This Week in Women’s Basketball: Maya, Mone lead WBHOF Class of 2024


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Catch up on the latest announcements, events and developments from across the world of women’s basketball:

Moore, Augustus headline WBHOF Class of 2024

Lynx legends are linked, with Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus leading the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, a member of the 2011 Minnesota Lynx championship team, also will be inducted into the women’s hoop hall in Knoxville, TN on April 27, 2024.

Moore is one of the sport’s greatest winners, capturing a pair of national titles at UConn before securing four titles with the Lynx, along with accumulating a number of individual honors. Augustus owned one of the most aesthetically-pleasing games in the annals of women’s hoops, with her soft jumper and smooth handles elevating LSU to a national power before helping lift the Lynx into one the W’s premier organizations. McWilliams-Franklin has to be considered one of the most persistent players and foremost leaders in women’s basketball, rising from St. Edward’s University to a 14-year WNBA career that was highlighted by a pair of championships.

The other inductees will be:

  • Rita Gail Easterling, a standout at Mississippi College in the mid-1970s who starred in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in the late 1970s and early 1980s
  • Violet Palmer, the first woman to referee a NBA game who also officiated NCAA and WNBA games
  • Sue Phillips, the longtime head coach of Archbishop Mitty High School (alma mater of WNBA players Danielle Robinson and Haley Jones) who also coached a number of USA Basketball girls’ teams
  • Roonie Scovel, a winner of six junior college national championships at Gulf Coast State College in Florida

Cheyney University, the only HBCU to advance to a Final Four (1982, 1984), will receive the “Trailblazer of the Game” award. The Afghan Resettlement Program, 13 coaches and players who risked their lives to play basketball, will be honored with the “For the Love of the Game” award.

Phoenix Mercury tap Kristi Toliver as associate head coach

After becoming the first active WNBA player to serve as a NBA assistant coach in 2018, Kristi Toliver will become the associate head coach for the Phoenix Mercury.

Hiring Toliver, with her extensive NCAAW, WNBA and overseas playing experiences, does not obviate the concerns and complaints about the Mercury’s head coach decision. Yet, owner Mat Ishbia, general manager Nick U’Ren and head coach Nate Tibbetts understanding the value of elevating minds from within women’s basketball into leadership positions is a positive development. Congrats Kristi!

Per Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post, Toliver has not officially closed her 14-year WNBA career; however, it is expected that she will announce her retirement.

New minority owner for Indiana Fever

Herb Simon, owner of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, is selling a 20 percent stake in the Fever and Pacers to Steven Rales, an Indiana businessman.

EuroCup Women playoffs begin in Dec. 14

The 2023-24 EuroCup Women playoffs are set, with Round 1 games scheduled for Dec. 14 and 21. The playoffs for Europe’s second-tier women’s basketball competition features 32 teams from the continent, including seven teams that finished the regular season undefeated.

Six of the seven undefeated clubs have players familiar to WNBA and NCAAW fans:

  • Tango Bourges Basket (France): Kayla Alexander, Kristen Mann
  • London Lions (Great Britain): Megan Gustafson, Abby Meyers, Karlie Samuelson, Temi Fagbenle, Juicy Landrum
  • Umana Reyer Venice (Italy): Awak Kuier, Jessica Shepard, Lorela Cubaj, Anna Makurat
  • Galatasaray Cagdas Factoring (Turkey): Myisha Hines-Allen, NaLyssa Smith, Tiffany Mitchell, Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan
  • Spar Girona (Spain): Kelsey Mitchell, Morgan Bertsch, Regan Magarity
  • TTT Riga (Latvia): Dekeiya Cohen, Kyra Lambert

USA Basketball participates in 3×3 AmeriCup

A 3×3 team of the Los Angeles Sparks’ Dearica Hamby and Kaite Lou Samuelson, Indiana Fever’s Kelsey Mitchell and Camille Zimmerman, who played for Columbia from 2014 to 2018, will represent USA Basketball at the 3×3 AmeriCup in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Team USA will begin play on Saturday, Dec. 2, meeting Uruguay at 3:40 p.m. ET and the Dominican Republic at 7:20 p.m. ET.

LA leads class of 2024 recruiting ranking

Two weeks ago, we took a look at the college decisions of the top recruits from the class of 2024. With all but six of the top 100 players making their declarations, it’s time to determine which schools were most successful in attracting top talents.

And it looks like LA is becoming the place to play for women hoopers! USC and Lindsay Gottlieb currently have the No. 1 recruiting class, with UCLA and Cori Close at No. 3. South Carolina and Dawn Staley are at No. 2, with Texas and Vic Shaefer and Duke and Kara Lawson rounding out the top five.

Get to know the top women’s high school hoops teams

If you wish to look even further into the future of women’s hoops, check out the top 25 women’s high school basketball teams.

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