Sweet 6 put in women’s HOF
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008 2:51 pm
By: By Beth Rucker, Associated Press Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Virginia coach Debbie Ryan was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame last week, and the moment was not lost on her.
Ryan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2000.
“It’s really taught me to smell the roses,” she said. “It really makes this weekend special. I’m not just happy to be here; I’m happy to be anywhere.”
In 31 years at Virginia, she has 22 NCAA Tournament appearances and 675 wins.
Also being honored are official Patty Broderick, Central Arizona coach Lin Laursen, Tennessee and Wayland Baptist All-American Jill Rankin Schneider, Penn State player and Olympic gold medalist Suzie McConnell-Serio and Australian and WNBA player Michelle Timms.
A weekend of activities was planned for the inductees.
Broderick began officiating in 1972 and has worked at every level from high school to professional and international.
She was the first woman to officiate at the Pan American Games and the second to officiate in the Olympics when she worked at the 1988 games in Seoul, South Korea.
Broderick said she’s seen a lot of changes in the women’s game thanks to the addition of an official on the court and the impact of Title XIII, but wishes that female athletes could garner even more attention for their game.
“They’re pure shooters. The game is played the way that Dr. (James) Naismith intended. There’s a lot of finesse,” she said.
In 34 seasons with Central Arizona, Laursen has tallied 971 wins and led the program to three junior college national titles.
Laursen said it’s often tough to see her work with a junior college player come to fruition with a nearly 50 percent turnover rate on her team each year but has found the work rewarding.
“Women today are stronger and quicker. Now, if only their salaries would keep up with what the men get,” she said.
Schneider is one of the few athletes to be named an All-American at two schools, playing in the Final Four for both Tennessee and Wayland Baptist.
Schneider, now a high school basketball coach, worked for an assistant for a few years under former Texas coach Jody Conradt and was to be co-captain of the 1980 Olympic team, which boycotted the Moscow games.
“To me, this is the culmination of my athletic career. This kind of puts the icing on the cake,” she said.
McConnell-Serio still holds NCAA records for career assists (1,307), assists in a season (355) and season assist average (11.8) from her days at Penn State.
She was honored as the WNBA coach of the year in 2004, leading the Minnesota Lynx to back-to-back playoff appearances and recently completed her first collegiate coaching season at Duquesne.
“You don’t think about this kind of recognition as a player,” McConnell-Serio said.
Timms is a three-time Oly-mpian who led the Australian national team to its first medal, the bronze in the 1996 games in Atlanta.
She played for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA from 1997-2001.
Timms, an assistant coach to the Chinese Olympic team, was unable to attend the induction ceremonies while she helped her team prepare for August’s Beijing games.
The six inductees bring to 103 the number of members of the Hall of Fame, which opened in 1999.
On the Net:
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame: http://www.wbhof.com