The South Carolina Gamecocks took part in Friday night’s women’s tournament NCAA Final Four game against Iowa on a 42-game winning streak and is looking to return to the national championship game for the second straight year.
The most dominant team in women’s college basketball was stopped in its tracks by Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes, losing 77-73 as Iowa advanced to Sunday’s national championship game.
South Carolina was the more physical team all night, dominating the glass by Iowa 49-25, including 26 offensive rebounds against the small Iowa team.
HAWKEYES STAR CAITLIN CLARK WAVE UNSUSPENDED SOUTH CAROLINA PLAYER AS IOWA STUNS TITLE FAVORITE
Following the loss, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley was asked about other coaches calling her team “bullies”, to which Staley strongly defended her players.
“We’re not bar fighters. We’re not thugs. We’re not monkeys. We’re not street fighters,” Staley said. “This team exemplifies the way you have to approach basketball, on and off the court. I think that sometimes gets introduced into the game. And it hurts.”
THURSDAY, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder called South Carolina an “incredible offensive rebounding team.”
“Someone just described it to me like you’re going to a bar fight when you’re trying to bounce off them, they’re so good,” Bluder said, according to ESPN.
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Staley then called members of the national media. “Some people in the media, when you come together in public, you say things about our team and you get heard,” Staley said. “And it comes back to me. And these are the people who write nationally for our sports. So you can’t love our team, and you can’t love me. But when you say things you should probably say in your home on the phone or text, in public – and you’re heard – and you’re a national writer for our sport, that just confirms what we already know.
“So don’t judge us by the color of our skin,” Staley continued. “Judge us on how we approach the game. And you might not like the way we play the game. You might not like it. That’s how we play. that’s how I coach. I won’t change.”
South Carolina’s incredible season almost came to a halt single handedly by clarkwho scored Iowa’s last 13 points, finishing with 41 points on the night.
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“We had nothing to lose. I have all the faith in the world in this group, and they believe in me, and that’s all you need,” Clark said. “All we do is believe in each other, and we love each other to death, and that’s what a real team is. If you want an example of a team, that’s what it is. ‘East.”
The Hawkeyes will face Kim Mulkey and the LSU Tigers on Sunday for the national championship.