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Only on AP: Behind-the-scenes with women’s NCAA champions

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, right, greets fans as the team returns to the team’s hotel as national champions following the Women’s Final Four NCAA basketball tournament in Minneapolis, April 3, 2022. South Carolina defeated UConn earlier in the night to win the national title. (AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall)

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South Carolina sports writer Pete Iacobelli and Des Moines, Iowa-based photographer Charlie Neibergall had exclusive behind-the-scenes access during top-ranked South Carolina’s run to the women’s NCAA championship, the pair delivering unique content in the highly competitive environment of the game’s biggest stage.

Iacobelli has established a good rapport with basketball coach Dawn Staley, who also has a long history with assistant sports editor Oscar Dixon. With those strong AP ties, Staley allowed Iacobelli to join the team during the Final Four in Minneapolis. He teamed up with Des Moines, Iowa-based photographer Charlie Neibergall to produce a widely used package that moved the morning after the Gamecocks captured their second national title under Staley.

In addition to that exclusive, Iacobelli also spoke to Staley for a story on gender equity as well as an upcoming profile on the coach.

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