Cavalier Corner

June 2018

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JUNE 2018 15 "I would say that I'm among great com- pany in just the history and the success they've had. I would personally go with those odds." The trio has compiled a 2,864-668 career record, 90 postseason tournament appear- ances, 39 Final Fours and 19 national cham- pionships through the 2017-18 campaign. Summitt and Auriemma, who is still coach- ing, are ranked first and third, respectively, in most career wins in women's college basketball history. As if more evidence was needed, Wil- liams played for and served on coach Andy Landers' staff at Georgia from 1991-96. She helped recruit many of the Bulldog players that went to the Final Four in 1995 and 1996. Landers retired in 2015 after 36 seasons with an 862-299 record — 11th best in women's college basketball history. He led the Bulldogs to 31 NCAA Tournament ap- pearances and five Final Fours. He, too, was a first-time head coach when he assumed the reins in Athens. What will help make the 43-year-old mom a success as a head coach, is that as a player, Thompson was already reaching beyond just on-the-court basketball and impacting young, female basketball players everywhere. Anderson noted that impact brilliantly in her 2013 Sports Illustrated article. "On the way to establishing … towering records, Thompson made another less her- alded but no less influential contribution to the league," Anderson wrote. "She provided young players with a template for how to be a successful female professional athlete, even when mom gets added to their résu- més. After Thompson's son, Dyllan, was born in May 2005, the two traveled together wherever Thompson played, stateside and overseas." "'I took a chapter out of Tina's book when I became a mom,' says 2008 league MVP Candace Parker, who took her own daughter, Lailaa, on the road with her soon after she was born in May 2009. 'It's been great to have my daughter share that experi- ence with me and get to be a little worldly. Tina showed me that was a good idea.'" Thompson will be inducted into the Nai- smith Basketball Hall of Fame at this year's enshrinement festivities Sept. 6-8 in Spring- field, Mass. Halls of Fame are reserved for the best at what they do. They're reserved for winners. "At this moment, we need a winner," Wil- liams said. "We need an inspiring leader and a fierce competitor, someone our play- ers and recruits will be inspired to follow, someone who loves to teach young people how to be winners in life. "We found that in our next women's bas- ketball coach, Tina Thompson." During her playing career, Thompson was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection at USC and the No. 1 pick in the inaugural WNBA Draft in 1997, won four WNBA championships, was an eight-time All-WNBA player and nine-time All-Star, and won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA. PHOTOS COURTESY USC, HOUSTON COMETS, TEAM USA AND TEXAS

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