KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A momentous weekend was capped off by the honor of witnessing the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony of the Class of 2018: Ceal Barry, Tina Thompson, Katie Smith, Chamique Holdsclaw, Mickie DeMoss, Dr. Rose Marie Battaglia and Chris Dailey.
DeMoss and Dailey were the first two assistant coaches to be awarded the coveted WBHOF award. Each recipient gave a heartwarming speech that encompassed the theme of the WBHOF: “Honor the past, celebrate the present, promote the future.”
Katie Smith, head coach of the New York Liberty, spoke fondly of her family’s unconditional support of her basketball dreams, while Tina Thompson shared wisdom about her relentless discipline and determination to play with her brother and fit in with the guys on the court.
Coach DeMoss reflected on her 41-year career and impactful time with University of Tennessee Head Coach Pat Summit, while Coach Dailey recounted highlights of her tremendous career — most notably, as an assistant coach to University of Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma.
Chamique Holdsclaw gave an emotional tribute to her grandmother, June, and to UT Head Coach Pat Summitt, who instilled in her throughout her basketball journey that “representation matters.” During her induction speech, Holdsclaw identified herself as a proud representation of a black woman in the LGBTQ community living with mental illness.
Dr. Rose Marie Battaglia shared rousing and hilarious memories of coaching top-tier athletes in her career as well as being at the forefront of teaching and empowering other women to coach basketball.
There was also a Trailblazers of the Game award that recognized the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL), which was the first of its kind in the United States.
The WBHOF’s emcee for the evening, Debbie Antonelli, read 100 names of former WBL players in attendance as they made their way onto the stage to join the other seven inductees.
The audience was filled with past and future inductees, champions of the women’s game, family and friends. The 2018 induction ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and personified the passion of the past while igniting excitement for what the women’s game will encompass in the future.
Congratulations to the Class of 2018 inductees!