COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team won their second national title in program history over the weekend. Monday, hundreds of fans welcomed the champions home.
Fans were invited for a “welcome home” event Monday afternoon as the South Carolina women’s basketball team returned from Minneapolis following the national championship win.
South Carolina defeated UConn Sunday night to become national champs for the second time in program history and first time since 2017.
Tyra Johnson was one of the many fans in attendance Monday. She said she wanted to make sure she could welcome her ladies home.
“This team means a whole lot to me,” Johnson said.
Tyra Latimer and Savannah Noblitt are juniors at the University of South Carolina. They took time to attend the event Monday. They said they had been following the team all season long.
Latimer said, “I was just on the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s just huge for them to win this.”
Both Noblitt and Latimer say the University of South Carolina is a ‘women’s basketball school’ after the team won their second national title in five years.
Noblitt said watching the team Sunday night win on the big stage made her proud. She said, “I could definitely feel all the emotions watching the game and the players. I felt like I was right there with them. It was amazing.”
Head Coach Dawn Staley, Athletic Director Ray Tanner, UofSC President Harris Pastides and some players spoke to the crowd.
Senior Guard Destanni Henderson, coming off a career game in the championship game, had a message for the fans.
“This national championship isn’t just for everyone here on the stage. It’s for you guys,” Henderson said.
Coach Staley also thanked fans for their support as the Gamecocks have become a perennial powerhouse in the women’s basketball world. The team went wire to wire as the number one team in the country this season.
Staley said, “You all create a home court advantage at home and on the road that’s unmatched. When you rock this building out, you create an energy that brings out the very best of our players each and every time they step on the floor.”
Officials said there will be a championship parade in downtown Columbia in the near future. They are working on finalizing those details.
You can watch the full celebration below: