Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dawn Staley: Doing it the right way!

USC Women's Basketball Coach - Dawn Staley
I will be the first person to admit that I am biased toward the three men’s major sports, golf and NASCAR.  It is doubtful that shocks anyone, as most folks in our region are as well.  Also, when someone tries to “cram” a sport down my throat, I usually just ignore it.  Yes, I will tune into some of the Olympics every couple of years, and there may be the occasional random event that grabs some attention, but for the most part I like my little sports cocoon. 

But if you can find a way to pierce that shell via merit and persistence, you earn my respect.  And if you’ve done that with me, you likely have done so with everyone who is like me.  I would guess I am your typical, average Gamecock fan so the number is probably large in that group.  Dawn Staley, you have our attention! 
I know very little about Women’s Basketball and I won’t pretend I have “always” followed it from a distance.  I haven’t.  My perception of that sport has largely been that UConn and Tennessee dominate, with the occasional Baylor, North Carolina or Notre Dame in the outside group.  Accurate?  I have no idea but I bet it’s close. 

That outside group is where I now I place another team:  the South Carolina Gamecocks and Dawn Staley.  (Disclaimer:  If you have followed this program for a long time, there are going to be many things wrong with this column.  I get that.) 

According to ESPN, we are ranked #8 right now after being upset in the semis at the SEC Tournament.  We are 27-4, won the SEC regular season title and are likely a #2 seed in the upcoming tournament.  Assuming we win our 1st round game, that will be three straight seasons where Coach Staley has won a game in the Ladies’ Big Dance. 

Okay, so we may have had a nice run but what about the future?  Coach Staley is on the verge of landing the nation’s #1 recruiting class.  Apparently, we already have the #4 class or something like that and we are waiting on 1 recruit’s decision to get us to the top.  Past success, present success and future success are all in good shape under Dawn Staley.  And she hasn’t asked for any special help that I know of to promote her program.  Her team has earned the recognition and exposure through their results on the court.  That is what turns a passive, not-interested fan base into genuinely excited supporters.  Should it be that way anyway?  Of course, and if a frog had wings….

So count me among those who have now made Lady Gamecock Basketball something I both keep up and for which I seek updates.  If this keeps up I may have to add Women’s Hoops to the list of sports that get pilloried here on The Cockabooster!  You may see the Tiggers’ Audra Smith get the treatment I give old Dabo, Jack-Leg and the Velvet Vanilla.  

It’s a great time to be a Gamecock!  

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