For Bree Hall and South Carolina, 'Revenge tour is over. Repeat tour is next'

Apr. 12—Bree Hall did an interview minutes after South Carolina beat Iowa in the NCAA championship game last Sunday in Cleveland. She wore a brand-new national champions hat. The court was crowded as the Gamecocks celebrated and Hall reflected on the accomplishment.

"I see the tears flowing right now," the reporter said. "What's going through your mind?"

Hall then mentioned an article written about her in January by the newspaper in Columbia, S.C., The State. The headline read, "How Bree Hall got her groove back with South Carolina women's basketball."

"At times I wanted to quit," Hall said Sunday. "I just kept pushing through thanks to my coach and my mom just for believing in me and having confidence. To go out here and win a national championship is amazing."

Hall shared the interview on X (Twitter) after the game and explained her emotions.

"Never give up!" she wrote. "Times will get better. Always remember that! You have to want it get better! Mental health is real. You are not alone! Read my article from earlier this year to know the things I went through."

The 2021 Wayne High School graduate Hall picked South Carolina because she wanted to play for Dawn Staley and win national championships. Now she has two rings in three years.

Hall ended her junior season by scoring seven points in 18 minutes. South Carolina (38-0) completed an undefeated season with an 87-75 victory against Iowa (34-5).

Hall picked up two fouls in the first quarter and did not play in the second quarter. She returned to the game in the third quarter and scored five of her seven points.

"I don't even think I averaged two fouls the whole season, so that was tough," Hall said, "but my teammates were there and told me that they're going to still need me and to keep my head up. That second half, I got myself together."

Hall ranked fifth on the team in scoring with 9.2 points per game in her first season as a starter. It wasn't always an easy road for her. That was the focus of the January piece. Hall overcame the self doubt that plagued her early in the season after a conversation with Staley, and that talk came about after Bree's mom, LaShauna, called Staley to talk about Bree's issues.

Staley told Hall her feelings were normal and temporary and reassured her.

"I think that definitely flipped the script in my head," Hall told The State.

"She's finding herself," Staley said then. "I think her experience here at South Carolina and all the things that created mental strength is going to carry her throughout the rest of her life."

In an interview with the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday, Hall talked again about why it was important to share her story.

"It is really important for younger athletes to understand that mental health is very serious," she said. "You're not alone. There are lots of people in your circle that are willing to help you. Luckily, I had my mom, my coach, and also my school counselor or school therapist (Raylene Ross). They were all within my circle to help me."

Hall climbed into the stands after the game Sunday to hug her mom. Another video showed that moment. A photo also showed Hall after she jumped into the arms of her dad, Bryan.

"The man that put the ball in my hands when I was young!" Hall wrote under the photo on X. "Love you, dad."

Talking three days after the championship victory, Hall said the accomplishment had not sunk in yet.

"I don't think I still understand how amazing this really is," she said, "and how difficult and once in a lifetime it really is."

Hall pointed to the unselfishness of the team as the main ingredient in its success.

"Everybody was always happy for each other," she said. "I think we had about seven different leading scorers on our team. There was a lot of genuine joy for each other for every accomplishment that was done throughout the season. People don't understand that genuine joy that we have for each other. It's not very common. There's typically a lot of jealousy and things of that nature. But, on this team, it's just complete joy and unselfishness. The big thing about us was love. We just have a different type of team chemistry that's unbreakable."

Hall plans to take time off this spring, take vacations to the Dominican Republic and Mexico and also travel to Los Angeles or Miami, Fla., to work out with WNBA players.

Hall's goal a year from now is to play in the WNBA. She expects to improve her numbers in her senior season.

"My stats have grown exponentially from last year to this year," she said, "so I expect to keep getting better."

South Carolina won the championship a year after losing to Iowa in the Final Four. Now the goal is to do it again.

"Revenge tour is over," Hall said. "Repeat tour is next."