Watch CBS News

Philadelphia native Dawn Staley wins 3rd national championship at South Carolina in victory over Iowa

Winning ticket for $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot sold in Oregon | Digital Brief
Winning ticket for $1.3 billion Powerball jackpot sold in Oregon | Digital Brief 03:34

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia native Dawn Staley won her third NCAA women's basketball championship on Sunday as the University of South Carolina defeated Caitlin Clark and the University of Iowa, 87-75, at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. 

Staley and the Gamecocks finished the season 38-0, becoming the 10th undefeated team in women's basketball history to have a perfect season. Staley accomplished the feat with five new starters after the team's season ended in the Final Four in 2023. 

With the victory, Staley became the fifth women's basketball coach to win three national championships in her career. She joins Geno Auriemma, Pat Summitt, Kim Mulkey and Tara VanDerveer.

Since Staley left Temple University to become the head coach of the Gamecocks in 2008, she's turned them into a national women's basketball powerhouse. In the past three seasons, Staley has helped South Carolina earn a 109-3 record, including another national championship in 2022. 

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - National Championship
CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 07: Head coach Dawn Staley of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates after beating the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament National Championship at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on April 07, 2024 in Cleveland, Ohio. Iowa beat South Carolina 87-75. / Getty Images

Freshman guard Tessa Johnson led the way for South Carolina in the win with 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Senior center Kamilla Cardoso also had a massive game for the Gamecocks and had a double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive glass. 

Following the national championship win, Staley was overcome with emotion on the TV broadcast during an interview. 

"We serve an unbelievable God," Staley said. 

Dawn Staley shouts out Caitlin Clark

Clark did everything she could to make the Hawkeyes national champs against South Carolina on Sunday. She finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists. 

Following the game, Staley gave Clark a shout-out on the TV broadcast after she and the Gamecocks were crowned champions. 

"I have to congratulate Iowa on an incredible season," Staley said. "Also, I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport. She carried a heavy load for our sport and it's just not going to stop here on the collegiate tour. But when she's the number one pick of the WNBA draft, she's going to lift that league up as well. So Caitlin Clark if you're out there, you are one of the GOATs of our game and we appreciate you."

In the 2023 NCAA women's tournament, Clark and the Hawkeyes handed Staley and the Gamecocks a 77-73 loss in the Final Four. 

Clark had 41 points in that game and drilled five 3-pointers before falling to Louisiana State University in the national championship.

"Making North Philly and Temple proud"

Staley grew up in North Philly at the Raymond Rosen Homes housing project. She attended Dobbins Tech High School before playing at the University of Virginia and the WNBA. After Staley won her first national championship at South Carolina in 2017, the city named part of Diamond Street near where she grew up "Dawn Staley Lane."

Staley also coached Temple's women's basketball team from 2000-08 before heading to South Carolina. 

Temple made sure to give the former Owls coach a shout-out on X following her third national title. 

"Making North Philly and Temple proud," the university wrote. 

The Philadelphia Phillies also congratulated Staley on X. 

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James wrote on X: "Protect Dawn Staley AT ALL COST!! No if, ands or buts!"

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker even congratulated Staley after winning her third title. 

"Coach Staley is North Philly's Finest and all of Philly says Congratulations, Coach!!'" she wrote in part on X

The Roots also gave Staley a shout-out on Instagram following the game. 

"Congrats to Philly's own @staley05 on her THIRD NCAA Championship 🥂," the hip-hop group wrote

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.