#WomenWednesday – Dawn Staley

Dawn Staley has done almost everything you can do. She had a highly successful career in college, WNBA, international, and now as a coach.

In 1999, Dawn Staley was the 9th pick in the WNBA draft our of Virginia. Staley played 131 games in her four years, averaging 16 point per game, 5.6 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game. All she did during those four years was reach the NCAA tournament each time, three Final Fours, and one National Championship game

Staley played 8 years in the WNBA – 6 with the now defunct Charlotte Sting and her final two with the Houston Comets. She helped lead the Sting to a championship game appearance in 2001. From 2001-2006, Staley made the All Star team each year. In 2011, she was named one of the top 15 players of all-time, during a 15 year anniversary celebration.

She won a Gold medal in three separate Olympic games – 1996, 2000, 2004. In 2006, following her playing career, she was named as an assistant coach to Team USA’s staff. After the team captured Gold in 2016, led by head coach Geno Auriemma, he stepped away from international coaching, allowing Staley to be promoted as head coach in 2017.

In 2017, Staley was in her 9th season as head coach of South Carolina. In a late February game, the Gamecocks lost to the Huskies – it was UConn’s 100th consecutive win. An unbelievable accomplishment and streak. That streak would end in the Final Four, six weeks later courtesy of some incredible heroics by Mississippi State’s Morgan Williams, who hit a buzzer beating three to end the streak.

That opened the door for a new champion and Staley’s Gamecocks, who knocked off Stanford in the other Final Four game, busted that door wide open and beat Mississippi State in the 2017 Championship game. It was the school’s first National Championship. And Staley proved she could coach by knocking off the legendary Tara VanDerveer at Stanford. VanDerveer has over 1000 career wins and two National Championships, so outcoaching her in a Final Four is quite the feat in itself.

Staley is 250-87, now in her 11th year at South Carolina and going strong.

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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