|Friday, March 2
Woodard also one to remember
By Mechelle Voepel
Special to ESPN.com
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Just as children now look up to Jackie Stiles, she looked up to former Kansas superstar Lynette Woodard.
"The things she did on the floor, she was just amazing," Stiles said. "I remember when I was a little kid seeing her with the Globetrotters. You know, what an incredible athlete and person."
In all the celebration of Stiles breaking the NCAA Division I scoring record, Woodard needs to be remembered. She set the AIAW large school record, 3,649 points, during her career from 1977-81.
Stiles won't touch that; maybe no one ever will.
The NCAA took over the administration of women's basketball for the 1981-82 season, and I can see some justification for the organization keeping its own records. But there is no justification for it not acknowledging the AIAW records.
It's wrong that the NCAA's abbreviated two-page version doesn't include complete AIAW information, including AIAW tournament brackets, in its record books.
Coaches such as Pat Summitt, Leon Barmore, Theresa Grentz, Jody Conradt, etc., ought to use the power they have to demand this. There's no reason that the first era of organized collegiate women's basketball should be treated as if it never happened.
Woodard, especially, has been mistreated on many levels. The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame still hasn't inducted her because it decided to implement a rule that players' careers had to be over for five years before induction -- and it counts her two seasons in the WNBA, 1997 and '98.
This is so ridiculous that it's hard to believe anybody involved really thought it through logically. Haven't players such as Woodard waited long enough for recognition?
The rule was waived, as it should have been, for Nancy Lieberman-Cline, who also played in the WNBA. The reason I was told is that it already had been made public that Lieberman-Cline was in the first class of inductees back when the Hall of Fame was still trying to get built, before the WNBA came into existence. Thus, it was determined that she couldn't be taken out retroactively.
Which makes perfect sense. But why wasn't Lynette Woodard in that first class, too?
I don't know what can be done with the Hall of Fame, but the movers and shakers in women's basketball can do something about both Woodard and Stiles getting recognition at the Final Four later this month in St. Louis. Both should be honored on court there and acknowledged as the top two scorers of their respective eras.
"I know there's been some controversy about whether the NCAA would count her record," Stiles said. "But even if they don't recognize it, everybody's still going to know what a great player she was."
Well, Stiles knows. But everybody at the Final Four this year should know, too.
Mechelle Voepel of the Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.