Gamecocks believe they can stun UConn in Elite Eight showdown
The Elite Eight showdown everyone was hoping for when the NCAA women's bracket came out is now happening.
Number one and undefeated powerhouse UConn taking on the reigning national champions South Carolina. In a way, it's a shame this match-up is happening at this point in the tournament. It has the storylines and the feel of a Final Four or a national championship.
UConn undoubtedly comes in as the heavy favorite. They've won 11 national championships in their program's history and haven't lost all season long. The Huskies are full of an obviously talented roster, but they win many games before tip-off even happens. Many opponents immediately feel defeated when they see UConn on the other end of the court.
South Carolina is trying to have a different mentality. If they want to pull off the upset and stun the UConn Huskies in Monday night's showdown, they have to believe they belong on the court with the Huskies.
"When you step foot on the court, you have to believe in yourself," Gamecock senior A'ja Wilson said. "You have to have that will to just go out there and, by any means necessary, give it your all for forty minutes and that's what it's gonna take."
The Gamecocks were in a similar situation just weeks ago in the SEC championship. South Carolina took on top-seeded Mississippi State, also undefeated at the time, and came away with the win for their fourth tournament title in a row.
Staley said the game plan then was to keep the score close and to make the Bulldogs uncomfortable and that Monday night has got to be similar if they have any chance to advance to the Final Four.
"UConn is used to playing ahead," Staley said. "If we can play even or get a lead, I think it helps our psyche. It'll hopefully do something to theirs."
At the end of the day, the game still has to be played and the Gamecock players have the mindset of not being intimidated by UConn when the refs blow the whistle.
"They're just regular basketball players just like us," point guard Ty Harris said. "Anything can happen. It's just having heart and just who wants it more than the other team."
(1)UConn and (2)South Carolina tip-off at 7 pm on Monday night on ESPN.