Sep 3, 2013
Four days away from the start of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend for South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley, GamecocksOnline.com is counting down her top five on-court memories.
Defeating NC State in Triple Overtime, Jan. 12, 1991
It was early in what would be a pivotal season for Dawn Staley’s Virginia Cavaliers. The team had lost just once in 14 games and was just two games into what would eventually end up an undefeated ACC slate, just the third in ACC history. As the Cavaliers traveled to Raleigh to take on the reigning regular-season champion NC State Wolfpack, it was a top-five matchup with Virginia at No. 2 in the polls and NC State coming in at No. 3 in the Associated Press poll. The battle lived up to the billing.
The Wolfpack took the early edge at home, taking a 49-40 lead into the locker room at halftime. The lead ballooned to 21 points early in the second half, leading Virginia head coach Debbie Ryan to tell her players, “Now we can just play.”
Antagonized by their coach’s statement, Virginia just played, making decisive play after decisive play to close the gap and eventually tie the game to send it to overtime. Each team scored 11 points in each of the first two overtimes, and the game seesawed back and forth in the third OT. NC State has what appeared to be the final possession with just under 13 seconds to play, but Tonya Cardoza atoned for her travel that had ended the Cavaliers’ previous possession by intercepting a long pass and turning it into a layup on the other end to deliver the 123-120 victory.
The game, which still owns the ACC record for most points by two teams and most points by a losing team, saw Staley record her first career triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists, becoming just the second player in ACC history to achieve the feat despite fouling out of the contest in regulation time. She went on to post a second triple-double effort that season, a 23-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist outing against the same Wolfpack team on Feb. 23 (a 95-78 win in Charlottesville).
The two teams included six All-ACC selections, including two multiple All-Americans in Staley and NC State’s Andrea Stinson, who were later named among the ACC’s Top 50 Female Athletes of All-Time (2006). Six of the players would go on to play in the WNBA as well. While the Cavaliers claimed the ACC regular-season title, the Wolfpack claimed the tournament championship after Clemson’s upset of Virginia in the semifinals prevented a third meeting between the two programs that season.