South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley used Sunday afternoon’s second round NCAA tournament game against South Florida to provide a history lesson. Staley appeared on the Gamecocks sidelines wearing a vintage Cheyney State jersey, a tribute to the nation’s oldest HBCU and the only HBCU program to reach the Final Four of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

In 1982, the Cheyney State women’s basketball team, coached by the legendary C. Vivian Stringer, finished the inaugural NCAA women’s basketball tournament as runner-up, losing to Louisiana Tech, 76-62, in the championship game. (You can read more on that inaugural NCAA Final Four — and the drama surrounding it — here.)

“Cheyney State was the only HBCU to make it to a Final Four, and for them to be led by Coach Stringer who opened doors that now I walk through, I mean, it was truly an honor to wear this jersey and to represent them,” Staley said after the game, which South Carolina won 76-45 to move on to the Sweet 16.

Louisiana Tech and Cheyney State competed in the inaugural NCAA women's basketball championship game in 1982. (George Tiedemann /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Staley’s wore jersey No. 44, which belonged to Yolanda Laney, who also happens to be the mother of New York Liberty player Betnijah Laney. Staley, who hails from North Philly, grew up playing in the Sonny Hill League, where she was coached by Yolanda Laney.

“She was serious about making sure that we had opportunities. She didn’t just coach us, she taught us how to play,” Staley told the Philadelphia Inquirer about the influence Yolanda Laney had on her.

A photo of Yolanda Laney (top row, second from right) who played for the Cheyney State women's basketball team in the 1980s. (Photo by Kyle Grantham for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

According to the NCAA, a total of 19 HBCUs have competed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament since it began, including three HBCUs that competed in that inaugural 1982 tournament (Cheyney, Howard, and Jackson State). Two HBCUs competed in this year’s NCAA tournament: Southern (lost to Sacred Heart in the First Four) and Norfolk State (lost to South Carolina in round one).

Rutgers’ women’s basketball coach Vivian Stringer is extending her leave of absence through the end of the 2021-22 season, the school announced Monday.

In her place, associate head coach Timothy Eatman will continue as acting head coach.

Stringer stepped away from the program in April 2021 after signing a five-year extension. In February, she voiced her concern over Coronavirus after Rutgers returned from a six-week pause for the virus.

“This COVID situation is for real and we have to be very careful and treat it with great respect,” she said at the time.

At Big Ten media day last month, team spokesman Matt Choquette said Stringer was worried about the lack of testing this season in comparison with last season. Reportedly, Stringer is also worried about the highly contagious nature of the variants and her desire to prevent transmittance to her 40-year-old daughter, who is of high-risk and requires special care after contracting spinal meningitis at age two.

Stringer has had an extensive coaching career in the college space, having coached for 50 years and amassed 1,055 wins — fourth all time in Division I.

Last season saw the Scarlet Knights finish 14-5 and lose in the first round of the NCAA tournament to BYU.

Rutgers will open the season on Tuesday against Saint Peter’s.