COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – For a few hours Wednesday night, the streets of downtown Columbia were a sea of Garnet and Black.
Thousands of fans lined Main Street for a parade celebrating the University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball team.
The Gamecocks won their second national championship in program history on April 3 in Minnesota, beating the UConn Huskies.
Somoan Johnson wasn’t surprised to see so many people out for the celebration Wednesday.
“Who doesn’t love Dawn Staley and the girls?” said Johnson.
Players and coaches rode down Main Street to the South Carolina State House. Fans packed the grounds there for a ceremony.
State and city officials honored Head Coach Dawn Staley and the players for their accomplishments.
“How much you love us, really resonates with me,” Staley told the crowd.
In the crowd Wednesday night were Angela and Miranda Barron. They drove down from Charlotte for the parade.
Angela said they weren’t going to miss it. “The feeling was such elation and happiness and everyone was proud. It was awesome.”
Miranda, who also plays basketball, said they really appreciate everything Coach Staley and the team have done for women’s sports and women in general.
“It feels so good to see women celebrated in this way and for all the support and how far we’ve come,” she said.
The Gamecocks went wire-to-wire as the number one ranked team this season. Wednesday night was a coronation of sorts.
But Staley and others couldn’t help but look ahead to next season.
They said all the fans should plan to be back for a parade next April.
“Let’s run it back,” Staley told the crowd who responded with a round of cheers and applause.