South Carolina Basketball: Billboards up, MiLaysia Fulwiley is living "every girl's dream" as hometown hero

South Carolina basketball star freshman MiLaysia Fulwiley told Gamecock fans she is "living every girl's dream" as hometown hero.
South Carolina basketball star MiLaysia Fulwiley
South Carolina basketball star MiLaysia Fulwiley / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina basketball knocked off the Iowa Hawkeyes and Caitlin Clark by a score of 87-75 on Sunday to bring home the program's third national championship. The title was special for everyone involved, but Columbia native MiLaysia Fulwiley spoke on Wednesday about how extra special it was for her.

Fulwiley, along with Gamecock center Kamilla Cardoso, worked a shift in a Raising Cane's food truck on Wednesday, preparing some lunch for fans and taking approximately 2342363479 pictures and signing almost as many autographs.

In between all the time with the FAMs (the nickname Dawn Staley and her team have given to the Gamecock Faithful) and the work for Raising Cane's, the two South Carolina basketball stars had a chance to speak to the media.

As a Columbia native (a distinction she shares with post player Ashlyn Watkins), Fulwiley was asked multiple times about her status as a hometown hero who helped deliver a championship to her home school. She lit up as she answered.

"It's every girl's dream," she said. "[Bringing a championship to South Carolina] is why I came here." Fulwiley repeatedly talked about how special the South Carolina basketball fanbase is, capping it off with this memorable quote: "We feel so much love in Columbia where we get supported on the court and even selling chicken."

Though she came off the bench most of the year, the former Keenan High School standout was a major contributor from her first game in garnet and black when the Gamecocks opened their season in Paris, France against Notre Dame. She remembers the game fondly. "In Paris, we put the world on notice," she said through a smile. Cardoso added to Fulwiley's comment, saying that, other than winning the championship and hitting her game-winning 3-pointer in the SEC Tournament semifinal over Tennessee, her team's Parisian domination was her favorite moment of the year.

Fulwiley was one of the top freshmen in the country this season, and she and fellow freshman guard Tessa Johnson were two massive difference-makers off the bench in the National Championship Game. Fulwiley's athleticism and aggressiveness helped ignite the offense when USC was losing early in the game. The hometown hero helped flip the game and bring the title back to Columbia.

After a recent NIL deal with Under Armour's Curry Brand, Fulwiley also has had multiple billboards put up in Columbia to celebrate the Gamecocks' championship and her hometown hero status.

Being from Columbia has positioned Fulwiley with a special perspective on her college career. After Cardoso revealed the hardest part about her impending move to the WNBA being the fact she had to leave Gamecock fans, Fulwiley gave a mature response. #12 told the media in attendance that she is doing her best to "enjoy all four years" of her time playing in front of her hometown fans because "one day, I'll have to leave just like Kamilla."

South Carolina basketball fans don't want to be thinking quite yet about Fulwiley leaving them for the WNBA, but they will be enjoying all four years, too.

Next. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock greats to face off in new arena due to high ticket demand. South Carolina Basketball: Gamecock greats to face off in new arena due to high ticket demand. dark