Women's Hoops Blog

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Contrary to rumor, Anne Donovan is not going to suit up for the short-handed Storm.

'cause if she WERE going to suit up, it would have been for the Lib. And boy, would she have dominated.

Which gives me a moment to ask, is Anne Donovan the quietest, most under-appreciated legend of women's basketball?

I'll be honest, when I think about the greats, my mind does not leap to AD. Then I looked at her resume. Holy crap. The Monarch Notes version (oooo! unintended pun!)
As a freshman at Old Dominion University, the 6’8” Donovan won the 1980 AIAW national championship. A three-time All-American, in 1983 she was named first women’s winner of the Naismith Award for player of the year. Donovan’s tenure with USA Basketball began in 1977 as a 15-year-old on the inaugural Jones Cup team. Named to the 1980 Olympic team that didn’t play because of the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games, she won Olympic gold in 1984 and in 1988.

Inducted as a player into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, Donovan has found coaching from the sidelines equally successful. An assistant for the 1998 and 2002 World Championship gold medal winning squads, she also served as an assistant coach to Van Chancellor in 2004 as the United States claimed the gold medal in Athens. After the Olympics, she returned to coach the Seattle Storm and made history as the first female coach to win a WNBA championship.

This past August, she achieved another milestone as she guided the USA National team to its fourth consecutive gold medal during the Beijing Olympics.
Considering she started playing basketball because someone else made her (the old "you're tall you should play basketball" saw) we are damn fortunate she fell in love with the game. And, shy as she is, when it comes to women's basketball she has no qualms about speaking her mind.
Seattle’s Donovan can’t help but feel disappointed in what she sees as a lack of support from the college ranks. “I don’t know how much they watch the game, how much they really play close attention to it. I can speculate about why that is, but I’ll leave that alone and just say it’s frustrating. Because this is a great game. Pity the person that’s still looking at this league ten years ago when it started out. They just gave up on it back then? Where would we be in women’s basketball if we had all done that back then? The game has grown, the talent has grown, the coaching has grown. And it’s a game that needs to be promoted within our own ranks.”
So, here's to Anne Donovan. Someone throw up some YouTube of her in action, would ya?

Oh, will you look at that! (Thanks, ESPN)

Make sure you check out the other "Legends of Our Game" clips.