Staley objected to that characterization after the game, saying, “We’re not bar fighters. We’re not thugs. We’re not monkeys. We’re not street fighters. This team exemplifies how you need to approach basketball on the court and off the court. I do think that’s sometimes brought into the game. And it hurts.”
On Friday, Boston was frustrated by two fouls in the first quarter that forced her to the bench for the remainder of the half. Afterward, she said that with opposing teams, “there’s always the agenda of we are so physical; we can take the aggression. So I think that was being let go a lot.”
It is one reason, Staley said, that she would encourage Boston to skip her final season of college eligibility and go to the WNBA, where she would likely be the No. 1 draft pick and would encounter less restricting defenses.
“There are defenses that are playing against her that won’t allow her to play her game,” Staley said of Boston. “It’s hard to officiate that. So I would tell her to go. She’s great. She’s ready to see single coverage .”
On Saturday, Boston declared her intention to play professionally and enter the WNBA draft. “I am truly breathless as I make the next best decision of my life,” she said on twitter.
Despite Friday’s premature ending to South Carolina’s season, it has become clear how impactful Staley has been on college basketball, with her coaching and her voice for racial and gender equity. South Carolina will not immediately hang a third championship perificant banner, but, a statue of Staley — a Black woman — is planned across the street from the South Carolina statehouse, on whose grounds a Confederate battle flag flew for decades until 2015.
A statue in that location would be “monumental,” said Judge Clifton Newman, who gained widespread attention in presiding over the recent Alex Murdaugh murder trial and who regularly attended South Carolina games. It would be an acknowledgment, among other things, he said in an interview, of the change that has come to South Carolina and other Southern states with histories of racial tolerance.
“It’s not something anyone should allow to cause limitations in your aspirations or your ability to achieve,” Judge Newman said.