South Carolina’s Dawn Staley will be showing in her third Final Four, profitable the title again in 2017, whereas Adia Barnes and her Arizona crew will make their debut look.
March Madness is the pinnacle of faculty basketball, the place 64 groups — filled with the subsequent era of WNBA and NBA gamers — duke it out in a single-elimination match over two weeks to crown the finest crew. The occasion is understood for massive moments, upsets and nice motion.
Speaking to reporters about the historic feat following South Carolina’s win over Texas, Staley stated she was “super proud of Adia” and was “cheering for her to get it done.”
“It was not for any other reason besides us being represented at the biggest stage of women’s college basketball,” she stated.
“And that’s because there are so many Black coaches out there that don’t get opportunity because when ADs [Athletics Directors] don’t see it, they don’t see it — and they’re going to see it on the biggest stage of a Friday night, that two Black women are representing two programs in the Final Four, something that has never been done before.
“You know, our historical past right here in women’s basketball is so stuffed with so many Black our bodies that for this to be occurring in 2021, to me, is lengthy overdue, however we’re proud. We’re blissful.
“I know my phone is probably full of text messages of Black coaches all across the country, just congratulating us on doing that, on being present, being in the moment, being able to take our programs to this place.”
Both Staley and Barnes are former WNBA gamers — the latter profitable a title with the Seattle Storm in 2004 — and Barnes revealed she has been inundated with messages from former teammates.
On Friday, South Carolina will face Stanford, whereas Arizona will meet UConn.
The two women have guided their respective groups to the Final Four in spectacular vogue, with Staley’s South Carolina comfortably swatting Texas apart in a 62-34 win, whereas Barnes’ Arizona powered previous Indiana in a bruising 66-53 victory.
It additionally means Staley and Barnes are the solely former WNBA gamers to have led groups to the Final Four as head coaches.
“I know Adia utilizes all of her basketball knowledge as a player and she’s been a coach long enough that she’s not just a suit,” Staley stated.
“It’s always going to be part player in us and that’s why our players … we are so relatable to them. They understand it because it’s coming from a place of ‘we’ve done that. We’re trying to help you get to that place where we can have longevity in our league.’
“Representation issues. It’s nothing in opposition to anyone else that misplaced to us, however if you see two Black women representing in this fashion, I hope the resolution makers who — as a result of there are a whole lot of jobs on the market that you just give Black women a chance — not simply give them the job.
“Bring them in. Interview them. If you don’t hire them, let them know why.
“Let them know why so we will proceed to work on and simply perfecting what our craft and our career as a result of there are lots of people on the market that are not getting the alternatives that they need to as a result of that is precisely what can occur if you give a Black girl a chance.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to start bashing me on social media about just hire the most qualified coach. If it was that easy, if it was that easy, there would be more Black head coaches in our game.”
Earlier this month, the NCAA generated backlash over discrepancies between facilities offered to the males’s and women’s basketball groups taking part in March Madness video games.
The 2021 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship sport is scheduled for April 4.
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