By JOHN ALTAVILLA, firstname.lastname@example.org
9:03 PM EDT, June 12, 2010
Rebecca Lobo, the former UConn women's basketball star, became the first Huskies player inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday during ceremonies in Knoxville, Tenn.
Among those joining Lobo for her induction were her husband, Steve Rushin, UConn coach GenoAuriemma, UConn assistants Chris Dailey and Jack Eisenmann, former teammate Kara Wolters and current Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, a former UConn assistant.
She was presented to the Hall in a video presentation narrated by Auriemma and escorted to the stage by her parents, RuthAnn and Dennis. Ironically, this weekend was the first time Lobo had every visited the Women's Hall of Fame,
"She's a good person who tries to go about her life without carrying an air or arrogance," Rushin said. "I'm not saying that's something people should be congratulated about; too many people get credit for doing things they should be doing in their lives, like moving their lawns.
"But in the midst of some extraordinary circumstances in her life, she has not been affected at all. That's sometimes very hard to do when you are well known."
Lobo, 36, led UConn to its first undefeated season in 1995, was a member of the US Olympic gold medal team in 1996 and was one of the first players signed by the WNBA in 1997.
"It still feels like a dream to me. Much of it is still a blur. It was all such a whirlwind in many ways. I wish I had taken the time to keep a meticulous journal to help me remember it all," Lobo said last week.
"Probably the most memorable and meaningful part to me was my time at UConn and the national championship at UConn."
Lobo is still ranked seventh in UConn history in scoring (2,133 points), second in rebounding (1,268) and first in blocks (396). Tina Charles, now a rookie with the Connecticut Sun, surpassed her rebounding record this season.
Lobo was assigned to the New York Liberty during the league's first player allocation in 1997 and spent seven seasons in the league, five with the Liberty (1997-2001) and one season each with Houston and the Sun. She was on the league's first Eastern Conference All-Star Team in 1999.
Lobo ended her professional career with the Sun in 2003, but made a great impression on Sun coach Mike Thibault in that one season that still resonates.
"It's pretty special," Thibault said. "She spent most of her professional career injured, but she brought the women's game into focus for many who hadn't followed it before. She helped put the UConn program on the map along with her teammates.
"She was a mobile center who could score inside and outside. But she was so smart. She understood how to win and that it might take something new every night to do that."
Thibault provided an example of Lobo's unselfishness and intelligence.
"I remember a game in San Antonio that season when she was sore and beat up," Thibault said. "I told her that we'd just place her at the top of the key and let her swing the ball, but that she could shoot any time she was open so they would quick clogging the lane against us. She came out firing and made just about every shot she took for a long stretch.
"The key was that she understood what needed to be done. She was one of the smartest players I've ever been around."
Lobo joined Auriemma, inducted to both basketball Hall of Fames in 2006, as the program's only current members, although many more are sure to follow.
Lobo was joined in the Hall of Fame class by five others; Georgia star and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, Louisana Tech and WNBA player Teresa Weatherspoon, former Maryland coach Chris Weller, former Tennessee women's athletic director Gloria Ray and the Texas high school coach Leta Andrews.
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