INDIANAPOLIS---The NCAA honored the 1976 USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team during an on-court celebration at the Women’s Final Four. The team earned the silver medal in the first year the Olympic Games began hosting women’s basketball.
“The 1976 USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team were true trailblazers in the sport of women’s basketball and paved the way for generations to follow,” said Anucha Browne, vice president of women’s basketball championships. “They set the mark of excellence for women’s basketball in our country, and it’s our great pleasure to welcome them and celebrate their historic achievement at this year’s NCAA Women’s Final Four.”
The first Olympic competition consisted of a single round-robin tournament where the final standings were determined by group rankings. Led by head coach, Billie Moore, the U.S. team defeated Bulgaria, Canada and Czechoslovakia en route to winning the silver medal. Since their groundbreaking run, women’s basketball has continued to develop in the U.S., and the 2016 Women’s Final Four is a testament to what the 1976 team first began 40 years prior.
“I am excited to be returning to the Women’s Final Four, where the level of talent and coaching has increased beyond what I ever imagined in my lifetime,” said Gail Marquis, member on the 1976 USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team. “My 1976 teammates and coaches are all very dear and special in my life and I look forward to a long overdue reunion with them in Indy.”
Members of the 1976 USA Olympic Women’s Basketball team that will be recognized include: Billie Moore, Gail Marquis, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Mary Anne O'Connor, Sue Rojcewicz, Juliene Simpson, Nancy Lieberman, Lucy Harris, Trish Roberts, Nancy Dunkle, Cindy Brogdon and Pat Summitt.
Players being honored in memoriam: Gail Weldon, Jeanne Rowlands, Charlotte Lewis and Sue Gunter.
The 1976 team has produced 11 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees and set the standard for international play, beginning a run of dominance unmatched by any other nation in women’s basketball. Since the 1976 Olympics, the USA Women’s Basketball Teams have won seven Olympic gold medals, including the last five-in-a-row.