Lusia Harris Biography, Wiki, Age, Career, Death, Cause of Death | Who was Lusia Harris? Bio, Wiki

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Who was Lusia Harris?

Lusia Harris (February 10, 1955 – January 18, 2022) was an American basketball player. Harris is considered to be one of the pioneers of women’s basketball. She played for Delta State University and won three consecutive Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Championships, the predecessors to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, from 1975 to 1977.

At the international level, she represented the United States’ national team and won the silver medal in the 1976 Olympic Games, the first women’s basketball tournament in the Olympic Games. She played professional basketball with the Houston Angels of the Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) and was the first and only woman ever officially drafted by the National Basketball Association (NBA), a men’s professional basketball league.

For her achievements, Harris was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lusia Harris, the only woman officially drafted by an NBA team, dies at 66

Lusia Harris, the only woman officially drafted by an NBA team, dies at 66
Lusia Harris, the only woman officially drafted by an NBA team, dies at 66

Lusia Harris, who became the only woman to be officially drafted by an NBA team and scored the first points in women’s basketball history at the Olympics, died Tuesday, her family announced. She was 66.

“We are deeply saddened to share the news that our angel, matriarch, sister, mother, grandmother, Olympic medalist, The Queen of Basketball, Lusia Harris has passed away unexpectedly today in Mississippi,” the family said in a statement. “The recent months brought Ms. Harris great joy, including the news of the upcoming wedding of her youngest son and the outpouring of recognition received by a recent documentary that brought worldwide attention to her story.”

Harris, who died in her native Mississippi, was drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round in 1977, but didn’t try out for the team because she was pregnant at the time. The San Francisco Warriors tried to draft Denise Long in 1969, but the NBA blocked it because she didn’t meet the criteria to be drafted — in part because of her gender.

Harris helped Delta State University win three straight national titles in the 1970s and earned a silver medal for the United States at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Harris was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 as the first Black woman to earn that honor. She was later enshrined into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

“She will be remembered for her charity, for her achievements both on and off the court, and the light she brought to her community, the state of Mississippi, her country as the first woman ever to score a basket in the Olympics, and to women who play basketball around the world,” the statement said.

Lusia Harris Biography, Wiki

Harris was born in Minter City, Mississippi to Ethel Harris and Willie Harris, a cranberry farmer. She is the fourth of five daughters and the tenth of eleven children, all of whom attended Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, Mississippi. All of her brothers and one of her older sisters, Janie, also played basketball.

Harris played basketball under coach Conway Stewart in high school. She won the most valuable player award three years in a row, served as team captain, and made the state All-Star team. She scored a school-record 46 points in one game and led her school to the state tournament in Jackson, Mississippi.

After her high school graduation, she had planned to attend Alcorn State University, which did not have a women’s basketball team. However, she was recruited by Melvin Hemphill to play for Margaret Wade, who was restarting a collegiate women’s team at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi. She attended school on a combination of academic scholarships and work-study funds since this was prior to Title IX.

Lusia Harris Biography Wikipedia
Lusia Harris
BornFebruary 10, 1955
Minter City, Mississippi
DiedJanuary 18, 2022 (aged 66)
Greenwood, Mississippi
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High schoolAmanda Elzy
(Greenwood, Mississippi)
CollegeDelta State (1973–1977)
NBA draft1977 / Round: 7 / Pick: 137th overall
PositionCenter

Lusia Harris Career

In her first year in Delta State, Harris helped the Lady Statesmen to a 16–2 record. However, they finished third in the regional tournament and failed to qualify to the national tournament. The following year, the Lady Statesmen qualified to the national tournament at Harrisonburg, Virginia.

They went all the way to the final where they met the Mighty Macs of Immaculata University who had won the last three consecutive AIAW championships. In the final, Harris scored 32 points and recorded 16 rebounds to lead Delta State past Immaculata 90–81. The 1975 championship game was televised nationally (albeit delayed).

This is the first year that women’s basketball games were nationally televised by a major network. That season, Delta State went undefeated in with a 28–0 record, the only undefeated college season that year (men or women). Harris scored a total of 138 points and 63 rebounds in four games at the national tournament and was named as the tournament’s most valuable player.

In the 1975–76 season, Delta State and Immaculata met again in the national tournament final. Harris again led Delta State with 30 points and 18 rebounds in a 69–64 victory. That season, she led the nation in scoring with 1,060 points and a 31.2 points per game average, including a 58-point game against Tennessee Tech.

In her senior season, Delta State played a game in the Madison Square Garden, in which Harris scored 47 points. This was one of the first women’s basketball game ever played there. Delta State then went to the national tournament final for the third year in a row. In the final, Harris scored 23 points and recorded 16 rebounds as Delta State defeated Louisiana State University 68–55 for their third consecutive title.

Harris was named as the national tournament’s most valuable player and to the All-American first team during Delta State’s three winning seasons. Her college career record was 109–6, and included victories over later NCAA Division I powerhouses such as Immaculata University, University of Tennessee, Baylor University, University of Mississippi, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Tech University.

Harris finished her college career with 2,981 points and 1,662 rebounds, averaging 25.9 points and 14.5 rebounds per game. She also graduated with fifteen of eighteen Delta State’s team, single game, and career records. In 1977, she won the inaugural Honda Sports Award for basketball, as well as the Broderick Cup, an award for outstanding female athletes in college.

Lusia Harris FAQ’s

Who was Lusia Harris?

Lusia Harris (February 10, 1955 – January 18, 2022) was an American basketball player. Harris is considered to be one of the pioneers of women’s basketball. She played for Delta State University and won three consecutive Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) National Championships, the predecessors to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships, from 1975 to 1977.

How did Lusia Harris die?

Harris died unexpectedly in Greenwood on January 18, 2022, less than a month before her 67th birthday. No cause of death was given.

How did Lusia Harris die?

Lusia Harris died at 66.

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