Staley talks about the season opener in an interview on Wednesday | South Carolina

COLUMBIA – Dawn Staley revealed some news during an interview Wednesday on 107.5 FM.

Their national champion Gamecocks have a 2024-25 season opener, albeit against an opponent yet to be determined.

“We’re going to play in Vegas,” she said. “Hopefully we can get a big plane, take some (fans) and some donors and make it a great trip for everyone. Hopefully you are responsible and don't gamble away all your money…

“But we’re going to Vegas.”

USC opened the season against Notre Dame in Paris last year. Las Vegas hosted the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Series on November 6 last year with a mix of men and women. The women's games were dominated by the defending champion and preseason no. 1 LSU vs. Colorado as well as Ohio State and Southern Cal highlighted. with standout freshman Juju Watkins.

LSU was upset, leaving the Gamecocks in first place in the rankings. It was the only week in the last three seasons that USC did not finish in first place.

These games were played at T-Mobile Arena, home of the WNBA's Las Vegas Aces. The Aces, led by USC graduate A'ja Wilson, are reigning WNBA champions and will play a preseason game on May 11 in Columbia.

The opponent for the Vegas game is unknown. “The opponent we were supposed to play is not going to play us anymore for one reason or another,” Staley said.

That was another topic Staley touched on that has been popular since the Gamecocks became one of the elite teams in women's college basketball. USC has a hell of a time finding opponents every season because no one wants to play them.

Nobody wants to be beaten.

“I really don't understand it. It won't hurt you to play against us. It just helps you (in the NET rankings),” Staley said. “By continuing to play (Connecticut), we figured some things out.”

The Gamecocks have faced Connecticut every season since 2015 and the first six games of the series were all UConn wins, most of them by elimination and the closest margin of victory was 11 points. But USC broke through in 2020, winning five of its last six games against the Huskies, including the 2022 national championship game.

Anna Harden

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