January 21, 2022
Becky Hammon, Penny Taylor, DeLisha Milton-Jones among 2022 Hall of Fame nominees
On Feb. 14, the Class of 2022 inductee list will be announced, and the induction ceremony will take place on June 11 in Knoxville, TN
On Thursday, during the Louisville at NC State game, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced 12 finalists for its Class of 2022 inductees. The list is made up of legendary players, contributors, coaches and officials.
Potential inductees are Debbie Antonelli, Alice “Cookie” Barron, Evelyn Blalock, Cathy Boswell, Doug Bruno, Becky Hammon, Donna Lopiano, Lisa Mattingly, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Paul Sanderford, Bob Schneider and Penny Taylor.
Most notably from the list are three WNBA stars who have left tremendous legacies and impact on the league: Becky Hammon, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Penny Taylor.
Hammon, who’s dominated the W news cycle as of late, spent 15 years with the New York Liberty and San Antonio Stars. Alongside a fruitful international career playing in Euroleague and for the Russian Olympic Team, she is even better known for her coaching.
Hammon famously broke a myriad of barriers as the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach, first women interim head coach and first women Summer League coach. After breaking more barriers interviewing for NBA head coaching jobs, Hammon announced in January that she’d be returning to her roots and taking over as the Las Vegas Aces’ head coach.
Milton-Jones also had an extremely prolific WNBA career, winning two titles in Los Angles and three All-Star nods. In addition, Milton-Jones helped Team USA bring home the gold at the 2000 and 2008 Olympics. She began her coaching career after retiring from the W in 2016 and is currently the head coach of Old Dominion University’s women’s basketball program.
Alongside her fellow WNBA nominees, Penny Taylor spent over a decade in the league, almost entirely in Phoenix with her now-wife Diana Taurasi. Taylor retired in 2017 with three championships and three All-Star appearances to show for her playing career. She followed her playing career with a couple of seasons on the Mercury’s coaching staff. Outside the W, she played many seasons in Europe and was a crucial figure on the Australian National Team.
Taylor won two Olympic silver medals and one FIBA World Championship gold medal for her home country. And became one of the most successful players to come out of Australia and paved the way for future Aussies to transition to the W seamlessly.
Other than these big three of the W, Alice “Cookie” Barron and Cathy Boswell were the other players acknowledged. Barron helped the US win a gold medal at the 1957 FIBA World Championships and Boswell was a 1984 Olympic gold medalist.
Other than players, the list also acknowledges many long-time collegiate coaches. Doug Bruno spent 36 years at DePaul University in which he led his teams to tournament play for 24 years. Paul Sanderford spent 25 seasons coaching and finished with a 453-189 career record. Bob Schneider ended his career with an all-time 1,045-293 record, only producing two losing seasons in 40 years.
Contributors Debbie Antonelli and Donna Lopiano also garnered shoutouts. Two-time Emmy winner Antonelli is beginning her 34th year commentating basketball while Lopiano served as the former chief executive officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation and director of women’s athletics at the University of Texas at Austin.
The sole official on the list, Lisa Mattingly, spent 33 years officiating college and WNBA play at the highest level. She called the Final Four Championship game ten times and playoff W basketball from 2000 to 2007.
On Feb. 14, the Class of 2022 inductee list will be announced, and the induction ceremony will take place on June 11 in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.