The last preliminary step before the official reveal of this year’s class for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame was taken on Thursday evening during halftime of the Baylor vs. UConn telecast on ESPN when the finalists for the 2020 rendition were revealed.
— WBHOF (@WBHOF) January 10, 2020
All in all 12 finalists were announced, including WNBA greats Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings and Lauren Jackson. Cash and Catchings were earlier announced as candidates for consideration for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as well.
Cash had a storied career with the WNBA where she played for five teams – the Detroit Shock, Seattle Storm, Chicago Sky, Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty. Cash retired in 2016 but not before winning three WNBA championships – two with the Shock and one with the Storm in 2010.
She also won a pair of NCAA titles, is a four-time WNBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist and was named one of the WNBA’s 20@20 during its 20th anniversary season in 2016.
Since her playing days have concluded, Cash has made waves in basketball front offices, holding positions with the Liberty and now with the New Orleans Pelicans.
After being drafted out of Tennessee playing for the late, great Pat Summitt, Catchings played the entirety of her WNBA career with the Indiana Fever. In 2002, Catch was named the W’s Rookie of the Year and brought the basketball-loving Hoosier State its first WNBA championship in 2012. That year, she was also named WNBA Finals MVP.
In 2011, she won the regular season MVP award and also garnered WNBA 20@20 honors in 2016. Catchings is a 10-time All-Star along with being a five-time defensive player of the year and four-time Olympic gold medalist.
Recently, she was promoted to general manager of the Fever when the team announced Marianne Stanley, former Washington Mystics assistant, as its new head coach.
Jackson concluded her WNBA career averaging almost 19 points per game and played her entire career with the Storm – the team that selected her first overall in the 2001 draft. In addition to what she did stateside, she played for several teams in her home country of Australia, including the Canberra Capitals.
Jackson is a five-time WNBL All-Star, a four-time WNBL MVP and a four-time WNBL Grand Final MVP. She also led the Storm to a couple of WNBA titles as well – one in 2004 and the other in 2010. Jackson participated in three silver medal-winning efforts for the Australian Opals in the Olympics from 2000 (the year that the Games were hosted in Sydney) to 2004 in Athens to 2008 in Beijing.
She has since held an executive position with the Melbourne Boomers of the WNBL and is now the head of women for Basketball Australia.
The finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020 also included:
Debbie Brock – a point guard for Delta State University that won 3 AIAW national championships. She also got recognition at the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans for her accomplishments in her career. Brock is a member of the Delta State Sports Hall of Fame.
Doug Bruno – has been the coach of DePaul University for over 30 years and the Blue Demons’ women’s basketball program has made over 20 appearances in the NCAA tournament during his timespan. His coaching success also includes three Big East Coach of the Year awards and six gold medals with USA Basketball.
Carol Callan – currently the national team director for USA Basketball and has been in that role since 1996. During her tenure, she has presided over the USA Basketball women’s national team winning gold medals in the 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney), 2004 (Athens), 2008 (Beijing), 2012 (London) and 2016 (Rio de Janeiro) Olympic Games. That’s six consecutive gold medals.
Sue Donohoe – for nearly a decade, Donohoe was the Vice President of NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball. Prior to that, she was the director of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship from 2002 to 2003 and was the director of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship from 1999 to 2002. Donohoe is a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Lucille Kyvallos – throughout her coaching career, she amassed quite the impressive record – a mark of 311-73 which translates to a winning percentage over .800. She had a pair of stints on the United States Olympic Committee and is a member of several Halls of Fame – including the Queens College Athletics Hall of Fame and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lisa Mattingly – she is no stranger to the referee’s uniform and whistle, having officiated for over 30 years and the Women’s Final Four on ten occasions with her last appearance in said Final Four coming in 2014. From 2002-06, she also was a referee for the WNBA Finals and is a Naismith Award recipient.
Paul Sanderford – He was the Hilltoppers coach for 25 seasons, amassing a career mark of 453-189 for a .709 winning percentage. The Hilltoppers made 12 NCAA tournament appearances (including three Final Fours) and a championship game appearance in 1992. He is a member of the Western Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bob Schneider – even the greatest of coaches are not able to say they had only two losing seasons in four decades. Schneider can say that. He has an all-time record of 1,045-293 for a .781 winning percentage. Schneider is also third all-time in NCAA Division II history in wins and won five state championships as a high school coach.
Carol Stiff – She works for ESPN as its Vice President for Programming & Acquisitions. Her primary forte is women’s sports – including in the NCAA and the WNBA. In 2011, Stiff was the recipient of the WBCA Mel Greenberg Award. She launched Jimmy V Week and Kay Yow Cancer Fund week and has helped in over $7 million in donations to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
In addition to revealing who the finalists were, it was also revealed who is the 2020 Trailblazers of the Game recipient. That honor went to the USA Basketball Women’s National Team of 1980 that did not participate in that year’s Olympics in Moscow because of the boycott of the USSR.
That team includes:
Carol Blazejowski (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999)
Denise Curry (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999)
Anne Donovan (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999)
Tara Heiss (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003)
Cindy Noble Hauserman (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000)
LaTaunya Pollard (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001)
Jill Rankin Schneider (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008)
Rosie Walker (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001)
Holly Warlick (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001)
Lynette Woodard (Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005)
Sue Gunter (coach, Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000)
Pat Summitt (assistant coach, Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999)
Betty Jo Graber (manager, Inducted in Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999)
The official Class of 2020 for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced on ESPN2 during its telecast of UConn vs. South Carolina. The members and the Trailblazers of the Game Award recipient will be introduced at the Women’s Final Four and WBCA convention in New Orleans.
The induction ceremony will take place in mid-June at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. It will be the 22nd enshrinement that will occur since the first induction took place in 1999.
Congratulations to the 12 remaining candidates and the 2020 Trailblazers of the Game Award recipients!