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Former Temple University women's basketball player not surprised by Dawn Staley's success

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Through tears of joy, Dawn Staley thanked God before raising the NCAA women's basketball championship trophy as head coach of the undefeated University of South Carolina Gamecocks, who took down the Iowa Hawkeyes in Cleveland on Sunday to win the third title of her career. 

With this win over Iowa, Staley now joins only four other women's coaches in winning three national championships in her career. However, one of her former players at Temple University was not surprised.

"She's been cutting down nets for a long time," Shenita Landry, the director of player personnel for Temple University's women's basketball team, said. 

The former Temple power forward played for Staley from 2005 through 2008.

"It was about discipline and doing things at the greatest level," Landry said. 

South Carolina Celebrates 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - APRIL 8: South Carolina coach Dawn Staley raises the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship trophy at a celebration at the Colonial Life Arena on April 8 in Columbia, South Carolina. University classes that were scheduled during the event were canceled. The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-75 to cap a perfect season. Getty Images

Landry loved that Staley also put her faith on full display after Sunday's win.

"This is uncommon favor," Staley said from the podium.

"She's fearless," Landry said. "She's just being honest about her truth and it allows people – no matter who they are and what faith they are or gender – to just live their truth."

It was also beautiful for Devin Jefferson, head coach of the Stockton University women's basketball team in New Jersey. Jefferson, a Black woman, said Staley's moment on the podium was huge for Black women following in her footsteps.

"I just love to see that we as women – as women of color – are doing some good things," Jefferson said. 

Jefferson, who has not met Staley yet, dreams of the day the two coaches could come face to face.

"Seeing her win and be that testimony to all of us is definitely inspiring," Jefferson said. "So, I would definitely tell her, 'Thank you.'"

"I mean, it's just an example of the person she is," Landry, also a Black woman, said as she pointed to a towel hanging in her office with the word "greatness." "It really means a lot. So, I look at it every day and understand that I have to push through no matter what."

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