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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

BGSU vs South Carolina takeaways: Staley’s starpower shines bright for all to see inside Stroh

Dawn+Staley+and+Fred+Chmiel+embrace+pregame
Drake Harlett
Dawn Staley and Fred Chmiel embrace pregame

Most people could reasonably predict that going into Tuesday night, Bowling Green women’s basketball had a very tough hill climb to try and even stay within striking distance of the number one team in the nation, the South Carolina Gamecocks.

But you know what, as someone who was at that game, the crowd did not feel any pressure, show any rivalry-esque passion, or even playfully harrass the Gamecocks during the 40 minutes.

What did it feel like?

Pure enjoyment of what basketball is and has always been- an artform.

“It’s big for women’s basketball, it’s big for Stroh,” said senior Morgan Sharps. “I mean we had a great crowd out there and I think that only makes people want to watch women’s basketball and watch our team even more.”

Tuesday night was also a night for reunions; Curt Miller, Zia Cooke back to northwest Ohio, Fran Voll, you name it.

But the headline reunion was amongst the head coaches- Fred Chmiel and Dawn Staley.

“It’s like seeing relatives that you haven’t seen in years,” said Chmiel. “It’s a little bittersweet because you used to see them every single day. I saw them more than than I saw her (Chmiel’s daughter Ivy), but it’s about your journey, it’s about a different lifestyle for her and coming to the great state of Ohio.”

Chmiel spent eight seasons as an assistant coach under Staley at South Carolina, and based on everything he did while with the Gamecocks, Staley knew that he was the right guy for the job at BGSU.

“Fred’s just a great guy,” said Staley. “He’s a smart coach, disciplined, high energy, and is going to do very well here.”

Here. Bowling Green. The home of a mid-major, hosting on Tuesday night a national championship-caliber team in the regular season.

It’s nearly unheard of in today’s world of collegiate athletics to see a power five team travel to a mid-major school, let alone the NUMBER ONE program in the country do so.

But that is what Dawn Staley is about- giving teams a platform and elevating the game and it’s teams.

“I know that this place (Stroh Center) is electric,” said Staley. “I knew that it was sold out and there were some promotions. I’m happy to see the community support this team. I know some of it was due to us coming here, it’s a loud place to play that is super supportive, but if you pour into the team, the team will definitely bring more championships like they have.”

For Chmiel, getting his team to play against the caliber of opponent that South Carolina is was something that he knew was going to be a struggle to put it mildly, but for him, it’s about continuing to create a culture.

“Coming into this game, we had to pick our poison,” said Chmiel. “We had to choose what we wanted to give up because you can’t take everything away from a team like that.

“We’re going to play through the final second of the game regardless of what the score is on the scoreboard. We do that in practice, we don’t tone it down for anything, all gas no breaks.”

So while the scoreboard reflected a lopsided 93-62 win for South Carolina, all the fans seemingly cared about was watching the game for what it was- the game.

It also helps seeing a superhero in women’s basketball up close, making fans appreciate the game even more, and making the night even that more special.

“Thank you to Coach Staley, thank you to the University of South Carolina for you know eight great years,” said Chmiel. “Thank you for extending yourself to come to the Stroh and make an incredible atmosphere here, give the fans a glimpse into the number one team in the country.”

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

 

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