Hail to the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The road for women has been rough in the world of basketball. From Title IX to the WNBA, there has been one uphill climb after another. Along the way, fans have seen many make their mark and leave the women’s game with another piece of history. The 2017 HOF induction includes two such women in Rebecca Lobo and Muffet McGraw.
Mcgraw is the head coach of the University of Notre Dame and has amassed 853 wins in 35 years. That is good enough for 11th place all-time, men and women. She was a criminal justice/sociology major with dreams of making a difference in the world. She made a difference alright, but not how she planned. The resume reads like this: an 853-227 record good for a .771 winning percentage, 24 NCAA tournament appearances, 15 Sweet 16’s, seven Final Four’s and a national championship in 2001.
McGraw had gone through a losing season, upsets that fueled the rise of the program and of course, the experience being a woman in a sport dominated by men. She was one of the pioneers of the movement to make women’s college basketball relevant.
So now, all of her hard work, passion, and dedication has been rewarded. Welcome, Muffet McGraw to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
For Rebecca Lobo, the path to Springfield had been one marked by history. She was a part of the first of 11 national championships for UConn in 1995, an undefeated 35-0 season. She was one of the Original Three that started the WNBA. She ranks as UConn’s all-time career leader in blocks and rebounds. She is two-time Kodak All-American, a 1995 Wade Trophy recipient and a Naismith Player of the Year. She would go on to be a part of the 1996 Women’s Gold Medal Team in the Olympics.
All that time Lobo did not wow you with her athletic ability, or even her shot. This was the early 90’s when women were not as athletic and well rounded as they are today. She did wow you with her hard work and dedication to detail. She did wow you with her ability to control the boards and tempo of the game. Oh, and her knowledge of the game was not too shabby either.
These days, Lobo is a top level analyst for ESPN. She works college basketball as well as WNBA games and is one the best at breaking a contest down. Trust me, I remember clearly when she began her career behind the mic and it was not pretty. But as always, Lobo learned the ropes and perfected her craft. Her voice is now synonymous with the women’s game.
Today, Lobo finds herself at the summit of her profession once again. She is now and forever a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame class of 2017.