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Dawn Staley's Gamecocks give her a pleasant homecoming

Mike Jensen, STAFF WRITER

Updated: Thursday, December 21, 2017, 9:18 PM

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and her team celebrate after their victory over Temple.

Dawn Staley brought her defending NCAA champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks, to the Liacouras Center on Thursday night, Staley’s first time coaching on North Broad Street since she was in charge of the Owls. Her current team showed a lot of reasons why South Carolina won that national title, taking Temple out, 87-60.

South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. During a pregame reception, Staley handed small replicas of the national championship trophy to her former Temple players and staff. Shanea Cotton, left, who player for her in 2007-08 hugs her on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Dawn Staley, left, greets her former Temple player Candice Dupree at a pregame reception. South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Dawn Staley, left, greets her former Temple player Candice Dupree at a pregame reception. South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. During a pregame reception, Staley handed small replicas of the national championship trophy to her former Temple players and staff. Former player, Athena Christoforakis, left, hugs her on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, left, made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Former Temple player Shanea Cotton gives her a big hug on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Dawn sits with legendary Temple Coach John Chaney during a pregame reception on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley points to someold friends as she made her return to Temple University where she first coached. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, center, high-fives her players as they come off the court after warm-ups. Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, 3rd from left. made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Her staff and team stand hand-in-hand during the National Anthem on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She watches the game from the sideline on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, right, made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She instructs her team from the sidelines on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She instructs her team from the sidelines on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, center, made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She instructs her team from the sidelines on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Staley talks with her team during a timeout on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Dawn Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. She carries one of her children as she walks to mid-court. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Candice Dupree, 2nd from right, is kissed by her partner DeWanna Bonner, right, as they watch the banner with Candice�s retired number unveiled at halftime. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Dawn Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Candice Dupree, right, waves to the crowd during the ceremony to retire her number. South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Candice Dupree, left, is congratulated by Dawn Staley after the ceremony to retire her number. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Dawn Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Candice Dupree is congratulated by Lisa Boyer, who was an assistant coach at Temple and now is the assistant head coach at South Carolina, after the ceremony to retire Candice�s number. Former Temple great Candice Dupree, who played under Dawn Staley, became the second female Temple player to have her number retired during a halftime ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She waves to the crowd after their victory on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She and her team huddle after their victory on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She and her team huddle and celebrate after their victory on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley made her return to Temple University where she first coached. She and her team huddle and celebrate after their victory on Dec. 21, 2017. CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Photo Gallery: Dawn Staley's Victorious Homecoming

At halftime, Temple great Candice Dupree, a six-time WNBA all-star and two-time world champion, had her Owls number retired. Dupree, who scored 1,698 points and was a two-time Big Five player of the year, talked before the game about how an Owls assistant coach used to have her touch her heart and point to the rafters before every game, that it took her a long time to figure out why he did that.

Dupree (2002-06), part of three conference title winners, is the second Temple women’s player to have her number hanging from those rafters, joining Marilyn Stephens (1980-84). The ceremony was scheduled for this game since Dupree played for Staley, who joined her for the ceremony.

South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson is a favorite for national player of the year. In the first minute, Temple (8-4) left the 6-foot-5 senior open outside and Wilson buried a three-pointer. By the end of the first quarter, Wilson had 10 points, Temple had 9 and the fourth-ranked Gamecocks (11-1) were up by 17. Before halftime, the margin had stretched to 44-16. Wilson finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 blocks.

Mike Jensen, STAFF WRITER

Read full story: Dawn Staley's Gamecocks give her a pleasant homecoming

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