Local kid authors prove to be good luck charms for the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks revenge tour

The Kid Authors did a book signing at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023.

11-year-old Kamille Smith wrote and published a book titled “Girls Fall Down Sometimes” when she was just 9 years old. The theme of the book connects deeply to the story of Raven Johnson, who was waived off by Caitlyn Clark in the NCAA Final 4 during the 2022-23 season.  The moment proved to be a very tough situation for Raven and South Carolina, who were heavy favorites to win the title behind the “Freshies,” which consisted of current WNBA superstars Aaliyah Boston and Zia Cooke. 

South Carolina was upset by Iowa in the National Semifinal, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the players, fans, and many in the basketball world. Deep thoughts of what could have been were something that lasted all summer and was the catalyst for lots of self-reflection from coach Dawn Staley and her players.  The journey of falling down last year and getting back up with a chance to play in Cleveland, Ohio, for a championship against the same team that beat them the previous year strongly resembles Kamille’s book. 

Image Description:  Kid Authors gifting books to legendary coach (Dawn Staley) and team (South Carolina).

8-year-old Kamryn Smith wrote and published a book titled “Be Free, Just Do It Your Way” when she was just 7 years old.  She wants kids to embrace the spirit of being themselves.  Kamryn’s book resonates with the freshman season of dynamic guard Milaysia Fulwiley. 

Fulwiley set the tone in Paris, France, for her college basketball debut against Notre Dame with jaw-dropping plays and effort that garnered plenty of SportsCenter replays. However, during the season, Fulwiley had to learn how to be herself while learning about a new system and the growth that comes with it.  Coach Staley is amazing at allowing her players to be themselves but has extremely high expectations.  Those expectations required Fulwiley to embrace the spirit of being herself while focusing heavily on improving on the defensive side of the ball. During the 2023-24 Final 4 “revenge tour,” Malaysia was her normal dynamic self, coming off the bench to score points in many different ways, sparking her team, and letting the world know that she excels in games when she can “Be Free” and just do it her way as the book says.

Both girls, who are Akron, Ohio natives, were able to visit with coach Dawn Staley after the team had breakfast on Friday, April 5th, ahead of their semifinal matchup with North Carolina State.  During the meeting, the girls gifted copies of their books to coach Staley to deliver to the team, hoping to serve as a reminder that they had some unfinished business to handle.  South Carolina would go on to beat North Carolina State and set up the “revenge tour” rematch with Caitlyn Clark and Iowa for the National Championship.  I think it’s a safe bet to say that the local kid authors proved to be a good luck charm, helping the players connect to their why so that they could go out and accomplish their goal of becoming champions despite the previous adversity. South Carolina defeated Iowa 87-75 and won the 2023-24 NCAA National Championship.

See the video of the encounter here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFvpRp_fCZE

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