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The South Carolina National Champions

Williams+Brice+Stadium+on+the+campus+of+the+University+of+South+Carolina.
Depositphotos
Williams Brice Stadium on the campus of the University of South Carolina.

After a women’s tournament that will go in history books, the South Carolina Gamecocks reign supreme once again in Women’s College Basketball as they win their third national championship and second title in the last three seasons. This comes after Gamecocks Head Coach, Dawn Staley, lost all five starters from last year’s team. The Gamecocks became the national champions in Cleveland defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-75 and getting revenge on the Hawkeyes after their 77-73 victory against them in last year’s final four in Dallas.  

 

Iowa started out the game red-hot as the Hawkeyes got an early 10-point lead while holding off the Gamecocks — until the midway point through the second quarter, when the Gamecocks got going. It was a back and forth throughout the first half until a layup by sophomore guard Raven Johnson at the end of the second quarter put the Gamecocks up 49-46 at the half, a lead the Hawkeyes couldn’t retain.

Jerri and Steve Spurrier Indoor Practice Facility on the campus of the University of South Carolina. (Depositphotos)

The Gamecocks dominated in the second half with senior center and game MVP Kamilla Cardoso leading the way with 15 points and 17 rebounds. The Gamecocks got contributions from their bench with freshman Tessa Johnson scoring 19 points, senior guard Te-Hina Paopao scoring 14 points and sophomore forward Cole Kitts scoring 11 points. The Gamecocks (36-0) now join  UCONN (University of Connecticut and Six Time Champions), Baylor (2012), Tennessee (1998), and Texas (1986) as the only teams that have gone undefeated throughout an entire season.

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The home stadium of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. (Walter G. Arce, Sr.)

The Hawkeyes put up a great effort as the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) projected number one pick. Senior guard Caitlin Clark had 18 points in the first quarter, which is the most points scored in a quarter in a national championship game, breaking former WNBA player Chamique Holdsclaw’s record in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament. Clark would only score 12 points in the last 30 minutes, finishing with a total of 30 points. 

Despite Clark’s college career coming to an end with no national championship, her impact on women’s basketball is undeniable. Clark finished her college career as the all-time leading NCAA Division 1 (DI) scoring leader for men’s and women’s with 3,951 points. Clark averaged 31.6 points per game and 28.4 over 189 games. Her historic marks have inspired a whole generation of women’s college basketball players. A lot of talent will be coming into the WNBA. Even South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley paid her respects to Clark by saying:

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” Staley said. “She carried a heavy load for our sport… She’s gonna lift [the WNBA] up… You are one of the GOATs of our game.”

Yet once again, the Gamecocks prove why they are the dominant force of women’s basketball by winning the national title once more. 

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Chekol
Jonathan Chekol, Staff Writer
Jonathan Chekol grew up in Clarksville, MD, and he is currently a sophomore at HCC, majoring in Audio Video Media Production. Jonathan is a sportswriter here at The HCC Times and has an internship within the Athletics Department in multimedia sports communications. He is a huge sports fan and has been following sports, particularly football, basketball and soccer since childhood. He has a very good understanding of these sports and can explain details such as tournament formats, regulations, the history behind them, people in the boardroom, etc. to anyone around him. Jonathan also likes to exercise and spend time with family and friends.  

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