Catchings inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Catchings, who played for the Lady Vols from 1997-2001, is one of only two UT players to earn WBCA All-America accolades all four years of her career.
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 12:50 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - University of Tennessee women’s basketball legend Tamika Catchings finally in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The LVFL, whose expected induction in 2020 was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, joined seven others being celebrated at the Tennessee Theatre on Saturday evening in what has become the Class of 2021.

Catchings, who was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in May, joins fellow women’s hall inductees Debbie Brock (player/Delta State), Carol Callan (contributor/USA Basketball), Swin Cash (player/UConn, WNBA, U.S. Olympian), the late Sue Donohoe (contributor/NCAA), Lauren Jackson (player/WNBA, Australian Olympian), the late David Stern (contributor/NBA) and Carol Stiff (contributor/ESPN). The welcoming of Catchings into the women’s hall makes her the 10th player from UT to be so honored. She joins Cindy Noble Hauserman (2000), Patricia Roberts (2000), Holly Warlick (2001), Cindy Brogdon (2002), Daedra Charles-Furlow (2007), Bridgette Gordon (2007), Jill Rankin Schneider (2008), Nikki McCray-Penson (2012) and Chamique Holdsclaw (2018).

Also in the hall are the late, great head coach of the Lady Vols, Pat Summitt (1999), and longtime assistant coach Mickie DeMoss (2018) as well as former athletics directors Gloria Ray (2010) and Joan Cronan (2019) and former UTAD graduate assistant Beth Bass, head of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association for many years. The 1980 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team, which was prevented from having the opportunity to compete due to the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games, will be honored as Trailblazers of the Game. That squad had four with UT ties, including the late Pat Summitt serving as an assistant coach and Lady Vols Cindy Noble, Jill Rankin and Holly Warlick earning spots on the roster.

Catchings, who played for the Lady Vols from 1997-2001, is one of only two UT players to earn WBCA All-America accolades all four years of her career and was a four-time All-SEC recipient, including three times as a first-team honoree. The 6-1 forward from Duncanville, Texas, was a two-time All-Final Four recipient; the 2001 ESPY Awards Women’s Basketball Player of the Year; the 2000 Associated Press, WBCA, Naismith and U.S. Basketball Writers of America Player of the Year and the 1998 U.S. Basketball Writers of America and SEC Freshman of the Year.

Catchings also was a three-time SEC All-Tournament Team member, and two-time NCAA All-Regional Tournament honoree and two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Catchings played a key role as Tennessee went 39-0 and won an NCAA title in 1998 and also helped the Lady Vols to a runner-up national finish in 2000. Additionally, she was instrumental in the Big Orange winning four SEC regular season championships and three tournament crowns. In Lady Vol history, Catchings remains fourth in all-time scoring with 2,113 points and is sixth with 1,004 career rebounds. She is one of only two UT players to record 2,000 points and 1,000 caroms. Catchings continues to rank third in steals (311), fourth in career field goals (760) and free throws (471), and ninth in blocked shots (136). She also is tied for most games played in a season with 39.

Catchings played 15 seasons with the Indiana Fever, was named the 2011 WNBA MVP and led that franchise to the 2012 WNBA Championship, earning Finals MVP honors. Catchings was a 10-time WNBA All-Star, a 12-time All-WNBA Team selection, a five-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and the 2002 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She still holds the league’s all-time steals career mark and is employed by the Fever as vice president of basketball operations and general manager.

As a member of the U.S. Olympic team, Catchings won four consecutive gold medals with from 2002-2016, tying for the most golds ever won in women’s basketball by an American woman at that point and setting records for most Olympics participated in and most golds won by a Lady Vol. “I am grateful and honored to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” Catchings said. “I share this with all inductees, but especially my college coach, mentor and friend, Pat Summitt. She believed in me before I believed in myself, which provided opportunities beyond my imagination. Her influence in my life continues to inspire me to use my voice and my platform to impact future generations.”

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