Women’s NBA Pioneer Lusia Harris dies at 66

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The first woman to be drafted by an NBA team and scored the first points in women’s basketball history at the Olympics, Lusia Harris, has died at the age of 66 in her native Mississippi.  

Harris aided Delta State University in winning three straight national titles in the 1970s and received a silver medal for the United States at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. At Delta State she averaged 25.9 points and 14.4 rebounds, pushing the team to a 109-6 record during the time she was there. Harris remains the school’s all-time leader in scoring (2,981 points) and rebounding (1,662) 

In 1975, Harris was named to the U.S. women’s team, the following year women’s basketball made its debut in the Olympics where Harris scored the first points in the first game of the tournament. Harris was later drafted by the New Orleans Jazz in the seventh round in 1977 but did not try out for the teams because of her pregnancy.  

Harris was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 as the first Black woman to earn that symbol of honor. Harris was later included in 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,” her family said in a statement. 


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