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'The best atmosphere in college basketball': Carolina fans cheer on Gamecocks for March Madness round one

The Gamecocks won on Friday against Norfolk State as Carolina fans kept the energy high during the day ahead of March Madness round one.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gamecock Nation has been out showing their support for our home team. Fans celebrated all day as they anticipated the win against Norfolk State.

Fans all over Columbia kept their energy levels up as the women’s basketball team played in the first round of March Madness.

"Gamecock Nation is the best atmosphere in college basketball and the best campus and the warmest place to be in March," fan Bobby Lipscomb smiled.

You can feel that Gamecock pride both on and off campus.

"We all root for one thing," student Joey Anderson shared. "So many things divide us now, but we have the women’s basketball team."

Carolina students like Anderson and Mike Stone say cheering for the women’s basketball team unites everyone.

"It's always nice to know that we do have the best team in the nation in at least one sport," Stone said. "We love our women, we love our queens, they’re going to kill it like they do every year and I'm just excited to see them play some good basketball like they always do."

For prospective students like Corin Thomas, the energy is electric.

"The Gamecock pride goes crazy," Thomas shared.

"It’s really exciting!" Catherine Harden, another prospective student, continued. "I get to see everyone’s vibe and see the excitement going around and everyone’s enthusiasm about the team."

The pride is embodied by alums like Rebecca McCroskey, who chose to get married in USC’s horseshoe

"Born and breed Gamecock fans and I went to the law school so it’s of course everything to me, so we keep up with it and there wasn’t a better spot than here," McCrosky told me about why her and her new husband Ian tied the knot on campus.

For Carolina fans, the team’s success is special.

"I think it’s great because it’s something not a lot of other schools get to advertise," student Lucas Gee explained. "Obviously schools at SEC levels talk about their football program, maybe their men’s basketball program and the baseball program so I think it’s very unique to us as well being able to celebrate a team for a sport that might not be as popular nationally but to see everyone get behind them and really enjoy going to those games, watching them succeed. It’s been a really great experience."

"It’s awesome," Caroline Evans, another student, added. "I mean honestly like I know that we joke that we’re a women’s basketball school but we really are proud of it."

"I think it’s waking up especially in this state it’s waking up people's minds to be just as supportive towards women as it is to men," Caitlin Chestler told me.

Dillon Ash is a masters student who attended the game with his mother. Ash says he's feeling lucky about the team's performance.

"Last year I was very confident and I think we’re even better this year so I’m excited to see where we go," Ash shared.

Seniors Hayley Dunn and Seth Hajzus reminiced on their experience during last year's March Madness.

"We ran and we all ran into the fountain and I'm just taking that energy from last year and keeping it this year because no matter what happens, having an undefeated season, our players are doing amazing, Dawn Staley's doing amazing," Hajzus said. "So just having a great season, having that energy take us to March Madness and however it goes is however it goes but it will be a great season."

Lifetime Carolina fans Harry and Janice Brown agreed, but say they're "looking forward to being no. 1 again at the end of the season."

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