Oct. 15, 2009
South Carolina women’s basketball hosted Coach Staley’s Season Tip-Off 3-on-3 Tournament at the Basketball Practice Facility Thursday night, packing more than 100 students into the gym. The 32-team tournament played down to the semifinals to set up a Colonial Life Arena showdown between Team Lights Out and Team Cola Capp at halftime of the women’s game against Penn State on Sun., Nov. 22. Gamecock head coach Dawn Staley will buy the spring semester books of the winning team.
“These teams are made up of competitive individuals just like our team,” Staley said. “So, we wanted to bring them out in an environment we all love as an opportunity for them to get to know our players and get excited about women’s basketball this season.”
As the tournament began, athletics director Eric Hyman challenged Staley’s coaching staff to an exhibition game. Hyman tapped academic advisor Al Daniel, a fourth-round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs in 1979, and Jack Easterby to help him battle Staley and assistant coaches Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray. With only one former NBA player on his team, Hyman’s group could not overcome Staley’s collection of three former WNBA and Olympic gold medalists.
The tournament came together with the help of intramural sports director Lauren Martini, who was instrumental in contacting and registering the teams prior to Thursday night. With the widespread interest, Staley anticipates kicking off every season with the same event.