The comment raised eyebrows all across South Carolina. Syracuse’s Bria Day, after the Orange advanced to the Sweet 16, said of USC, “But I don’t think there’s much of a challenge.”
Tiffany Mitchell said, OK, we’ll see on Friday. Dawn Staley said she didn’t think Day said what she was reported to say. The SEC, particularly the Kentucky Wildcats, thought of sending Day a note about what can happen when talking junk to the Gamecocks – Makayla Epps said it’s hard to beat a good team three times in a season and USC responded with a 30-point whipping of the Cats at the SEC tournament, their third win over UK this year.
“I really do believe that comment was taken a little bit out of context,” Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman said.
Perhaps it was. Day was asked about it on Thursday.
“Things get misconstrued,” she said. “They’re a very good team and so are we. I’m not saying they’re terrible, they’re a very, very good team. We know who South Carolina is, everybody knows who they are.”
How was it misconstrued?
“That, right there,” she replied.
Her twin sister Briana Day also talked about the Gamecocks, and how USC beat the Orange twice last season.
“I’m thinking third time’s a charm,” she said.
A short but heavy snowfall made Sioux Falls nearly impassable Wednesday, bringing to mind USC’s other snow postseasons. The Gamecocks were eliminated in the round of 32 by Kansas four years ago, when a snowstorm covered Boulder, Colo.
Last year, they traveled through a nor’easter to get to Connecticut in a game they lost, but got through another ice storm to North Little Rock, where they won the SEC tournament.
We meet again
Staley’s connections across basketball reached another familiar face in Sioux Falls. Former Virginia teammate and roommate Tammi Reiss is in her first year as a Syracuse assistant.
“That’s my sisterhood,” Reiss said. “I want nothing more than for them to be successful, to win, to get a national championship. Just not against me.”
Staley once told the story of being assigned to a room with Audra Smith, now Clemson’s coach, at UVa. That didn’t last too long.
“Dawn stayed up all night watching movies, joking, Audra was in bed by 9,” Reiss said. “My roommate was the same way, so they kicked us out.
“We’d stay up till 3, 4 in the morning. I don’t know how we operated because I don’t think we ever slept.”
Reiss coached in the WNBA and on the West Coast before coming to Syracuse.
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