USC Women's Basketball

Staley’s Gamecocks outside of Top 5 in way-too-early ranking for next season

Dawn Staley throws out first pitch at USC softball

South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley throws out the first pitch Saturday at USC softball's game vs. Florida State.
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South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley throws out the first pitch Saturday at USC softball's game vs. Florida State.

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley is still celebrating the Gamecocks’ first national championship.

Staley contributed the ceremonial first serve at the USC men’s tennis match Friday, then threw out the first pitch at softball Saturday.

“This is good. This is fun,” Staley said Saturday. “Any time you can share the national championship spirit, you want to give it to the rest of the sports here.”

The Gamecocks’ quest for back-to-back titles will be challenging, according to ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme, who projects USC as No. 6 in his way-too-early Top 25 released Monday. Creme has UConn as the early favorites to be No. 1.

“So much for the defending champs being the biggest threat to UConn’s return to the top,” Creme wrote of the Gamecocks in ranking them sixth.

Creme attributed some of the uncertainty surrounding the 2017-18 Gamecocks to the expected loss of senior Alaina Coates and the early departures of Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray to the WNBA.

Staley’s “11th-rated recruiting class might be pressed into major minutes earlier than expected, especially 6-foot-1 Elisia Grissett,” Creme wrote. “Tyasha Harris should be even more confident as a sophomore point guard, and A’ja Wilson will be a favorite for every national player of the year award.”

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