Former University of South Carolina Aiken women's basketball standout Meredith Legg Stapleton has died after a long battle with cancer. She was 26 years old.
We talked to USC Aiken women's basketball coach Mike Brandt Monday afternoon. Brandt coached Legg while she was with the Pacers from 2005 to 2009. Brandt says "you're not going to find a better competitor or a better person." Legg is the leading scorer in USC Aiken women's basketball history.
You can hear more from Brandt in the video above, and WJBF's John Hart provides some perspective as well. Hart was the Sports Director at WJBF during Legg's playing career at USC Aiken and interviewed her numerous times. He also talks about a great story involving her love of North Carolina basketball. When doctors told her she had a month to live in late January, she made it her goal to attend the Tar Heels game against rival Duke. She made it to that game on February 20th (it was delayed because of a snowstorm), and she watched her favorite team pull off the upset. You can read more about her trip to that game and the final weeks of her life at goheels.com.
USC Aiken's sports information director issued the following press release Tuesday afternoon about Legg's passing:
The University of South Carolina Aiken women's basketball team and the entire basketball community suffered a tragic loss Monday after the passing of former standout and Hall of Fame member Meredith Legg Stapleton.
"Meredith was the student-athlete that you dreamed about recruiting to your program," head coach Mike Brandt said. "She had everything you wanted both on and off the court. She had skills, was a great student and most importantly a wonderful person.
"Watching Meredith grow and mature into a young woman was a blessing to me. She carried her competitiveness, fight, attitude and strong will right off the court and onto the battle field as she competed with cancer. The Pacer family will truly miss Meredith and we appreciate the fact that she was a major part in taking our program to a level never achieved before."
Legg Stapleton was a member of the USC Aiken women's basketball program from 2005-09. She is the USC Aiken women's basketball career leader in scoring (1,480), three-point field goals made (311), three-point field goals attempts (764), free throw percentage (.882) and three-point field goal percentage (.407).
The guard currently holds the USC Aiken single-season record for consecutive free throws made (45) and best three-point field goal percentage (.475) as she made 76-of-160 during the 2006-07 season. Her uncanny accuracy placed her third nationally in three-point field goal percentage.
Legg Stapleton owns the Peach Belt Conference mark for free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage and most consecutive free throws made. She tied the PBC record for most three-pointers in a single game when she drilled 10 in a Jan. 2, 2009 victory over Shaw.
Legg Stapleton was a two-time all-Peach Belt Conference selection (2007-08 and 2008-09). She was named to the PBC All-Academic team after the 2008-09 campaign.
During the 2007-08 season, Legg Stapleton was selected to the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Three team. She was also named to the Daktronics all-region team for her efforts on the court that same season.
Legg Stapleton was selected as the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week three times in her career (Jan. 21, 2008, Jan. 5, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2009).
The Huntersville, N.C., native attended Hopewell H.S. before enrolling at USC Aiken. She graduated with a degree in business administration.
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