South Carolina’s Dawn Staley is revered as one of the best coaches in college basketball, but Saturday she exemplified she’s one of the most honorable as well.
Staley’s squad was blowing out UCLA, 46-30, late in the third quarter when Bruins forward Emily Bessoir was hurt while battling with Gamecocks forward Aliyah Boston for a rebound. Bessoir fell to the ground and began rolling in pain, giving the Gamecocks a five-on-four advantage in transition.
The referees did not grant UCLA an injury timeout, but Staley did. Instead of pushing the ball for an easy bucket, Staley called a timeout so Bessoir could get some assistance. Bruins coach Cori Close had nothing but praise for the move after her team’s 59–43 loss in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA tournament.
“That’s exactly what it showed: her class and her global view of the game and what was most important in that moment,” Close said, per The State. “She did call that timeout only because of Emily being down. Right after the play, I just turned to her and I just said, ‘Thank you, Dawn,’ and she acknowledged it.”
South Carolina’s dominant win earned it a date with Maryland on Monday at 7 p.m. ET in the Elite Eight. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.