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More of what Dawn Staley said on GamecockCentral Takeover: The next step for MiLaysia Fulwiley

On3 imageby:Wes Mitchell05/14/24

Wes Mitchell

Dawn Staley joins GamecockCentral Takeover Hour on 107.5 The Game

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South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley joined the GamecockCentral Takeover Hour on 107.5 The Game recently as a special guest, speaking on a number of topics about the national champion Gamecocks while also looking ahead to next season.

Below is Part 2 of a transcript of everything the three-time national champion coach had to say during the interview. Click here for Part 1.

On the next step for freshman sensation MiLaysia Fulwiley…

You know, MiLaysia is pretty smart, like truly. Like she knows herself. Well, if we have to, again, reflect on her freshman year, she had a short wik, meaning she can go about three times up and down and she’s done. Like it’s over. She’s trying. But I think conditioning is a big part of what her next part of her journey is.

I do think she, and I try to tell MiLaysia this all the time, because she plays for the highlights because she’s very creative. She’s very gifted. She can do things that no other female that I’ve seen has ever done, female or male, for that sake. But she plays to that. She plays to the crowd and she wants to, you know, she wants to give them something exciting every time down. And so I’m trying to get her to play in between those moments because that’s when most of the game is being played. It is.

So once she’s able to master what’s in between those big highlighted plays, we’ll create more highlights. We’ll create more, not just creative highlights, but fundamental basketball highlights. And that is beautiful basketball — it is.

I thought she grew. I always ask her, like, what were you thinking in this play? It could be a turnover. It could be a shot. Like, one time she started off a game where she was just passing. She was just doing a great job at just making the defense forget about her. And then she took probably a forced shot. Right? So, you know, you take a forced shot, you’re going to hear all of our coaches say, make the extra pass. So she comes out of the game and she heard us saying, make the extra pass. And I asked her, what was she thinking? So she said, I have been passing the entire half. So the defense more than likely thought I was going to pass. So I thought it was best to take the shot. Hey, I mean, that makes sense to me. That makes sense to me.

I mean, so I was like, okay, that makes sense. Cool. And it’s that. Like, she understands what she’s doing out there on the floor. And I think sometimes as a freshman, you think she just isn’t thinking about that, that she doesn’t have that much depth about the game when she really does.

And for her, and I’ll give you guys, because I try to be as transparent as possible and not give up too much information about what they want to do personally. Like I asked her, what do you want to do? What are your plans for next year? What are some of the things that you want to get better at? And she said, ‘You know what? When I came in, I just kind of just wanted to fit in and just get the information that I needed. So I didn’t really challenge to be a starter.’

So I said, ‘Okay, so you’re going to challenge to be a starter?’ She was like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to challenge myself and I’m going to challenge my teammates to be a starter.’ And that’s pretty mature. I mean, that’s the way you actually get, if you look at how she came in, she was feeling things out and now she’s going to take it to the next level. And once she does, she’s going to make us a better team. If she’s a starter, that means she beat somebody out. Although every year we start over. So although we know who we started last year, they should start again this year if they don’t get beat out.

So I’m just looking forward to just everyone being more competitive, everyone working on their games this summer, so we can come in and just be more lean as a team and not just defend — we don’t want to defend our national championship trophy. We want to work towards getting another one. Like I know that’s going to be the narrative for us is, “the defending national champions.” And that’s cool because we are, but we can’t rely on that team and that experience to dictate how we operate in this space in the upcoming season.

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