Athletics

Yolanda Griffith to enter elite ranks of basketball immortality

griffithFormer Palm Beach State College basketball powerhouse and Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith will be honored as one of the greatest in the sport as she takes the stage on June 14 to be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

Griffith, who is currently a first assistant coach at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., will be one of six women inducted that day. They include Lin Dunn (coach), Michelle Edwards (player), Mimi Griffin (contributor), Jasmina Perazic (player) and Charlotte West (contributor). Griffith, along with the other inductees, will give a brief speech during the ceremony.

She plans to bring 10 family members to the ceremony, including her two daughters Alicia and Candace. Also attending will be Gloria Smith, Griffith’s high school coach from George Washington Carver Military Academy (formerly known as George Washington Carver Area High School) in Chicago and Maura McHugh, her mentor and coach with the Sacramento Monarchs.

During her speech, she plans to dedicate the honor to her daughters as well as thank the Hall of Fame for their support.

“I am so grateful and humbled to be one of the inductees this year,” said Griffith. “But more importantly, I want to thank the Hall of Fame for giving the women in this sport a special place to land when their careers are over.”

Even though Griffith’s playing days are behind her, she can still be seen from the sidelines at Lafayette, where she lends her expertise to current up-and-comers in the sport.

“Nothing beats playing,” said Griffith. “But knowing I am helping to develop tomorrow’s leaders just about equals that joy.”

Sharing in that joy is the leadership team at Lafayette, who are thrilled to have a soon to be Hall of Famer helping lead their basketball program.

“We are so very fortunate to have such a gifted individual on our staff helping to shape the lives of the student-athletes in our program,” said Dr. Bruce E. McCutcheon, director of athletics at Lafayette College. “Though Yo is incredibly accomplished as a basketball player, her true talent may very well be in her ability to connect with her students, guiding them through the challenge of blossoming into accomplished young women. All of us at Lafayette congratulate Yolanda on her induction and thank her for her continued contributions to Lafayette.”

Team Photo
The PBCC Women’s Basketball team from 1989-90. Griffith sits beside #25.

During her two seasons at PBSC, then Palm Beach Community College, Griffith led the Lady Panthers to back-to-back state championships in 1989-90 and 90-91 and to the seventh and third spot, respectively, in the nation. A two-time first team All-State and two-time All-Region for the Florida College System Activities Association (formerly the Florida Community College Activities Association), she averaged 26.7 points, 19.7 rebounds and 6.2 steals during her last year at PBCC.

After PBCC, she transferred to Florida Atlantic University where she played from 1992-93. Griffith holds the FAU single season record for points scored (621), scoring average (28.2), field goal percentage (.631), rebounds (352), and rebounding average (16.0), despite playing in just 22 games.

Among her post collegiate career highlights, she played 11 years in the Women’s National Basketball Association, leading the Sacramento Monarchs to a win in the 2005 WNBA Championship, where she was named Finals MVP. Griffith led the Monarchs to back-to-back WNBA Finals appearances in 2005 and 2006. She also won Olympic gold medals in 2000 and 2004 as a member of the U.S. women’s basketball team. For a complete list of Griffith’s career accomplishments, click here.

Griffith was chosen by the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors, which serves as the selection committee in determining which individuals will be inducted each year. Voting is based on various factors, which include moral character, integrity, sportsmanship, record of performance, ability, national or international recognition, and contributions to the game of women’s basketball.

To follow Griffith on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/Yo_Yo33. To purchase tickets to the ceremony, call (865) 633-9000.

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