Two Black women head coaches are making history at this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four. For the first time in the tournament’s history, two Black women coaches, South Carolina’s Dawn Staley and Arizona head coach Adia Barnes, will be leading their teams at the same Final Four.
Following South Carolina’s win over Texas, Coach Staley told reporters she was “super proud of Adia” and “cheering for her to get it done.”
“It was not for any other reason besides us being represented at the biggest stage in women’s college basketball,” Coach Staley said.
This year’s NCAA March Madness exposed gender inequality, as women players posted photos of the difference in equipment, food, and gear they receive compared to that of the men players. Coach Staley expressed the need for representation in sports at all levels.
“...there are so many Black coaches out there that don’t get the opportunity because when ADs [Athletic Directors] don’t see it, they don’t see it –– and they’re going to see it on the biggest stage of a Friday night, that two Black women are representing two programs in the Final Four, something that has never been done before,” she said.
“You know, our history here in women’s basketball is so filled with so many Black bodies that for this to be happening in 2021, to me, is long overdue, but we’re proud. We’re happy,” she added.
Both coaches are former WNBA players. Coach Barnes won a championship title with the Seattle Storm in 2004 and Coach Staley is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, representing the US at the 2004 Summer Games.
On Friday (April 2), Arizona will face off against University of Connecticut. South Carolina will play Stanford.
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