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Delta State Athletics | January 19, 2022

Lusia Harris-Stewart, Delta State women's basketball record holder and revolutionary, dies

Wayne Cavadi's top second-half storylines for DII women's basketball

GREENWOOD, Miss. — The Delta State University athletics family mourns the death of Lusia Harris, who passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 18. 

One of the greatest women's basketball players to ever grace the court, "Lucy," as she was affectionately known to most, was part of three AIAW National Championship-winning teams (1975, 1976, and 1977) for the Delta State women's basketball team.

"We are deeply saddened to share the news that our angel, matriarch, sister, mother, grandmother, Olympic medalist, The Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris has passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi," the family said in a statement. "The recent months brought Ms. Harris great joy, including the news of the upcoming wedding of her youngest son and the outpouring of recognition received by a recent documentary that brought worldwide attention to her story."

HISTORY: DII women's basketball programs with the most NCAA DII national championships

A native of Minter City, Miss., Harris still owns a plethora of Lady Statesmen basketball records, and also has the honor of holding another distinction: at the 1976 Olympics, Lucy scored the first points ever recorded in an Olympic women's basketball game. 

Harris is still Delta State's career record holder in points (2,891) and rebounds (1,662), and averaged 25.9 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in 115 career games played. Harris shot an astonishing 63.3 percent from the field in her illustrious collegiate career. 

She holds the distinction as being the first female collegiate player inducted in the National Basketball Hall of Fame (1992), and is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (1999). She is also a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (1990) and the Delta State Sports Hall of Fame (1983).

Harris collected Kodak All-American honors in 1975, 1976, and 1977, and was the Mississippi Sportsperson of the Year in 1976. She also became the first and only woman drafted by the NBA, when the New Orleans Jazz selected her in the 1977 draft. 

Harris is also the subject of "The Queen of Basketball," a short documentary directed by award-winning filmmaker Ben Proudfoot, which gained national attention at a screening at the 20th annual Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, In New York. Fans can watch the documentary HERE.

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