Coach Dawn Staley once maintained composure of team morale during first half deficit against Kim Mulkey's LSU: "Exhale and see the mistakes"

LSU coach Kim Mulkey and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley
LSU coach Kim Mulkey and South Carolina coach Dawn Staley

When the No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks, coached by Dawn Staley, traveled to Baton Rouge to face LSU Tigers in January, it was a clash of the SEC's top two teams. The contest went down to the buzzers.

The Tigers were aggressive on the glass in the first half, managing an astonishing eight offensive rebounds, and leading 41-36 at halftime. The Gamecocks' unbeaten streak, standing at 18-0 at the time, looked in serious peril.

A new documentary on the team, 'Love the Game', shows footage from behind the scenes for that particular game. The charismatic coach Staley was not panicking, instead picking up her players with a simple message at halftime and they went on to win the game 76-70.

"Exhale and see the mistakes. It's us, it ain't them, it's us. So let's face it, let's go," Staley said.

How Dawn Staley pulled off the win against Kim Mulkey

The LSU Tigers versus the South Carolina Gamecocks is the premier game in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) with the two giants being the last two national champions.

The game in January also pitted some of the best coaches in the game, Dawn Staley and Kim Mulkey.

After the popular South Carolina coach's stirring halftime talk, the Gamecocks players turned up for the second half. They eventually closed out a closely fought match 76-70 after outscoring the Tigers 11-3 down the stretch.

They restricted LSU to just two offensive rebounds after tallying eight in the first half. South Carolina also started shooting from beyond the arc, their best offensive weapon (44 percent for the season).

It helped South Carolina's cause that LSU star Angel Reese fouled out of the game with 4:02 remaining on the clock and the Tigers leading by 2 points. In the absence of her rebounding ability, the Tigers faltered and failed to close out the game.

During her postgame news conference, Dawn Staley heaped praise on Reese and highlighted her team's tenacity despite a hostile Pete Maravich Assembly Center crowd.

“We’re gonna play for 40 minutes, no matter what the score is,” South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. “No matter if we’re down double-digits or up double-digits, we’re going to try to figure out ways to close the gap.”

The game against Kim Mulkey's LSU Tigers in January seemed to be a turning point in the season for the South Carolina Gamecocks. They went on to swat away the LSU Tigers in the SEC tournament championship game.

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