The 10 Best Female College Basketball Players of All Time
There’s been lots of chatter around the NBA about whether Baylor center Brittney Griner, a 6-foot-8 senior, could hack it with the men in the NBA. Mark Cuban said earlier this week that he’d take a look at Griner and consider drafting her.
Then, on Thursday, Miami Heat forward Shane Battier said, “There’s no doubt that in our lifetime, there will be a woman NBA player.”
Here’s a look at the credentials for some of women’s basketball’s greatest all-time players.
Griner ends her career as the first player ever to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots during her career. She’s been someone people have been watching since the time she was in high school. As a college player, she was a three-time All-American. She’s someone opposing players fear on both ends of the court.
Cooper won championships at every level from college, to the Olympics, to the WNBA. She was named one of the pro league’s Top 15 players for her time with the Houston Comets. Before that, Cooper led USC in the 1980s and is among the school’s top record-setters to this day.
During her time at Old Dominion in the 1970s, Lieberman set a new standard for dominance in women’s college sports. She won two consecutive National Championships and was the first two-time winner of national player of the year. She earned more than her degree, but also respect enough to garner the nickname “Lady Magic.”
This three-time WNBA MVP was more impressively a four-time Olympic gold medal winner. If her time at USC wasn’t stellar enough, Leslie became all but the face of the WNBA during her time with the Los Angeles Sparks, during which she won two titles in 11 seasons. She was also the first woman to dunk in a WNBA game. For her efforts, fans voted her to be among the Top 15 players to take the court.
The 6′ 4″ center was a force to be reckoned with at Connecticut in the ’90s, leading the Huskies to the 1995 crown and going undefeated along the way. It won her the College Player of the Year award and she was named the 1995 Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation. She’s still involved in the game as a broadcaster.
Once one of the most looked up to players in all of the sport, Holdsclaw lost her fans and followers last year when she was arrested for attacking an ex’s car. The Tennessee, and then WNBA, star couldn’t do any wrong until after her retirement from the sport and a series of bad decisions left her with a six-count indictment charging her with assault and possession of a firearm. How the mighty can fall, too.
Reggie Miller’s older sister had arguably as much success on her side of the game as her brother. Cheryl dominated at USC, scoring the sixth most points all-time and was a four-time All-American. She was player of the year four times, and won two NCAA championships and a gold medal in the Olympics. You can see her on the sidelines of NBA games today.
Moore was the winner of the 2006 and 2007 Player of the Year award and led Connecticut to an undefeated season and a national championship in 2009. The Huskies had an amazing 78-game win streak during Moore’s time leading the team. She found success in the WNBA, too, helping Minnesota to take home its first title.
Parker has spent her entire career with storied programs, first with Tennessee and then with the Los Angeles Sparks. She was the first woman to dunk during an NCAA tournament game while with the Lady Volunteers. Parker led the team to both the 2007 and 2008 championships.
You may not remember Stiles, but she really made her mark. At Missouri State from 1998-2001, Stiles became the first woman to score 1,000 points in a season, for which she was named the women’s basketball player of the year. Griner sits behind Stiles alltime, but Griner may get the last laugh: Stiles is retired from playing while Griner has her basketball future still ahead of her.