Collegiate women's basketball has become a true impact sport in the NCAA, with the women's NCAA Basketball Tournament becoming nearly as popular as the men's big dance.
The WNBA has given a big assist to the sport because now the college basketball ladies also have a pro league to further their basketball careers after college.
There is little doubt that when it comes to NCAA Division 1 women's basketball that the Southeastern Conference is at the forefront when it comes to big time basketball programs producing big time basketball players. And while there are a number of big time programs in the SEC, there is no doubt that the University of Tennessee is the biggest. While the Lady Vols have produced a tremendous number of top level players, none compare to the fabulous Chamique Holdsclaw. She was the best of the best. The best all-time women's college basketball player.
Chamique Holdsclaw attended the University of Tennessee from 19995 until the year 1998, and played 4 full seasons for the Tennessee Lady Vols. Prior to attending UT, Holdsclaw was a product of the New York City public schools before attending Christ the King Regional High School in Queens, New York. While at Christ the King, Holdsclaw was a standout player, and from there, drew the attention of University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt who offered her a scholarship to play with the Lady Vols.
While at UT, Holdsclaw led the Lady Vols to a remarkable run during her 4 seasons. On a big picture scale, she led her team to 3 consecutive Women's College Basketball Championships, in 1996, 1997, and 1998. The 1998 season, in fact, amounted to probably the finest season ever played in the history of all collegiate sports. That UT team went 39-0 en route to a perfect season.
In addition to that track record of national success, Holdsclaw's Lady Vols squads also amassed a tremendous amount of Southeastern Conference success during her tenure as well. She led the Lady Vols to two SEC regular season titles, in 1998 and 1999, and to 3 SEC tournament titles, in 1996, 1998, and 1999.
As far as individual honors, Holdsclaw has amassed a closet full of them. She was named a Kodak All American in each of her 4 seasons, is a 2 time winner of the Nesmith Award for the best collegiate women's basketball player in America (awards won in 1998 and 1999), and won the Sullivan Award in 1998, her senior season.
Overall, she finished her career at the University of Tennessee with
all-time top records in the history of the Southeastern Conference in
both scoring, with a total of 3,025 points, as well as in rebounding,
pulling down 1,295 total rebounds in her career at UT. She also holds
all-time top conference records in NCAA Tournament history in the same 2
categories, with 470 points and 197 rebounds respectively.
After being drafted by the Washington Mystics as the number 1 overall pick in the 1998 WNBA Draft, Holdsclaw went on to have a very successful, albeit slightly shorter than expected, post-Vols career. Following a successful rookie season in which she averaged nearly 17 points and just under 8 rebounds per game, she went on to earn a gold medal in the 2000 Olympic Games.
Holdsclaw's subsequent WNBA seasons were even more successful, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in 2002 and 2003. However, despite her success on the court, the remainder of her career was hampered by the depression that she had battled for much of her life. Eventually, she would retire from the game in 2007. However, her seemingly premature retirement in no way overshadows what was otherwise a tremendous career.
Yep, we pick Chamique Holdsclaw as the best all-time women's college basketball player.
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What about Connecticut? All of the feats that you've mentioned also go to Connecticut. From three-peats to undefeated season - I think Connecticut and …
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Up Connecticut way, you had a ball player so great she was recognized by saying a single letter of the alphabet . . . D