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Aug 30, 2013

We are just eight days away from the start of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend for South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley. will bring you an inside look at the events next weekend, but until then, we will bring you a closer look at Staley’s incredible playing career, including her top five career moments next week.

College: University of Virginia (1989-92)

After a standout high school career that brought national player of the year honors, Dawn Staley chose to continue her career at the University of Virginia, playing for Debbie Ryan. It is well known that her four years in Charlottesville yielded a plethora of national accolades – Honda-Broderick Cup Award for Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year (1991); Sports Illustrated Player of the Year (1991); and back-to-back Player of the Year honors (1991, 1992) from Naismith, USBWA, Champion USA and WBCA. For this piece, we took a deeper look at the numbers for the three-time Kodak All-American.

Staley led her team to a four-year record of 113-21 and a .843 winning percentage – a stretch that included three NCAA Final Four appearances, highlighted by a spot in the championship game her junior season (1991). After Virginia was unceremoniously bounced out of the 1989 NCAA Tournament by Tennessee in Staley’s freshman year, the hyper-competitive point guard used that fuel to power her team past the Lady Vols in the 1990 NCAA Tournament Elite 8 to advance to her first Final Four, which was played in Knoxville. The lead-up to that Final Four included a 32-point outing by Staley against Penn State, a program she turned down in favor of Virginia. As a junior, Staley drove her team to the 1991 championship game, where again the Cavaliers squared off with the Lady Vols. Staley’s 28 points in the overtime contest were an NCAA championship game record, and her 11 rebounds helped her become the first Final Four Most Outstanding Player to play for the non-winning team. Staley closed her college career with another trip to the Final Four in 1992 after Virginia closed the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and No. 2 in the USA Today poll. In the four Final Four games in her career, Staley averaged 19.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists.

Staley’s college career included ACC regular-season championships in 1991 and 1992 and ACC Tournament titles in 1990 and 1992. After earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1989, she was tabbed the league’s Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992, going on to be named ACC Female Athlete of the Year both seasons as well.

Forever thought of as the quintessential point guard, Staley did it all at the college level. Her career 2,135 points were the school record until 2010, and she remains second in the category. Staley is second in program history in career assists (729), second in career steals (454) and ninth in career rebounds (772). Her 505 career free throws made is still the UVa record, and the 131 3-pointers made in her career rank eighth. She shot 46.0 percent from the field over her 131 career games to hold ninth place.

Staley was the Cavaliers’ top scorer of the season twice (1988-89, 1989-90) and tied for top rebounder of the season twice as well (1989-90, 1990-91). Her single-season made free throws all rank among the program’s top 15, and she was twice the team’s top free throw percentage shooter. She posted three 30-point games in her career, including a 37-point outing against Wake Forest on Feb. 8 1989, a freshman record and still the fourth-highest point total by a Cavalier. Staley remains the only player in program history to post a triple-double, and she did it twice. She tied the school record with 10 steals against Temple on Nov. 20, 1991, and owns three of the program’s top-eight single-season steals entries, including her 133 in 1991 to come in third.