David Cloninger

Cloninger Soundoff: Mitchell was USC’s star

South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell shoots over Georgia’s Marjorie Butler on Thursday.
South Carolina’s Tiffany Mitchell shoots over Georgia’s Marjorie Butler on Thursday. Tracy Glantz

Tiffany Mitchell came to South Carolina because she wanted to be Dawn Staley. Growing up in Charlotte, Mitchell’s walls were bedecked with Staley posters and pictures, and when Staley called Mitchell to come play for her, Mitchell said yes nearly before she answered the phone.

The Gamecocks got a talented player, one who is bidding for SEC Player of the Year, but on Thursday, they realized what more they have in her. USC wasn’t playing well with its bread-and-butter inside offense stagnant, so Mitchell shrugged and told her teammates to set screens.

In short, to do what Staley did for so long as a player – when the chips are down, the best player takes over.

Mitchell was USC’s offense in the first half, scoring 16 points to nearly out-pace Georgia by herself (the Bulldogs had 18). Driving the lane, showing off the ankle-breaking dropstep, her trailing white headband whipping into defender’s faces … it was easy to see why Mitchell is beginning to be so highly regarded by the national folks.

Although the Gamecocks knew it all along.

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