Tina Thompson, Chamique Holdsclaw highlight Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2018 class
Three Olympians who played important roles in the establishing years of the WNBA -- Tina Thompson, Katie Smith and Chamique Holdsclaw -- and two iconic assistant coaches -- UConn's Chris Dailey and Tennessee's Mickie DeMoss -- highlight the 2018 class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Seven honorees were announced Monday and will be enshrined on June 9, 2018, at the Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee. The other two are former Colorado coach Ceal Barry and longtime high school and junior college coach Rose Marie Battaglia.
It will be the Hall of Fame's 20th anniversary class, and no one will be a more popular inductee than Holdsclaw, who led Tennessee to three NCAA titles in 1996-98 and has a street named after her near Thompson-Boling Arena.
A four-time All-American, she finished her career with the Lady Vols as the program's all-time leading scorer (3,025) and rebounder (1,295), and was the No. 1 pick in the 1999 WNBA draft. She played 11 seasons in the league, averaging 16.9 points and 7.6 rebounds, and won gold with the 2000 Olympic team.
Holdsclaw also has become a nationally recognized advocate for mental health, addressing her struggles with depression.
Thompson was the No. 1 pick in the first college draft for the WNBA, in 1997. The USC grad went on to win four titles with the Houston Comets (1997-2000) and two gold medals (2004, '08) with Team USA in the Olympics.
Thompson finished her 17-season WNBA career in 2013 having accumulated 7,488 points -- second most in league history behind Diana Taurasi -- and 3,070 rebounds. Thompson is now an assistant coach at Texas.
As a freshman, Smith led Ohio State to the 1993 NCAA final, where her Buckeyes lost an epic battle to Texas Tech and Sheryl Swoopes. She and Swoopes, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year, were teammates on the 2000 and '04 Olympic teams.
Smith began her pro career in the ABL, winning two titles for the Columbus Quest in 1997 and '98. She then moved to the WNBA, where she won titles with the Detroit Shock in 2006 and '08.
Smith finished her 15-season WNBA career in 2013 having amassed 6,452 points, and she is now head coach of the New York Liberty.
As for the coaches who'll be inducted, Dailey and DeMoss have been integral parts of the UConn and Tennessee programs, especially when the schools were at the peak of their rivalry in the 1990s through 2000s.
Dailey joined UConn when head coach Geno Auriemma took over the program in 1985, and is in her 33rd year as his top assistant. The Huskies have won 11 NCAA titles during Dailey's tenure with Auriemma, who was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. UConn, currently ranked No. 1, has advanced to the Women's Final Four 18 times, including the past 10 seasons in a row.
DeMoss was Pat Summitt's assistant from 1985-2003, and then again from 2010-12. She was part of six of Tennessee's eight NCAA title runs and 13 total trips to the Women's Final Four.
DeMoss played for Louisiana Tech, then started her coaching career at Memphis State in 1977. She has also been a head coach at Florida and Kentucky, and an assistant with Auburn, Texas, Louisiana Tech and the WNBA's Indiana Fever. She's currently an assistant to former Lady Vols player Nikki Fargas at LSU.
Barry, who played collegiately at Kentucky, also began her coaching career in 1977 when she was a grad assistant at Cincinnati. She quickly moved into the head-coaching role there in 1979, then moved to Colorado in 1983. Between those two schools, she compiled a 510-284 career record. Barry was a four-time Big Eight Coach of the Year with the Buffaloes, finishing her coaching career in 2005. She now is an athletic administrator at Colorado.
Battaglia coached high school and junior college basketball for 38 years (at times simultaneously) in New Jersey. She made four NJCAA final four appearances, and coached two-time Olympic gold-medal winner and WNBA championship coach Anne Donovan when she played at Paramus Girls Catholic High School in New Jersey.
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame also will honor the Women's Professional Basketball League, which operated in the United States from 1979-81, as part of the "Trailblazers of the Game" display at the Hall of Fame.