NORFOLK, Va. (ODUSports.com) – Old Dominion women’s basketball head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones is one of 12 finalists for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022, the organization announced late Thursday night. Milton-Jones has found success along every stop of her decorated basketball career.
“I’m humbly honored to be recognized as a finalist for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame,” Milton-Jones said. “It would be the cherry on top of my amazing career within the game I love dearly. What an amazing group of powerful pioneers of the game to be amongst. I’m truly grateful!”
Milton-Jones is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, doing so in 2000 and 2008, and missed out on participating in the 2004 games due to injury. She also won a pair of WNBA titles, helping the Los Angeles Sparks go back-to-back in 2001 and 2002. She retired in 2006 after a 17-year career with the league’s record for most games played (499) – a record that has since been broken by fellow great Sue Bird. Milton-Jones was a WNBA All-Star in 2000 and 2007 and represented the U.S. Olympic Team in The Game at Radio City in 2004, an exhibition between the U.S. Olympic Team and a roster of WNBA stars that took the place of a traditional all-star game. In all, Milton-Jones played for Atlanta, New York, Washington and San Antonio, in addition to Los Angeles. Her 5,571 career points rank 16th in WNBA history. She also made stops in Spain, Italy, Turkey, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Russia to play professionally.
Milton-Jones was the second overall pick in the 1997 ABL Draft and then the fourth overall pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft, following an accolade-laden collegiate career at Florida. As a senior in 1996-97, she won the Wade Trophy as the best player in women’s basketball and received First Team All-American honors from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the Associated Press and Basketball Times. Milton-Jones was SEC Player of the Year in 1997 and was voted First Team All-SEC. She was also named Most Outstanding Player of the 1997 Mideast Regional, leading the Gators to the Elite Eight and an icon game with the eventual national runner-up Monarchs. She also received first team all-conference honors in 1996, was a second team honoree in 1995 and made the all-freshman team in 1994. In 2007, she was inducted into the Florida Gator Hall of Fame.
Her coaching career began in 2005, when she was appointed interim coach of the Los Angeles Stars midway through the season. At the time, Milton-Jones was just the second woman to coach a men’s professional team. Milton-Jones took over the Pepperdine women’s basketball program for the 2017-18 season and guided the Waves to one of their best ever seasons in 2018-19 with a 22-10 record and an appearance in the WNIT Sweet 16. Those 22 wins were the most since 2002 and 12 more than the season prior. The WNIT bid was the first postseason tournament appearance in program history.
Milton-Jones assumed control of the storied Old Dominion program before the 2019-20 season and guided the Monarchs through turbulent times in her first season. ODU won seven of its final nine games that season and reached the semifinals of the Conference USA Tournament as a shorthanded but determined No. 6 seed. The Monarchs currently sit at 13-3 in her second season.
Joining Milton-Jones as finalists for the 2022 Class are Debbie Antonelli (Contributor), Alice "Cookie" Barron (Veteran Player), Evelyn Blalock (Coach), Cathy Boswell (Player), Doug Bruno (Coach), Becky Hammon (Player), Donna Lopiano (Contributor), Lisa Mattingly (Official), Paul Sanderford (Coach), Bob Schneider (Coach) and Penny Taylor (International Player). The Class of 2022 will be selected from the 12 finalists and announced on February 14 during the Maryland at Iowa game on ESPN2 (9 p.m. ET).