Smith, Thompson headline Women’s hoops Hall of Fame class
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Katie Smith, Tina Thompson and Chamique Holdsclaw headline the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame class for 2018 announced Monday.
The three former WNBA stars were eligible for the first time.
Joining them in the seven-member class are former Colorado coach Ceal Barry, longtime assistants Chris Dailey and Mickie DeMoss and longtime New Jersey high school and college coach Rose Marie Battaglia. Dailey and DeMoss are the first two assistant coaches to get into the Hall.
The group will be enshrined on June 9 at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Smith was a three-time Olympic gold medalist, former Ohio State star, and led the Detroit Shock to two WNBA championships in 2006 and 2008. She’s fifth on the WNBA’s all-time scoring list.
“I am humbled and honored to be chosen as a member of such a prestigious group of athletes who have given their all for this game we love,” Smith said. “Basketball has taken me from Logan, Ohio to places I never would have dreamed. I am grateful to everyone who has touched my life through this sport.
Thompson won four consecutive championships with the Houston Comets after getting drafted first in the inaugural 1997 WNBA draft. She was the league’s No. 1 all-time scorer until being passed by Diana Taurasi last year.
“I am extremely honored to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. It is a true privilege to have my name reside in the home where so many of the greats of our game are housed,” said Thompson, who played at Southern California. “As a young girl, little did I know how good old-fashioned hard work and passion would affect my life in such a grand way. Fabulous indeed.”
Holdsclaw was the all-time leading scorer and rebounder at Tennessee and led the Lady Vols to three straight NCAA championships from 1996-98.
Dailey has been at UConn since Geno Auriemma took over in 1985. She’s helped the team win 11 national championships and over 1,000 games. DeMoss has won over 800 games as an assistant at Tennessee and LSU.
“I think that it’s a reflection just on being able to acknowledge the contributions of everyone, whether it’s a high school coach, a player or a college coach. It’s an honor to be the first (assistant) and to go in with Mickie DeMoss, I think that’s fitting,” Dailey said. “You know we’ve battled each other for a long time and we’re good friend and it just seems like it’s a fitting move.”
Barry won over 500 games at Colorado and Cincinnati and was Big Eight Coach of the Year four times.
Battaglia coached for 38 years in New Jersey and an inductee of the state’s Hall of Fame. She won 702 games.
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame also will honor the Women’s Professional Basketball League, which operated from 1979-81 in the U.S., as part of the “Trailblazers of the Game” display at the Hall of Fame.
AP Sports Writer Pat Eaton-Robb contributed to this story.