Thousands Come Out to Praise the National Champion Gamecocks

Dawn Staley praises fans, the school, the city, and the Lord for the national title.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Columbia Sunday to pay respects to the national champion South Carolina Gamecock woman's basketball team.

The team and coaches began a slow-moving procession down Main Street toward the State House. Along every block of the route, they found thousands of fans who wanted a glimpse--and perhaps to get a picture--of the glimpse of them. 

About 50 minutes later, they made their way onto a platform in front of the State House, where they were given praise--and in turn, got a chance to give back praise to fans. 

"Take a bow!" USC Athletics Director Ray Tanner exclaimed as he ticked off all of the team's accomplishments one by one. 

The Gamecocks have won four straight SEC regular season titles, have made the Final Four two of the last three years, and have won the national title. It rivals or exceeds Tanner's own run with the baseball team at the start of the decade. 

PHOTOS: Gamecock National Championship Celebration

"No one outside this state believed we would be standing here right now," Head Coach Dawn Staley said. "My cup is running over!"
 
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin told her during the ceremony that a portion of Lincoln Street near the Colonial Life Arena has been named in her honor.
 

 
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had front row seats to the Masters golf tournament, but gave them up to attend USC's parade.

"You are part of what makes this conference great," Sankey said. "all of that is the culmination of the support by this great university."

PHOTOS: USC Women's National Championship Parade

Former players joined the current Gamecock stars on stage. And while this was a celebration of what happened just one week ago, star A'ja Wilson, who'll return for her senior season, is already looking toward the future. 

"We're trying to bring another one back next year," she said.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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