Dawn Staley has produced unbelievable results since taking over the helm at South Carolina. Unfortunately, a bid for back-to-back national titles and an undefeated season were squashed Friday night.

Facing Iowa in the Final Four, South Carolina was unable to corral Hawkeye star Caitlin Clark as she dropped a national semifinal record of 41 points. The Gamecocks did dominate the offensive glass with 26 offensive rebounds but that was not enough as Aliyah Boston battled foul trouble and a 2-for-9 shooting night in the loss.

After the loss, Staley was asked by a member of the media about the perception of South Carolina as “bullies” by other coaches in women’s college basketball. Staley responded with what she called “the truth” about her team.

“The truth about our team? That’s a good question,” said Staley. “We’re not bar fighters. We’re not thugs. We’re not monkeys. We’re not street fighters.

“This team exemplifies how you need to approach basketball on the court and off the court. And I do think that that’s sometimes brought into the game, and it hurts. And I do think that some of — I’m going to say it because I said I was going to say it whether we lost or whether we won: Some of the people in the media, when you’re gathering in public, you’re saying things about our team, and you’re being heard, and it’s being brought back to me. And these are the people that write nationally for our sport.

“So you can not like our team and you can not like me. But when you say things that you probably should be saying in your home on the phone or texting out in public and you’re being heard, and you are a national writer for our sport, it just confirms what we already know. So watch what you say when you’re in public and you’re talking about my team in particular.”

Staley continued on to criticize some members of the media for saying things in public gatherings about the Gamecock program. While she did not reference anything specifically, Staley did claim some of the comments were made as recently as Thursday in a gathering for the Final Four:

“Just watch what you say about our team because it’s wrong. You’ve got young lives who are really — if you really knew them, if you really knew them, like you really want to know other players that represent this game, you would think differently,” Staley said. “So don’t judge us by the color of our skin. Judge us by how we approach the game.

“And you may not like how we play the game, you may not like it, that’s the way we play. That’s the way I coach. I’m not changing. We found success in it, and maybe some days like today, we end up on the losing side of the stick. But guess what? We live to see another day. We live to see the comeback next year and try to do this again because I’m not changing.

“I’m not changing, but I hear you. I hear you. I hear you because I do have friends in the media. Whether you believe it or not, I do have some friends in the media.

“So those of you who were at whatever event you were at that was nearby this arena yesterday, you were heard. You were overheard talking about our team.”