The 2017 national championship-winning University of South Carolina women's basketball team, along with head coach Dawn Staley, were honored at the State House on April 25, 2017.
The ceremony in the State House culminates nearly a month of festivities honoring the Gamecocks for defeating Mississippi State 67-55 for their first-ever national championship. Days after winning the title on April 2, the women's basketball team was honored with a parade in downtown Columbia.
Head coach Dawn Staley relived the win and told lawmakers during the joint assembly Tuesday that the removal of the Confederate battle flag from State House grounds represented a similar type of courage. The removal lifted a prohibition on NCAA tournament play in the state. Staley said that move fueled the momentum for the team by allowing them to play two first-round games at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia.
"I will never forget when I received word that Governor Haley set the wheels in motion to remove the flag from State House grounds," Staley said. "I know the real work happened here. You tackled an issue that was weighed down by history and marred by controversy. You put differences aside and worked together to craft a bill that led to the removal of the flag. You did it for the right reasons."