March 10, 2021
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announces 2021 finalists
Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson among the 14 on the list
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On Tuesday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced nine players and five coaches as finalists from the North American and Women’s committees to be considered for election in 2021.
Two coaches, Leta Andrews and Marianne Stanley, and two players, Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith, are the finalists from the women’s committee. Griffith, Jackson and Stanley are first-time finalists.
The entire Class of 2021 will be unveiled on May 16, 2021, and the date of the ceremony will be announced before that.
Andrews has coached high school basketball for over fifty years and is the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female. She’s coached five high schools in Texas since 1962 and has led them to sixteen state Final Four appearances, plus a state championship in 1990. Other honors for Andrews have included NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year (2007), Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award (2007), High School Basketball Hall of Fame (1995) and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2010). Andrews has also graced the sidelines as head coach of the McDonald’s All-America Game West team in 2004 and of the Gatorade All-America Game West team in 2009.
Stanley’s 40-plus-year career includes stints at both the collegiate and professional levels. On the collegiate side, she led Old Dominion to an NCAA national championship in 1985, as well as consecutive AIAW national championships (1979, 1980) and a WNIT championship in 1978. Throughout her time in college athletics, Stanley put together an overall coaching record of 416-222 (.652). She led her teams to three NCAA Final Four appearances (1983, 1985, 1996). Other honors she’s compiled include AIAW National Coach of the Year (1979), Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year (1984, 1985) and Pac-10 Conference Coach of the Year (1993).
Since 2000, Stanley has spent her time as an assistant and head coach for several WNBA teams, highlighted by her being named the WNBA Coach of the Year in 2002 at the helm of the Washington Mystics. She’s currently the head coach of the Indiana Fever.
Jackson is a seven-time WNBA All-Star (2001-2003, 2005-2007, 2009) and three-time WNBA MVP (2003, 2007, 2010). Her prowess on the court helped lead the Seattle Storm to WNBA Championships in 2004 and 2010. In 2007, Jackson was named the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, after leading the league in rebounds and points per game. She was a member of the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006 and was named to the list of Top 20 Players in the league’s 20-year history in 2016.
Jackson was a superstar in the WNBL, earning All-Star accolades five times (1999-2004), MVP honors four times (1999, 2000, 2003, 2004) and the Grand Final MVP crown four times (2002, 2003, 2006, 2010).
With the Australian national team, Jackson is a three-time Olympic silver medalist (2000, 2004, 2008).
Griffith is also a seven-time WNBA All-Star (1999-2001, 2003, 2005-2007) and two-time Olympic gold medalist (2000-2004). She led the Sacramento Monarchs to a WNBA Championship in 2005. Griffith also took home All-WNBA First Team and WNBA All-Defensive First Team honors that year. In1999, Griffith earned WNBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year after a dominant season spent leading the league in field goals, rebounds, offensive rebounds and steals per game. Griffith joined Jackson on the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006, as well as on the list of Top 20 Players in the league’s 20-year history in 2016.
Griffith kicked off her professional career in the ABL, where she earned Defensive Player of the Year and All-ABL First Team in 1998. Back in college, she earned WBCA Division II Player of the Year in 1993 as an Owl at Florida Atlantic University.