"Nothing about us can be casual": South Carolina HC Dawn Staley once hyped up team with fiery speech during halftime against Duke 

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South Carolina NCAA Women's Basketball Championship Parade

South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley took her team on a journey last season. The Gamecocks had an unbeaten season to win the women's national championship after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the final.

However, it was not always easy for the Gamecocks last year. A mini documentary series, released by the Gamecocks' official YouTube channel, showcases the journey the team went on during the season.

At one point, it shows Staley's half-time team talk when her team faced basketball powerhouse, the Duke Blue Devils.

"The nastiness of playing in a game like this. We cannot be causal. Nothing about us can be causal." (4:30)


Coming into halftime, the Gamecocks had a 35-29 led over Duke. But Dawn Staley was not happy with this lead, knowing that they were strong enough to keep with the Gamecocks, and mount a serious challenge for victory. So she asked her players to play as the professional athletes they are.

Did Dawn Staley's talk work?

During the second half of the game, the Gamecocks outscored Duke 42-31. This gave them a convincing 77-61 victory over the Blue Devils and their undefeated season continued.

Brazil-born center Kamilla Cardoso was the Gamecocks top scorer with 15 points and 14 rebounds, while guard Raven Johnson led the team with four assists.

The victory improved the Gamecocks record to 7-0 for the season, and would be one of the many victories they had on their way to their national championship win. For Staley, her leadership during the season gave her the Coach of the Year award.

Could Dawn Staley get a new contract?

After Staley led the South Carolina Gamecocks to both a national championship win and an undefeated season, discussions on a contract extension for her are on.

Dawn Staley had already extended her contract in 2021, when she signed a seven-year extention worth $22.4 million. This made her the highest paid coach in the SEC at the time, overtaking LSU head coach Kim Mulkey.

However, Mulkey, who won the 2023 national championship, signed a 10-year extention with the Tigers worth $32 million. This has made her the highest-paid coach in women's college basketball.

Then, there was the the news that Geno Auriemma, UConn Huskies head coach, has signed a new contract worth $18 million. All this may mean that the Gamecocks want to pay their head coach more money, in recognition of her achievements.

What could Alabama basketball's 2024-25 starting lineup look like? Find out here

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