In this installment of MADAMENOIRE’s “Women to Know” series, sports journalist Lauren Mayo and MN’s managing editor Ida Harris shine the spotlight on sports icon Dawn Staley.

Staley is a basketball Hall of Famer who has won three Olympic gold medals with Team USA and been an icon for Black female athletes. In 1994, Staley was named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year at the World Championships and would again win this honor at the 2004 Games in Athens for Team USA. In 1999, Staley was drafted to the WNBA by Charlotte Sting and in 2005 she was traded to the Houston Comets. Staley now serves as the head coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks.

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As a coach, Staley has taken the South Carolina Gamecocks from rocky beginnings into five SEC regular-season championships, six SEC tournament titles, two NCAA National Championships and other victories. As a player, Staley was hard to deny. “Every time she stepped on the court…she always delivered,” says journalist Lauren Mayo, who describes Staley’s performances as “fun and electric.”

“To see how a Black woman can evolve and what she can become, from player to coach, is just a big deal,” says Ida Harris.

Follow the Women to Know series at MadameNoire.com to learn about more Black women who are breaking barriers.

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