Chamique Holdsclaw, Tina Thompson and Katie Smith headline the 10 finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced Thursday.
The three former WNBA stars were eligible for the first time this year.
Holdsclaw is Tennessee’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder and led the Lady Vols to national championships from 1996-98. Thompson helped the Houston Comets win the first four WNBA titles from 1997-2000. Katie Smith won three Olympic gold medals as well as two WNBA crowns.
Joining them as finalists are longtime assistant coaches Chris Dailey of UConn and Mickie DeMoss of Tennessee. They are the first two assistant coaches to be up for the Hall of Fame.
Dailey has spent the last 32 seasons as the top assistant at UConn, helping Hall of Fame coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies win over 1,000 games and 11 national championships. DeMoss spent 20 years as an assistant to Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee as the team went 829-200 during her years there, winning six national championships.
The other finalists include former Colorado coach Ceal Barry, Russian player Yelena Baranova, Kentucky’s all-time leading scorer Valerie Still and Auburn’s Vickie Orr.
Barry won 510 games in her career over 26 seasons at Cincinnati and Colorado. She made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached the regional final three times.
Baranova won a gold medal with the Unified Team in 1992 and was the 1998 European player of the year. Baranvoa’s team beat the U.S. in the semifinals of the Olympics in 1992. Orr was on that U.S. team. Orr starred at Auburn, helping the Tigers to two Final Fours.
Still was the first female to have her jersey retired at Kentucky in any sport.
Longtime New Jersey high school and college coach Rose Marie Battaglia is the 10th finalist. She, along with Baranova, were finalists last year as well.
The Hall of Fame will announce the 2018 class on Feb. 12. They will be enshrined on June 9 at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee.
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