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DAWN STALEY’S WOMEN’S HOOPS SQUAD EARNS TOP NATIONAL  RANKING 

By FITSNEWS  ||  While the University of South Carolina men’s basketball team looks to get things on track this season, the school’s women’s squad has reached the top of the pyramid.

Head coach Dawn Staley‘s Gamecocks are the No. 1 team in America according to the latest Associated Press poll – the first time the program has ever achieved the top national ranking.

“I feel really good about what our team has been able to accomplish,” Staley said. “This is not a goal that we had set, but it is a part of our journey.”

South Carolina – coming off of a 29-5 season and SEC regular season championship – entered the 2014-15 season ranked No. 2 in the nation.  That matched the program’s previous best ranking – held for three weeks during the 1982-83 season.

Led by reigning SEC Player of the Year Tiffany Mitchell and reigning SEC Freshman of the Year Alaina Coates, Staley’s team is off to a 3-0 start this season.

After beginning her career at South Carolina with a 10-18 record during the 2008-09 season, Staley’s teams have gotten better each year.  In fact the Philadelphia native (and former WNBA star) has won at least 25 games in each of her past three seasons at South Carolina.

After winning three Olympic gold medals and making six WNBA All-Star squads, Staley started her coaching career at Temple in 2000.  In eight seasons, she posted a 172-80 mark – winning the Atlantic 10 tournament championship four times and making the NCAA tournament six times.

She’s currently 124-71 in her seventh season at South Carolina – where her team’s crowds have outdrawn the men’s basketball crowds in recent years (and with good reason).

Anyway, props to Staley and her team …

Pic: Travis Bell Photography