Undefeated. Undisputed. Uncommon favor.

The Gamecocks had posted back-to-back undefeated seasons going into the well-anticipated national championship matchup against Iowa. Led by Dawn Staley, their passion, drive, and motivation had been evident all year—their dominant roster includes standout freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley, and WNBA draft Kamilla Cardoso to name a few. As for their head coach, well, her resume speaks for itself: four-time Naismith Coach of the Year and, up until this point, had led the Gamecocks to two ‘chips.

The showdown between Iowa and South Carolina lived up to the hype. In the end, South Carolina proved, yet again, why they are the best of the best. They ultimately defeated the Hawkeyes, 87-75.

We haven’t stopped thinking about how iconic that championship game was. Here, we relive the big-time blocks, standout performances, Dawn’s epic speech and more.

Pregame: Aliyah Boston, WNBA ROY and Broadcaster

Aaliyah Boston, who led the Gamecocks to a national championship back in 2022 and is now a star on the Indiana Fever, has expanded her off-court ventures into broadcasting. For the Final Four, she joined the on-air studio crew and was also a sideline reporter during the national championship game.

Whether she was sharing her expertise and knowledge of the game or interviewing her former college coach, Boston was a star during the entire broadcast. Our favorite part? This very special moment she shared with Staley, just minutes after South Carolina won the title.

Big Energy on the Boards

The Gamecocks were straight up dominant in the paint against Iowa. Cardoso racked up 17 rebounds and forward Chloe Kitts followed right behind her with 10 boards.

 …From Threeeeee!

The “fearless” freshman Tessa Johnson was cooking all night long—hitting shots from deep, making crazy layups in the paint and putting on a 19-point performance coming off the bench. Then there were standouts Te-Hina Paopao and Raven Johnson, who hit clutch shots for the Gamecocks.

The Artistry of MiLaysia

She’s only a freshman, but MiLaysia Fulwiley has shown all season, and especially in the tournament, that she’s a star in the making. Fulwiley showed up on both ends of the floor—from crazy dimes to steals and making plays. We can’t wait to see her game only to continue to evolve.

You can read more about MiLaysia in our recent player spotlight:

The Brilliance of Dawn Staley

The GOAT. This third championship title has only continue to solidify what we’ve always known: she’s the greatest. Period.

“…My freshies are at the top of my heart because they wanted this. And I hope we can erase whatever pain they had last year, experiencing not being able to finish it here. So I’m just super proud where I work,” Staley said per GMA.

As we’ve mentioned before in her SLAM cover, she is a college basketball author of evolution. Her legacy will last forever.

Featured image via Getty Images.


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