South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley said her program contacted the SEC league office after the No. 9 Gamecocks’ controversial loss to No. 12 Missouri this past Sunday, but she declined to comment on the specifics of her complaint or say how the conference responded.
Speaking with local media for the first time since Sunday’s road loss in Columbia, Missouri, Staley and star forward A’ja Wilson both tried to keep the focus on USC’s next opponent, Auburn, but the physical, heated clash between the Gamecocks and the Tigers repeatedly came up.
In the immediate aftermath of the game, Staley expressed outrage that Wilson, a national Player of the Year contender, spent half the game on the bench due to foul trouble and said Missouri’s defensive strategy consisted of fouling Wilson.
She also said the SEC needs to “do better” when assigning referees to games in light of the fact that two officials who had called last year’s contest between the two programs were on the court Sunday. Staley said before the game even began she had texted SEC coordinator of officials Sally Bell to ask for an explanation.
When asked Wednesday if she had spoken with the SEC or sent the conference video from Sunday’s game as part of a complaint, Staley said she had and that the league had responded, but did not specify what the response had been.
“I’m moving on from that. We’ll probably revisit all that stuff in the next couple weeks, but I just want to turn the page and talk about Auburn,” Staley said.
The SEC, for its part, has yet to issue a statement on Sunday’s officiating or Staley’s comments, which, under the league’s code of ethics, could earn her a suspension, fine or public reprimand. The conference has also not responded to several requests for comment from The State.
As Staley acknowledged, however, questions about Sunday’s loss are unlikely to go away until South Carolina’s rematch with Missouri on Jan. 28, when the Tigers come to Colonial Life Arena.
Before that, USC faces Auburn this Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.