The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame announced the class of 2017 on ESPN2 during the telecast of the Maryland at Michigan State game. The six members of the Class of 2017 are: Sally Bell (official), Christine Grant (contributor), Rick Insell (coach), Louise O'Neal (veteran), Sheryl Swoopes (player) and Kara Wolters (player).
The Class of 2017 will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, receiving their coveted Eastman Trophy and Baron Championship Induction Ring, on June 10, 2017 in Knoxville, Tennessee. With the induction of the Class of 2017, the Hall of Fame has honored 157 inductees.
In addition to inducting the Class of 2017, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame will recognize the 1975, 1976 and 1977 Delta State women's basketball teams for their contributions to the game with a display at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame entitled "Trailblazers of the Game." The Delta State teams will join seven other teams and organizations that have been recognized as "Trailblazers of the Game." The Delta State teams won three consecutive AIAW National Championships during those years, with an overall record of 93-4.
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors serves as the selection committee in determining which individuals will be inducted each year and which groups will be honored as "Trailblazers of the Game." 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.
The mission of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is to "honor the past, celebrate the present, and promote the future" of women's basketball.
NOTE: The following bio capsules highlight a few major accomplishments, but not the comprehensive contributions many of these individuals have made.
SALLY BELL (Official)
- Thirty-three-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.
CHRISTINE GRANT (Contributor)
- Founding member of Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women.
- 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.
RICK INSELL (Coach)
- Led Shelbyville Central High School (Shelbyville, Tennessee) to 10 state championships, two USA TODAY national championships.
- More than 1,000 victories at Shelbyville High School and Middle Tennessee State.
- 1992 WBCA High School National Coach of the Year.
LOUISE O'NEAL (Veteran)
- Led Southern Connecticut 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.
SHERYL SWOOPES (U.S. Player)
- Three-time Olympic gold medalist.
- Led Houston Comets to four WNBA Championships.
- 1993 WBCA Wade Trophy winner and Naismith Player of the Year.
KARA WOLTERS (U.S. Player)
- 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.
1975, 1976 and 1977 DELTA STATE TEAMS (Trailblazers)
- Three consecutive AIAW National Championships.
- Overall record of 93-4 during those three years, including 51 straight victories.
- Produced two Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductees — Margaret Wade (Class of 1999) and Lusia Harris Stewart (Class of 1999).