Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 finalists announced

The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 12 finalists for induction into the Class of 2017. The finalists:
  • Yelena Baranova (player)
  • Rose Marie Battaglia (coach)
  • Sally Bell (official)
  • Evelyn Blalock (coach)
  • Joan Bonvicini (coach)
  • Nora Lynn Finch (contributor)
  • Christine Grant (contributor)
  • Rick Insell (coach)
  • Louise O’Neal (veteran)
  • Crystal Robinson (player)
  • Sheryl Swoopes (player)
  • Kara Wolters (player)
The six-member Class of 2017 will be selected from the 12 finalists and announced on ESPN on February 12. Below is the selection timeline for the Class of 2017:
  • January 16, 2017: Announce 12 finalists for the Class of 2017.
  • February 12, 2017: Announce the six-member Class of 2017 along with 2017 Trailblazers Award winner.
  • April 2017: Introduce Class of 2017 and 2017 Trailblazers Award winner at Women’s Final Four.
  • June 10, 2017: Induction of Class of 2017.
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors serves as the selection committee in determining the individuals to be inducted each year. Voting is based on minimum candidate requirements, which include record of performance, national or international recognition, and contributions to the game of women’s basketball.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame – Class of 2017 Finalists 
Bios provided by WBHOF
YELENA BARANOVA (Foreign Player – Russia)
  • 1992 Olympic gold medalist.
  • Fifth all-time in WNBA blocked shots.
  • 2001 WNBA All-Star.
  • NJCAA Hall of Fame inductee with four NJCAA Final Fours in 38 years of coaching and an overall record of 702-240-2.
  • Led Paramus Catholic High School (Paramus, New Jersey) to two consecutive state championships.
  • 1998 WBCA Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
SALLY BELL (Official)
  • 33-year tenure as a women’s basketball official.
  • Officiated 15 NCAA Division I Women’s Final Fours, including 13 consecutive from 1992 through 2004, as well as the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
  • 1991 Naismith Women’s Basketball Official of the Year.
  • Led Kilgore College (Kilgore, Texas) to three NJCAA National Championships in 1988,1990 and 1993.
  • Named WBCA Junior/Community College National Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1990.
  • Inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame.
  • During her 37-year career, she was the 17th coach to reach 700 career victories.
  • 1981 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
  • 1982 USA Basketball Jones Cup head coach (silver medal) and 1993 World University Games head coach (bronze medal).
NORA LYNN FINCH (Contributor)
  • Served as inaugural chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee from 1981 through 1988 and negotiated first women’s basketball tournament television contract.
  • NCAA representative to the U.S. Collegiate Sports Council from 1988 through 2017, and served as its president from 1992 through 1996.
  • Member of NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee, NCAA Division I Management Council, NCAA Division I Championships Cabinet (chair), NCAA Division I Membership Committee, NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Issues Committee (chair).
  • Founding member of Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).
  • Recipient of 2007 NCAA Gerald R. Ford Award, 1998 NCAA Honda Award of Merit, 1995 Women’s Sports Foundation Billie Jean King Contribution Award,1993 NACWAA Administrator of the Year, 1992 WBCA Administrator of the Year.
  • Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women at University of Iowa and consultant for the Civil Rights Title IX Task Force from 1973 through 2000.
  • Led Shelbyville Central High School (Shelbyville, Tennessee) to 10 state championships, two USA Today national championships.
  • More than 1000 victories at Shelbyville High School and Middle Tennessee State University.
  • 1992 WBCA High School National Coach of the Year.
  • Led Southern Connecticut University to third-place finishes in the National Women’s Collegiate Championships in 1971, 1973 and 1974, with eight straight appearances in the national championship tournament.
  • Served in several national leadership positions, including NCAA Long-Range Planning Committee, Women’s Basketball Rules Committee, and NACDA Executive Board.
  • Recipient of 2004 WBCA Jostens-Berenson Lifetime Achievement Award and 2011 NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Three-time ABL All-Star.
  • Three-time NAIA All-American and two-time NAIA national scoring leader.
  • 1996 NAIA National Player of the Year.
  • Three-time Olympic gold medalist.
  • Led Houston Comets to four WNBA Championships.
  • 1993 WBCA Wade Trophy winner and Naismith Player of the Year.
  • 2000 Olympic gold medalist.
  • 1997 AP National College Player of the Year.
  • 1996 Victor Award, USBWA, UPI and AP All-America First Team and 1997 WBCA Kodak All-American.
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