Home Sports Dawn Staley vs. Kim Mulkey

Dawn Staley vs. Kim Mulkey

Written by Tim Hoffstaetter

On Sunday, March 10th the SEC hosted their Women’s Basketball championship but sadly the discourse is not about the game anymore. The championship was between the University of South Carolina, coached by Dawn Staley, versus Louisiana State University, coached by Kim Mulkey. It was a close game where the Gamecocks ended up winning 79-72 but the game was interrupted in the 4th quarter when a fight broke out between the two teams that ended up having 6 players ejected. This all started with trash talk throughout the game. It was a very physical game with poor officiating in terms of calling fouls and ensuring the safety of players. The intense pressure that comes with a championship game was strong for both teams. The major altercation occurred when LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson bumped into USC’s MiLaysia Fulwiley after being frustrated. Fulwiley’s teammate Kamilla Cardosa came and pushed her to the ground, and this is when players from the bench joined the fight. The NCAA rule is if you leave the bench to enter the altercation you are automatically ejected. Therefore, so many players were ejected. After all the ejections and fouls handed out both teams had only 5 players remaining for the final few minutes of the game. 

I wanted to give this background before talking about the different responses from the coaches, which were very different and have sparked even more controversy. Let’s start with how Dawn Staley reacted. Every winner will be interviewed post-game and during this presser, Dawn immediately said that was not basketball and she apologized and it escalated to where it did.  She and her team did not have any malice, it was just the heat of the moment and emotions were high. Along with apologizing for the situation, she also said that Flau’jae came up to her immediately after the game and apologized for her behavior and getting caught up in the moment. Dawn Staley handled this situation with compassion and empathy for both her team and LSU’s team. 

On the other side of the spectrum, Kim Mulkey answered the complete opposite way and argued for more fighting. Stating that she wished that Kamilla had pushed Angel Reese rather than Flau’jae because Angel is taller and could have had a better fight. Many people are outraged by the immature response of Kim because Angel at the time was being helped up from rolling her ankle and did not participate in any of the altercation. Kim’s response really made Angel seem more aggressive than she actually is. Therefore, fulfilling the negative stereotype parts of society has placed around her. Many people dislike Angel because she talks trash and is physical, but she is not a dirty player despite these opinions. 

Kim and Dawn had very different responses, one chose to protect her players while one tried to incite violence and demonize one of her star players at the same time.