 2016, 10,048 people were there when USC beat Kansas State to advance to the Sweet 16. In 2017, 8,726 fans saw the Gamecocks escape a nail-biting 71-68 contest against Arizona State.
As of early Thursday afternoon, Staley said 8,532 tickets had been sold. Tickets can be purchased here.