Paige Bueckers used as pawn by Dawn Staley to throw shade at Caitlin Clark in calculated video

The official March Madness women’s basketball account thought it was posting a video of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley praising UConn star Paige Bueckers.

But college basketball fans were quick to read between the lines and see the shade thrown at Caitlin Clark in the process.

Clark's 41 points sent Staley's South Carolina home in the 2023 Final...

Caitlin Clark is a sore spot for South Carolina

There is good reason to believe that Staley holds a grudge against Clark, after the Iowa guard scored 41 points to end the Gamecocks’ season in last year’s epic Final Four contest.

Unlike when Staley sat on the fence about whether Caitlin Clark is the GOAT of women’s college basketball, she had no issue putting Bueckers above the rest.

Her specific compliment about Paige’s “efficiency” also seemed to be a dig at Clark. It mirrored a similar comment that LSU coach Kim Mulkey made earlier in the season, when she said: “We don’t have any players shooting 40 times a game like you see around the country.”

A handful of fans highlighted the possible drama in the social media comments.

“Unfortunately Dawn has to use her in a petty effort to troll or take shots at Caitlin. Diminishes everything Paige has accomplished. Be better Dawn,” said a jaded fan of Bueckers on Twitter/X.

“Dawn still stinging from that loss last year, Caitlin is the goat and she is jealous,” another comment theorized. “she wants the attention.”

South Carolina could meet Iowa in NCAA championship game

As the Sweet 16 gets underway, the possibility for the Staley-Clark drama to be settled on the court is still alive, but it could only happen on the biggest stage. If South Carolina advances to the Final Four, it would face one of Texas, Gonzaga, NC State or Stanford in the national semifinal, before a possible Iowa showdown with a trophy on the line.

Meanwhile, Clark’s path back to the title game is a minefield of difficult matchups and emotional narratives. If Iowa beats Colorado in the Sweet 16, Clark could get a chance at long-awaited revenge against 3-seed LSU and Angel Reese, who beat Iowa in last year’s final.

Make it past that challenge, and the winner of Bueckers’ UConn or Juju Watkins’ USC may await Clark in the Final Four. Either would provide a stiff challenge that could match Clark in the backcourt in the other national semifinal.

In other words, a lot would have to go right to give Staley’s Gamecocks a chance to settle the score with the Hawkeyes on the court. No matter how it goes, the drama level is rising as Staley made the Sweet 16 a little more spicy.

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