The 2023-23 South Carolina women’s basketball season started on a high note in a historic venue on Monday night in Paris.
Playing in the first ever NCAA game on Parisian soil, the No. 6 Gamecocks routed No. 10 Notre Dame 100-71 behind a comprehensive group effort from their stars and moved to 1-0 in their push for a fourth straight Final Four appearance.
Here’s what coach Dawn Staley had to say about the win, as well as the performances of flashy freshman guard MiLaysia Fulwiley and other players, in her postgame news conference at Halle Georges Carpentier Arena.
On freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley
“I don’t have the gall nor have I ever had to gall to do multiple moves like MiLaysia … I was just a straight behind the back pass (laughs) … That was pretty impressive. She’s pretty special … I said she’s a generational talent and that’s what i meant … she’s special. She’s special in the way that she approaches both sides of the basketball ... I look forward to the future she’ll have with us”
“You can’t help but to feel that as a basketball enthusiast (Fulwiley’s behind the back pass) … There’s not a lot of any players who can do that, male or female … For her to have all of (the skills) and make someone elses job easier? If I’m a big or a guard, I’m gonna have my hands ready … She makes the right play at the right time”
“It’s not hard to see she’s a talent. Incredible athleticism, quick, can shoot the basketball, very unselfish. … I’m happy that she chose to stay home and grace us with her talent and play like she did today. … We talk about her being a gamer and that’s true. … Practice yesterday, she didn’t have a good day. But gamedays bring out the best of her”
On USC’s growth
“I’m happy for our team from the summer, June and July, to now … I really couldn’t foresee it but they really worked extremely hard for each other. This is what happens. The ball sharing was incredible … All our players can shoot so for them to give up a good shot for a better shot time and time again and rotate defensively (is impressive)“
“I know we can get better at those things defensively … They’re not all gonna be 30-point victories but we grew. We grew from the good and the bad of this game”
“It’s Game One, but our team showed a lot of character on both sides of the basketball. We’ve got players who can score 30 points easily like (Te-Hina) Paopao. … I hope people saw that, that we share the basketball and get out and play fast. And I hope people saw we were able to defend and rotate. … And I hope people saw our mistakes, our lapses. … This team is gonna play for each other. This is just an example of what that looks like”
On Kamilla Cardoso
“Kamilla is our dominant post, our dominant big, a great target down there … She missed some layups in first half and then corrected that … I’m proud of Kamilla because Kamilla has worked for this. … She might think the work and practice time she put in aren’t worth it, but now we got some ammunition to give her (as proof). Because we want more. She’s better than 9 for 14 (shooting). We’ll give her some grace today, but we want more buckets”
Where does USC go from here?
“It was really a blank canvas. I told the team we’re gonna be who the habits we displayed from June til now (were). … We practiced well sometimes, not as well sometimes. … I was so happy our execution was at a really high rate. … It gives us something to go on and grow on and continue to learn on. … And (we can) bottle up things we did well, like sharing the basketball, the assists, the chemistry. ... The connection they’re building is really special”