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She Got Handles

Feb 14: Today’s Black History Month post honors a world-class hooper, Lynette Woodard.  A native of Wichita, Kansas, Woodard made history in 1985 by becoming the first female member of the elite Harlem Globetrotters.  As a young basketball player Woodard led her high school team to a state championship and was named an All-American.  Woodard attended the University of Kansas.  While earning a degree in speech communications and public relations, she managed to set all-time NCAA women’s basketball records in points scored (3,649), field goals made (1,572) and field goals attempted (2,994).  She also set Kansas records in rebounds (1,714), free throws made (505), steals (522) and games played (139).  Because there was no WNBA when Woodard graduated in 1981, she took her talents to Europe and dominated in the Italian women’s league.  In 1984, Woodard led the US to Olympic gold but retired shortly thereafter.  While working at her alma mater, Woodard was given the opportunity to come out of retirement and tryout for the Globetrotters.  After making the team, she said sayonara to retirement and hit the road with the Globetrotters.  After her historic run, Woodard again tried her hand at retirement, but like the famous no. 23, she couldn’t stay away.  In 1997, she signed on to play in the WNBA and, after two years, finally permanently retired.  Woodard has been inducted into a whopping 10 halls of fame including the Naismith Hall of Fame, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the African-American Sports Hall of Fame.  For breaking down gender barriers and being a world-class athlete, Lynette Woodard is today’s Black History GladiatHer


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