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March 18, 2015


COLUMBIA, S.C. – After earning a second-consecutive SEC regular-season championship and capturing the program’s first SEC Tournament crown, South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley is one of four finalists for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Staley was a finalist for the award last year as well, earning distinction as the first Gamecock coach to be a finalist for a national coach of the year award.

Long known as a defensive coach, Staley has this season’s team ranked among the nation’s top 25 in scoring at 75.5 points per game and sixth in field goal percentage (.477) while still among the top-10 defenses, yielding just 52.6 points per game. She has improved South Carolina’s overall and SEC win totals every year of her career, including this season’s program-record 15 SEC victories. Staley joined Pat Summitt (Tennessee in 2003 and 2004) and Joe Ciampi (Auburn 1988 and 1989) as the only SEC coaches to repeat as league Coach of the Year earlier this month, sharing this season’s honor with Mississippi State’s Vic Schafer after earning the award outright last year.

Staley joins UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Princeton’s Courtney Banghart and Florida State’s Sue Semrau on the list of finalists. The winner will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Fla.

The Gamecocks (30-2) earned the No. 1 seed in the Greensboro Region and will face 16th-seeded Savannah State (21-10) on Fri., March 20, at 5 p.m. ET, at Colonial Life Arena in the NCAA Tournament opening round. Purchase tickets by calling 1-800-4SC-FANS, visiting the Colonial Life Arena box office during regular business hours or going online at General admission seating is available for $17.50 (adult) for the first round (both games) and $20 (adult) for the second round. Youth, University faculty/staff and group pricing is also available. Booklets for the entire weekend are available for $36 and include a general admission ticket for each round.