March 9, 2018
In two years as South Carolina's starting point guard, sophomore Tyasha Harris has helped guide the Gamecocks to a national championship, a regular-season SEC championship, and a pair of SEC Tournament championships. Harris' 14 points, seven assists and ability to make timely plays on either end of the floor while playing the full 40 minutes in South Carolina's record fourth-consecutive SEC Tournament Championship over previously undefeated Mississippi State are some of the reasons why head coach Dawn Staley has such faith in her young floor leader.
"My mindset going into the Mississippi State game was just to stay focused, stay locked in, just go with the game plan, and trust my teammates.
"I had a rough tournament in the first two games. I knew I had to change that. My teammates instilled confidence in me. They just told me to keep pushing and keep shooting.
"Coach Staley told me that I've got the keys to the car, and I've got to run it. After the first game, she told me, `You've got to keep shooting because even if you're missing they still have to respect you, and at any given point, you could just go off.'
"With the three games in three days, I knew everyone was going to be tired mentally, as well as physically, but I thought we all did a good job of just fighting through it and still competing.
"Fatigue is a factor, but how you deal with it separates the great from the good. Fighting through being tired helps me and my team. I know that they need me on the floor to facilitate. I just try to push through it.
When the horn sounded, I just threw the ball up, and I tried to find A'ja.
"When Mississippi State went on its run -- I knew they were going to have one -- we just had to stay disciplined. They were focusing on our post players because they had done such a good job throughout the tournament. The perimeter players had to score this time. I just took my opportunities as they came.
"Near the end of the game, I looked over to Coach to see what play she wanted, and she just said, `You got it.' To have her confidence is a great feeling. She was an amazing player, and she's an amazing coach. Knowing she gives me the keys to run what I want in crunch time is big.
"Being the first team to win four straight SEC Tournaments feels amazing. A'ja (Wilson), Doniyah (Cliney), and Bianca (Cuevas-Moore) have never lost in the tournament since they've been here. That's big.
"When the horn sounded, I just threw the ball up, and I tried to find A'ja because I knew this would be a big moment for her, especially since she had just broken the (South Carolina career) scoring record. This is her last go-around, so I just wanted to find her, embrace her, and just love her.
"Cutting down the net is an amazing feeling. Not everybody gets a chance to do it. It's a milestone. It's a trophy to remind you that you won that championship."
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