Remembering 2017 national championship for Gamecocks WBB in Dallas

Gamecock players and coaches reflect on their first national championship run, which also took place in Dallas in 2017
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 12:07 AM EDT
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DALLAS, TX (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina will soon play Iowa in the NCAA Women’s Final Four at the American Airlines Center.

It’s a building that is special to Gamecocks fans.

In 2017, the program made the NCAA Final Four for just the second time in program history and came to Dallas in search of its first national championship.

“I just remember, obviously the Dallas police officers, the motorcade. They get us where we need to go. Super cool seeing that,” said Head Coach Dawn Staley.

Following wins over Stanford and then Mississippi State, South Carolina had its first national championship in Women’s Basketball.

“Although it was really hard to win, they made a mounting comeback. But relieved that we actually won a championship,” said Staley.

This week was the first time the program has been to the AAC since that title.

“It just brings back a lot of joy because I remember the expressions on the coaches’ faces. I remember A’ja Wilson crying,” said South Carolina WBB Radio Play-by-Play Announcer Brad Muller.

Fans like Angelo Reid say they won’t forget where they were when the clock ran out and the confetti flew on April 2, 2017.

“I saw the game from a hotel room, and I was just so excited that we finally closed the deal,” he said.

No player on that 2017 championship team is on the current roster, but the impact of that run is still felt.

“After I watched that game I told my dad, I wanna go there. I wanna go there,” said Senior Guard Zia Cooke.

The hope is the magic from that year can be recreated again.

“We’re staying at a different hotel, but the hotel we were staying at is right across the street, so I made sure to step in the building to get that good mojo going. I also washed my lucky socks before we got here. So yeah, I’m pretty superstitious but also trying to explore some new things,” said Muller.

This weekend, the Gamecocks will play for a third national championship in the place a dream for Staley became a reality.

“To see her vision come to fruition was just fantastic,” said Reid.

“She did it! That was the first thing that came to my mind was when the Gamecocks won it that year was, she said she was going to do it, and she did it. And they’ve been on that level ever since,” added Muller.