2011 Year in Review: Remembering those we lost

The women’s basketball world lost several beloved players and coaches in the past year. The slideshow begins at the end of the 2010 to include Rosalind Ross, Janice Joseph-Richard and Kristen Zawacki.

Rosalind Ross

Former Oklahoma star Rosalind Ross was killed in her hometown of Milwaukee on September 15, 2010. A native of Milwaukee, Ross was a star at Milwaukee Tech before playing on the junior college level at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. She finished her collegiate career at Oklahoma and was a member of the 2002 team that reached the NCAA Finals. She scored 17 points in the game. The Sooners lost to Connecticut 82-70. Ross and teammate Stacey Dales were the first Sooners ever named to a Final Four All-Tournament team.

“She was an integral part of that incredibly special 2002 national runner-up team that put our program on the map,” said Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale. “She was the consummate competitor, a teammate in the truest sense of the word. Her contribution and legacy are forever etched in our program’s history.”

Oklahoma photo gallery.

Janice Joseph-Richard

Louisiana College women’s basketball coach Janice Joseph-Richard succumbed to breast cancer in late November 2010 after fighting the disease for five years. The former All-American who coached at her alma mater was 46. Previously, she coached at San Jose State and Xavier University in New Orleans. During her time at SJSU she led the program to 17 wins in 2002 and named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

“Everything about her was class,” said LC President, Dr. Joe Aguillard. “She was in touch with what mattered. She was just so real.”

Kristen Zawacki

St. Vincent College head coach Kristen Zawacki, 52, died of a heart attack at her home on December 25, 2010. She was the first and only coach of the Division III Catholic college in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. She got the program off the ground in 1983 and earned her 500th victory during the 2009-2010 season. She amassed a 512-276 career record and the Bearcats reached the postseason 23 times, including nine District 18 titles, four American Mideast Conference titles, and eight trips to the NAIA National Tournament. Her 500th victory came three years after the team transitioned to DIII in a victory of powerhouse Thomas More College. Zawacki played basketball at Penn State.

Tina Stewart

Middle Tennessee junior guard Tina Stewart died March 2 after being stabbed to death. Police arrested her roommate, Shanterrica Madden, an 18-year-old freshman, in connection with the murder and the case has yet to go to trial. Stewart, 21, was a native of Memphis and played high school basketball at Central High School. In her last game, the regular season finale for the 2010-11 season, Stewart played 20 minutes and finished with seven points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist. The win earned the Blue Raiders a bye in the first round of the Sun Belt conference tournament

Margo Dydek

Former WNBA player and fan favorite Margo Dydek passed away in Australia on May 27 at the age of 37 after suffering from a heart attack and being placed in a medically-induced coma. Originally from Poland, the late 7-foot-2 player was the first pick in the 1998 WNBA draft. She played for 10 seasons in the league including time with the Utah Starzz, the San Antonio Silver Stars, the Connecticut Sun and the Los Angeles Sparks before retiring after the 2008 season. She was pregnant at the time of her death and the child did not survive. She left behind a husband and two young sons.

Shannon Washington

Florida A&M lost player Shannon Washington in the fall. Starquineshia Palmer, 20, who was visiting Washington, stabbed her to death on September 4 in Tallahassee. Palmer was charged with first degree murder.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to Shannon’s family and members of the Lady Rattlers Basketball Team,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “For Shannon to be killed in the prime of her life is tragic and senseless. She had so much promise as a student athlete. This is a great loss for the university and our athletic program.”

Washington was a standout basketball player at Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC) earning All-American honors both seasons at IVCC. A native of Sarasota, Fla., her success at IVCC earned her the distinction of having a replica of her jersey to be honored in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. She was expected to play as a  shooting guard this season.

Tayshana Murphy

New York City prep star Tayshana “Chicken” Murphy (Murry Bergtraum) was gunned down in the wee hours of September 11 in a building stairwell in Morningside Heights in Manhattan in a possible case of mistaken identity related to gang violence. Hundreds of mourners from all five boroughs attended her funeral in Astoria, Queens. The nationally-ranked prep star had dreams of playing in the WNBA.

Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna

The entire women’s basketball world went into shock after learning about the deaths of Oklahoma State University head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna in a plane crash on November 17. The two were traveling with longtime supporters of OSU women’s basketball and alumni Olin and Paula Branstetter on a recruiting trip to Arkansas.

“The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.

Budke was in his seventh season as Cowgirl coach, with an all-time record of 112-83. Under his direction, OSU made postseason appearances each of the past five seasons, including three trips to the NCAA tournament.

He was a native of Salina, Kansas and left behind a wife and three children.

Serna was in her seventh season as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. She previously worked in the same capacity at Louisiana Tech under Budke.

Serna helped guide the resurgence of the OSU women’s basketball as the program’s recruiting coordinator. As a player, the Guadalupita, New Mexico native helped lead Trinity Valley Community College to the NJCAA national title in 1996 and finished her collegiate career at Houston.

Memorial video

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