South Carolina’s Dawn Staley aims to give 2022 women’s championship net to Black journalists

South Carolina’s Dawn Staley aims to give 2022 women’s championship net to Black journalists

USA News

Another year, another netlace.

The net was cut down by the South Carolina Gamecocks on Sunday after dominating the floor in Minneapolis against UConn to secure the national championship.  

In traditional fashion, the net-cutting ended with coach Dawn Staley wearing the remainder as a necklace. But this year, Staley wants the netlace to represent something more than a title game win.

Staley shared that she wishes to find Black journalists who have elevated the game and send a piece of the net to them.

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“I just think just moving forward, like the net is going to represent something, something in our game, something that will advance our game,” Staley said after winning her second national championship. “I’ve been thinking, some of our Black male coaches, they don’t get opportunity, and I’m also going to – I’m going to take it a step further, some of our Black journalists don’t get an opportunity to elevate. So we’re going to try to cut this net up, give them a piece of it, and just hope that it will be something that they can utilize to advance in the area that their heart desires to in their field.”

When Carolyn Peck became the first Black woman head coach to win a women’s basketball title in 1999, Peck gave a piece of the net to Staley in 2015 under one condition: when Staley wins her first title, she must also pass her net

In 2017 when the Gamecocks took down Mississippi State, Staley made good of her promise, passing along a piece of the net to every Black woman head coach in Division 1 women’s basketball.

“I got my 2017 piece of the net that I had in my pocket while coaching,” Staley told reporters. “I actually had it at the start of our NCAA Tournament in the first and second round. I just had it in a mesh bag hanging off of my backpack, and I just chose today to bring it out and just to have with me throughout the game.”

Contact Analis Bailey at aabailey@usatoday.com or on Twitter @analisbailey.

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