While Dawn Staley was not thrilled about South Carolina’s Final Four loss to Iowa on Friday, the legendary coach was also not happy about the ongoing negative labels attached to her basketball program.
Prior to Friday’s game, Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder referenced someone who described going up against the Gamecocks for rebounds was like “going to a bar fight.” Staley did not take kindly to those remarks. After Friday’s defeat, she addressed the stereotypes regarding her team’s physicality and style of play, something that has been a topic of discussion the entire season.
“We’re not bar fighters,” Staley said, per the Greenville News. “We’re not thugs. We’re not monkeys. We’re not street fighters. I do think that that’s sometimes brought into the game, and it hurts.”
The discussion about the Gamecocks’ approach to the game took center stage when UConn head coach Geno Auriemma criticized South Carolina’s physicality following the Huskies’ loss to the Gamecocks in February, saying he was “sick of it.”
However, Staley has remained true to her coaching philosophy. Revealing that she got word of several national media members making comments that she suggested were impolite and rude, she has no intention of changing her coaching style for anyone.
“You may not like how we play the game, you may not like it, that's the way we play,” Staley said. “That’s the way I coach. … I’m not changing. We found success in it, and maybe some days like today, we end up on the losing side of the stick. But guess what? We live to see another day. We live to see the comeback next year and try to do this again because I'm not changing.”