Tears streamed down Dawn Staley's face as she rejoiced in her South Carolina Gamecocks' victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2024 NCAA women's championship game.

Following their 87-75 triumph at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland on April 7, Staley and her team concluded the season with an impeccable 38-0 record. When ESPN's Holly Rowe inquired about the win, the esteemed coach was so overwhelmed with emotion that she had to pause, bow her head, and wipe away her tears.

"We serve an unbelievable God," she uttered, her voice choking up once more. The 53-year-old continued, expressing their "uncommon faith" and reiterating how immensely proud she was.

She commended her team for executing their game plan, especially after falling short to Iowa in last year's Final Four. Freshman Tessa Johnson's remarkable performance, leading the team with 19 points off the bench, was highlighted. Additionally, star center Kamilla Cardoso's unstoppable play throughout the game, culminating in 15 points and 17 rebounds, earned her the title of the most outstanding player for the 2024 NCAA championship. Cardoso, originally from Montes Claros, Brazil, showcased her dominance on the court.

Reflecting on the journey, Staley acknowledged that endings don't always align with one's desires, recalling last year's disappointment. She particularly empathized with her freshmen players, hoping to alleviate any lingering pain from their previous experience. Staley expressed her profound pride in her team, the fans, and the incredible achievement they had accomplished.

Despite facing obstacles and doubt, Staley emphasized how her team had etched their names in history. According to NBC News, the Gamecocks became the 10th Division I women's basketball team to complete a season undefeated.

During the trophy presentation, Staley delivered more poignant words about her team's triumph and offered praise to Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who scored a game-high 30 points, along with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Despite her outstanding performance, Clark's team fell short, marking the end of her college career without a NCAA championship.

As she raised her arms into the air and basked in the red confetti showering down, Staley once again expressed her gratitude to God for guiding her team back to "the same place in which we had sad tears."

She then highlighted Cardoso's remarkable resilience, playing through a knee injury sustained during the Final Four matchup against NC State, and noted her anticipated selection as one of the top picks in the upcoming WNBA draft on April 15.

"Her teammates did something unprecedented for any player entering the WNBA from our program: they sent her off as a national champion. This is historic for us," she exclaimed.

Continuing a time-honored tradition in sports, Staley announced her plans to head to Disney World to celebrate.

In her closing remarks, the coach extended congratulations to Iowa and gave a special acknowledgment to Clark.

"I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for elevating our sport," she praised. "She carried a significant burden for our sport, and it won't end with her collegiate career but will continue when she becomes the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft. She will elevate that league as well. So, Caitlin Clark, if you're out there, you are one of the greatest of all time in our game. We appreciate you."

While Clark may not have secured the victory, fans can anticipate witnessing more of her remarkable shooting and passing skills in the WNBA. As Staley mentioned, the 22-year-old is expected to be chosen first by the Indiana Fever.

With Cardoso also anticipated to be among the top draft selections, basketball enthusiasts should anticipate future matchups between Cardoso and Clark.