COLUMBIA, S.C. – The streets of Columbia were packed with thousands of Gamecock fans as the city celebrated the South Carolina Women’s Basketball Team’s NCAA championship win with a parade.

Returning and new fans waited along Main Street to catch a glimpse of the team and head coach Dawn Staley. Many of them embodied their love of the Gamecocks with the same sentiment Staley shared during her end-of-parade speech.

“I can show you, better than I can tell you,” Staley said.

While the parade was meant to honor the team, Staley took time in her speech to highlight the support from their fans.

“This has given us an opportunity, actually, to love upon you,” Staley said. “Everybody out there… give yourselves a round of applause.”

Archina Feaster has been a Gamecock fan for longer than she can remember. She is grateful for Staley’s work as a coach and believes the team will reach the same heights next year.

“Keep making us proud, and we’ll see you guys again next year,” Feaster said.

The record-breaking final game between the Gamecocks and the Iowa Hawkeyes saw around 18.9 million viewers. Fan Gail Marshall-Well was on the edge of her seat as the Gamecocks pulled ahead during the game’s second-half.

“We’re a second-half team, and when we come back in the third-fourth quarter, I just lose my mind,” Marshall-Well said. “I’m getting too old for this; it’s making my blood pressure go up.”

Even when the team is down, though, the fans and Staley have faith that the athletes will pull through.

“You can play us for a quarter, you can play us for two quarters, you can play us for three quarters,” Staley said. “But by the time that fourth quarter comes around, we aren’t going to lose.”

At the end of the parade, Mayor Daniel Rickenmann gave the women and assistant coaches on the team proclamations congratulating them on their national success.

 Rickenmann also gave Staley a championship belt, adding to the gifts Columbia has already given her including a statue, street name and the key to the city.