USC's Staley a finalist for national coach of year

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - South Carolina women's basketball coach Dawn Staley is one of four finalists for the Naismith Women's College Coach of the Year award.

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the finalists on Wednesday.

A unanimous selection for SEC coach of the year by the Associated Press, Staley is the first Gamecock coach to be named a finalist for a national coach of the year award. She was also the SEC coaches' pick for coach of the year as the Gamecocks won the program's first SEC championship and a school-record 14 SEC after being picked to finish fifth in the SEC in preseason voting.

South Carolina rose as high as No. 4 in the top-25 this season, matching the highest mark since January 1982.

On Monday, the Gamecocks earned the first No. 1 seed in program history and will begin play in the Stanford Region of the NCAA Tournament on Sun., Mar. 23, against Cal State Northridge. Tip time is set for 5:30 p.m. ET.