That was as close as the Aggies got. "But I am definitely aware I wouldn't be in this seat without her", Gottlieb said. It's not so much her against Virginia, but us on the court taking advantage of the matchups.
Staley downplayed the fact she will be going against her alma mater.
"I don't have any Virginia stuff", Staley said when asked if she's putting away any Wahoo gear this weekend. "I'm really over 25 years removed from it and since Debbie [Ryan] left, I don't have a close relationship with the people [there]". Carolina improved to 12-2 in the NCAA Tournament in games played in Columbia.
Tonight's game pits SC head coach Dawn Staley against her alma mater, Virginia, where she recorded a legendary career in leading the Cavaliers to three NCAA Final Fours while earning ACC Player of the Year honors twice (1991, 1992) and National Player of the Year recognition from Sports Illustrated (1991) and becoming the first NCAA Final Four Most Oustanding Player from the non-championship team. North Carolina A&T packed their players around Wilson, making it near impossible for her to get open looks. She also went on to win three Olympic gold medals as a player.
Staley's focus on the future and lack of nostalgia is so intense that Wilson said Saturday she "completely forgot" that her coach even went to Virginia. Outside of everything she's accomplished as a player, Staley guided the Gamecocks to the program's first national championship last year and they've been to the Final Four two of the last three years.
"It's good to have played against an imposing presence like (McCowan)", Staley said. Aiyeotan is still developing as a polished player and averages 7.6 points and 7 rebounds per game this season, significantly behind Wilson's stats, and that gives SC added confidence.
"She means a lot to this team and to me as well", redshirt junior guard Doniyah Cliney said. She said she likes seeing new places and is used to getting a lot of attention. She's quite busy, but she's earned everything that's come her way.
"It was great to see her knock down shots". And she is all over JPJ and we respect the legacy. "That's our focus. We're not going to make it any bigger than that".
"This is uncharacteristic of a SC women's basketball team performance, and it was very, very disappointing", Staley said. The Cavaliers had five players finish in double figures in their first-round win over California and that is something Staley is concerned with defending.
Staley said one thing will remain true until someone beats the Gamecocks. They're pretty athletic but we have to make them work.
Boyle said with the short turnaround and only one practice day to prepare for SC (27-6), the Cavaliers (19-13) are going to try to focus on what they do best. The other more recent meting was a 66-49 decision for the Cavaliers on their home court on January 2, 2005. Plus, Boyle and her players watched what happened to the Virginia men's basketball team, being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed, and feel like they can use that as motivation for themselves. "We have better basketball in us and surely we're going to have to play it if we want to get out of the second round". "It's crucial for us to protect the paint, keep them off the free throw line and handle our business like we have before".