Top basketball recruit shouts out Dawn Staley after Gamecocks win national championship

Coach Dawn Staley and the No. 1 South Carolina women’s basketball team beat Iowa in a thrilling national championship game on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.

One of the country’s top high school sophomores took notice.

Five-star Class of 2026 forward McKenna Woliczko has been on the Gamecocks’ recruiting radar for about a year and received a scholarship offer last March, after Staley watched Woliczko dazzle in person during the California state playoffs as a freshman forward.

Now a rising junior who ranks as the No. 6 player in her recruiting class per espnW, Woliczko took to social media on Sunday to shout out USC and Staley after they completed just the 10th perfect season by an NCAA women’s basketball team, and first since 2016.

Her father, Aaron Woliczko, got in on the fun, too, and drew a massive response from South Carolina women’s basketball fans on X (formerly Twitter) who hope his daughter will eventually commit to play for the Gamecocks.

“Congrats to @GamecockWBB!!” Aaron Woliczko, a senior associate commissioner who oversees men’s basketball for the West Coast Conference, wrote in a post Sunday night, tagging Staley and other members of her coaching staff. “(McKenna) was watching.”

“WE WANT MCKENNA!” a South Carolina fan account replied.

Aaron Woliczko shot back with a picture of his daughter and Staley posing together during an unofficial recruiting visit to Columbia last summer and a shrugging emoji.

McKenna Woliczko also reshared her dad’s original post, which drew dozens of comments from fans after No. 1 USC’s 87-75 win over No. 1 Iowa and Caitlin Clark.

“Come home McKenna!”

“She can come be a part instead of watching”

“Bring her on! We will take great care of her!!!”

McKenna Woliczko recruiting update

Woliczko, a 6-foot-2 forward, was named the MaxPreps Co-National Freshman of the Year after her debut season at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California. She was also the first freshman in history to win the San Francisco Chronicle’s Player of the Year award.

Woliczko, 15, followed that up with an even better sophomore season for the Monarchs. She averaged 22.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game this season while helping Archbishop Mitty to a 30-1 record and state championship appearance.

She shot 65% from the field, 76% on free throws and 40% on 3-pointers while being named one of five finalists for the MaxPreps National Player of the Year award.

The Chronicle’s back-to-back area player of the year, Woliczko also has experience with USA Basketball and played on the women’s U16 national team that won the 2023 FIBA Americas U16 championship. She was named to that tournament’s All-Star Five team after averaging 11.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and led the tournament in field goal percentage (62%).

Even though she’s relatively new to the sport, having only played basketball since seventh grade, Woliczko had already received over 20 Division I scholarship offers. espnW currently ranks her as the No. 6 player nationally in the rising junior class and No. 1 wing player.

Woliczko’s high school coach, Sue Phillips, told a local news station last fall that the five-star recruit was already “in the conversation” for the best all-time athlete at a high school that has produced WNBA players, NBA players and Olympians.

“When McKenna walked through the gym I was taken aback by her positive spirit,” Phillips, whose previous players at Archbishop Mitty include WNBAers Haley Jones and Danielle Robinson and 2024 UConn signee Morgan Cheli, told KTVU FOX 2. “Then, to watch her play, you’re going ‘Holy Toledo, she’s special.’ McKenna not only has the talent, she has the mindset which I think separates her from people.”

Woliczko is also a standout softball player, and some of the schools recruiting her have offered her an opportunity to play both sports at the college level. Although she’s taken a number of unofficial visits, she said she’ll take her time with her basketball recruiting process.

“It’s hard to think about the future just yet,” Woliczko told the Chronicle last November. “My main goal right now is to win a state title with this team right here. I have so many different options, I can keep thinking about what I want for a bit.”