South Carolina Basketball: Coach Staley predicts big game from freshman superstar against Oregon State

South Carolina basketball coach Dawn Staley predicted a big game against Oregon State for her star freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley.

South Carolina basketball star MiLaysia Fulwiley
South Carolina basketball star MiLaysia Fulwiley / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina basketball guard MiLaysia Fulwiley is a star. The dynamic freshman has already made NIL history, she was the first freshman to win SEC Tournament MVP since Candace Parker, and she has moments where she is the best player on the country's best team.

With limitless range as a shooter and remarkable athleticism, she has only just begun to scratch the surface of what she can be. She is one of the top ballhandlers in women's basketball (regardless of level), and she has a layup finishing package that rivals even her legendary head coach Dawn Staley's game.

She wasn't great against Indiana on Friday, but according to her Hall of Fame coach, Fulwiley has another skill that should have South Carolina basketball fans excited despite the poor performance against the Hoosiers.

Speaking about Sunday's Easter showdown with the Oregon State Beavers in the Elite Eight, Coach Staley said that Fulwiley has a knack for the "bounce back game."

As it turns out, Staley is correct, but she may have undersold her freshman's talent.

Fulwiley had a bit of a clunker against Texas A&M in the Gamecocks' first game of the SEC Tournament. She rebounded with two big-time performances against Tennessee and LSU in which she affected the game in a major way on both ends of the floor, including a 24-point outburst against the Bayou Bengals to clinch the title and her SEC Tournament MVP trophy. She continued that strong play through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, as well.

Back in January, she had a bad game against Missouri. Her next two games, though, saw Fulwiley score 35 points on 13-20 shooting (including 6-9 from behind the 3-point line). She also was a menace on defense against Kentucky and Texas A&M in those two games, swiping the basketball away from her matchup for 4 steals and being downright dominant at times defending the ballhandler.

Her worst game of the year, a 3-minute outing against North Carolina in which Staley benched her, also berthed a strong run from Fulwiley. Over her next four games, #12 scored 52 points on an efficient 19-34 shooting. She also had a 7-rebound performance in that stretch, a 6-assist clinic, and a game in which she logged 4 steals and 3 blocks.

If MiLaysia Fulwiley's history repeats itself, Gamecock fans can expect her to have a really strong showing against Oregon State, just in time to help her team reach their 4th straight Final Four.

The Gamecocks and Beavers will tip off at 1:00 PM EST in Albany, New York. The game will be broadcast on ABC and will be streamable on the ESPN app.

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