Former roommates Tammi Reiss and Dawn Staley rekindle friendship in Sweet 16

first_imgAs soon as Tammi Reiss saw Dawn Staley play for the first time at a recruiting showcase before her senior year of high school, she knew she wanted to play with her in college. While most schools disguised their interest in the other, Virginia was the only school that was upfront with them.The Cavaliers wanted to reel in both prolific guards. Staley called Reiss and said she was about to commit to UVA. She asked Reiss to join her and thus the roots for a 28-year friendship were planted.“That was going to be my backcourt mate for four years,” Reiss said. “I wanted to win national championships. I wanted to play with the best. At that time, Dawn was the best.”Reiss, an assistant coach with No. 4 seed Syracuse (27-7, 13-3 Atlantic Coast), and Staley, the head coach for top-seeded South Carolina’s (33-1, 16-0 Southeastern), lived together as roommates and quadmates for three years at Virginia. They’ll meet again when their respective teams face off on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.Both finished their college careers with multiple first-team All-ACC honors and Staley was named the Naismith Player of the Year twice. Together, they won three ACC titles, reached three Final Fours and made a national title game appearance.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut when Reiss looks back, she remembers nothing more from her days at UVA, from 1989-92, than the pranks she and Staley would play on each other and their teammates.“We were the pranksters of our team,” Staley said. “… Tammi’s got a great mind. She was probably the culprit behind everything. I just went with it.”During their freshman year, Reiss and Staley lived in a quad together in Tuttle Hall with current Clemson head coach Audra Smith and Allison Moore. Reiss and Staley had similar habits – staying up late, watching movies and joking around with each other. But Staley was roommates with Smith, whom Reiss described as an “old lady” because she typically went to bed at 9 p.m. When they realized which pairing worked best, Reiss and Staley ended up together.One Halloween, Reiss and Staley dressed up in all black to break into the apartment of Tonya Cardoza, who currently coaches at Temple, and “kill her” with shaving cream, water balloons and hammers. With black makeup and stockings on their faces and heads, the duo felt hot so they went to 7-Eleven for some Slurpees.They had forgotten how intimidating their costumes were and a worker at 7-Eleven called the police. The misunderstanding was eventually sorted out, but Cavaliers head coach Debbie Ryan did get a call from the cops.“Everyone probably thought we were immature,” Reiss said. “But we won and we had fun.”Another time, Reiss and Staley sent Smith to pick up food from McDonald’s. Reiss got dressed up into a full 6-foot werewolf costume that had red eyes. Staley’s job was to flick the light on when she saw Smith enter the building while Reiss set up behind the side of a wall.Smith walked in with a tray of drinks in one hand and a bag of food in the other.Reiss yelled “Rawr!” as Smith walked in. Smith chucked the drinks into Reiss’ head, screamed and ran faster than Reiss had ever seen her run.“She hated us. She’d walk around jittery all the time,” Reiss said of Smith, “because she knew we were going to get her.”Staley would receive care packages from home and Reiss eventually wanted to take them. So one time, Reiss challenged Staley that if she could make Staley throw up, Reiss could take her care package. There was a buffet where athletes could eat at and Reiss compiled salad, fish, mayonnaise, milk and a variety of other ingredients.Staley threw up and Reiss got the package.“Some of the things we did I can’t tell you because we’d probably be arrested,” Reiss said. “Needless to say, we had some really, really good times.”Reiss’ experience at Virginia is what has shaped her coaching philosophy and it’s shaped Staley’s too. At Syracuse, Reiss still sneaks behind walls in hotels and tries to scare players. She also mentioned South Carolina’s parody of Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ when pointing out similarities between their time at UVA and their current teams. Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Alexis Peterson is carrying Syracuse on historic run and she has a knack for proving people wrongSyracuse women’s basketball opponent preview: What to know about South CarolinaSyracuse needs Brianna Butler to break out of her shooting slump10 fun facts about South Carolina and Sioux FallsNCAA Tournament: Stats to know for Syracuse-South Carolina Published on March 25, 2016 at 11:09 am Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds On Friday night, Reiss and Staley will put all of that aside. A trip to the Elite Eight is on the line as they continue their quests for a national championship, something they didn’t accomplish as players.“We made incredible memories together,” Staley said. “Obviously we put ourselves in a position to make another memory.” Commentslast_img