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‘Trendsetters’: Dawn Staley and South Carolina face Notre Dame in Paris

Dawn Staley and South Carolina are facing Notre Dame in Paris to open the 2023-24 regular season. (Jeff Blake/USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame and South Carolina are facing off in Paris, France, to kick off the women’s college basketball season.

It will be the first NCAA regular-season basketball game on Parisian soil. And for South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, the significance of the game extends beyond just that.

It’s something that Staley has dreamt of, as she has watched major sports leagues such as the NFL go overseas with their regular-season games.

“I always thought, why couldn’t we do it?” she told ESPN. “And then, what do you know? We’re doing it. I think it’s great.”

Part of why it’s great is because the trip will be educational for players. While it “is a business trip” – after all, the team isn’t going to Paris to lose – they’re also taking advantage of the experience of going overseas.

“We’re talking about the student-athlete experience,” Staley said. “We try do to that right here in our home country, in our home state. But when you’re able to give young people an experience like this, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know what we’re going to experience. It’s all very new to all of us, but I know we’re gonna have a good time.”

To her, it also represents how far the Gamecocks have come.

“We are a brand here at South Carolina. People want us to participate in things like this,” she told South Carolina news station WLTX. “I’m happy for our fans, they get a chance to cheer us on. We wanted the event organizer to put a fan package together for our fans and it sold out within hours. So, the power of what we created here, we travel well as far as our fans. They follow us.

“I think it’s pretty darn cool to be trendsetters in women’s basketball, something that has never been done before.”

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET Monday.