Before UConn — which heads to the Final Four in Dallas this weekend in search of its fifth consecutive title — ever heard of women playing basketball, the state of Texas had created an empire, whose beginnings were rooted in West Texas. Here’s a look at the top 10 women’s basketball players to come out of Texas, listed alphabetically:
Tamika Catchings: The daughter of the NBA big man Harvey Catchings, young Catchings, of Duncanville, has proved to be one of the WNBA’s steadiest performers.
Erin Grant: The Mansfield High School star guard and McDonald’s All-American was the only player in Texas history to win four consecutive Class 5A titles.
Clarissa Davis-Wright: As a freshman, the future Naismith Player of the Year, led Texas to a undefeated national-championship season in 1986, the first unbeaten women’s team in the NCAA.
Britney Griner: Baylor star’s size was transcendent during a dominating career in Waco.
Lometa Odom: The Dimmitt native was the first star of women’s basketball in Texas, she led Wayland to the first of many in what turned out to be 131 straight victories and four consecutive AAU titles.
Jill Rankin Schneider: Phillips High Schooler one of Wayland Baptist’s last stars before transferring to Tennessee and a place on the 1980 Olympic team.
Odyssey Sims: A national champion at Baylor, the former Irving High standout averaged 28.5 points per game as a senior at Baylor.
Sheryl Swoopes: Considered simply the best to ever play the women’s game by many, Swoopes was the lead on an NCAA national champion, an Olympic gold medal winner and WNBA champion.
Alicia Thompson: The Big Lake native a first-round pick of the Indiana Fever before winning a championship with the Seattle Storm.
Teresa Weatherspoon: Selected a member of the 20 best players in the WNBA’s first 20 years. She’s from Pineland.