Dawn Staley Thanks The “Basketball Gods” Ahead Of March Madness

Staley’s No. 1 ranked Gamecocks open against first-time dancers Presbyterian.

Dawn Staley has said that “preparation” has earned her South Carolina Gamecocks the favor of the “basketball gods”.

“Sometimes the basketball gods favor that [preparation].

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley talks with her players during a timeout the second half...

Preparation has allowed us to get lucky sometimes. I think our players play free.

They play as if there are no consequences, and that’s a gift and a curse for someone like me. If you have a conversation with [players], it’s like they have short-term memory.

They only think about the winning part of it. They don’t really think about how we won or how we could have lost.

It’s worked for this team thus far.

I don’t know if it’ll work throughout the tournament,” Staley said.

South Carolina, the only undefeated team left at the Division I level and the top overall seed in the women’s tournament, start their March Madness campaign on Friday.

They face first-time dancers Presbyterian in a rematch of a game South Carolina won 99-29 back in December.

However, the team will be without leading scorer Kamilla Cardoso, who is suspended for her role in a fight at the end of the SEC tournament title game.

With South Carolina heavily favored to win, Cardoso will be cleared to return for their second-round game against either North Carolina or Michigan State.

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Elsewhere, the basketball gods aren’t so kind. Virginia Tech star Elizabeth Kitley will miss March Madness due to a torn ACL.

“On March 3rd I suffered a knee injury that is keeping me out of this year’s NCAA tournament.

This is not at all how I anticipated ending this year with my team, but I’m so proud of all of our accomplishments, and I’m excited to see my girls continue to compete.

Thank you to all of Hokie Nation for being so supportive during this tough time.

I’m looking forward to making a strong comeback,” Kitley wrote on Instagram. She is expected to declare for the WNBA Draft after a standout career in Blacksburg.

However, the news is a devastating blow for the four-seed Hokies. Kitley forwent the WNBA Draft last season to play one more year in college.

Becoming the all-time ACC leader in rebounds, Kitley catapulted the Hokies to a historic regular-season title.

However, she missed the conference tournament due to the aforementioned ACL tear. With Kitley gone, it is unlikely that Virginia Tech will make back-to-back appearances in the Final Four.

The Hokies reached that historic benchmark for the first time last year.

Virginia Tech’s tournament begins against Marshall. However, the road back to the Final Four is guarded by a matchup against USC as well as the potential threats of UConn and Ohio State.

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