Moore, Augustus hail Lynx reign at HOF ceremony

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus gave the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony a huge Minnesota feel.

Moore and Augustus helped the Lynx win four WNBA championships in their time with the team.

“I’m hard-pressed to think of another dynasty that had a better combination of talent, character and visible chemistry on the court and the league’s teams that I played for,” Moore said Saturday night.

Augustus, who peppered her speech with a lot of humor, put it simply: “We like to win and win a lot.”

The pair led the U.S. to Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016, while Augustus was also part of the 2008 team.

Other inductees included former players Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who played her final two years with the Lynx, and Rita Gail Easterling; former official Violet Palmer, the first woman to referee an NBA game; and coaches Sue Phillips and Roonie Scovel.

The Hall of Fame also recognized Cheyney University — formerly Cheyney State — as its recipient of the “Trailblazer of the Game.” The team, coached by former Iowa and Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, was the first and only HBCU to reach the championship game of the NCAA tournament, doing so in 1982.

Former player Valerie Walker asked why it took so long for the team to get recognized.

“We are very thankful, but 42 years?” she said.

She brought up that the shirts sold at that Final Four had only three teams on them and didn’t mention Cheyney State.

“When you want to really understand and know about the history of women’s NCAA championships, you have to go back to the first year,” Walker said.

The Afghan Resettlement Program received the “For the Love of the Game” award.

Moore officially retired from playing basketball in January — five years after she played her last game with the Lynx. In between her last game and her retirement announcement, Moore helped her now-husband, Jonathan Irons, win his release from prison by getting his 50-year sentence overturned in 2020.

She went 150-4 in her career at UConn. The two-time AP Player of the Year and four-time All-American was a key part of the Huskies’ 90-game winning streak that was the longest ever until the school had a 111-game run a few years later.

Augustus was drafted first by the Lynx in 2006 after winning back-to-back AP Player of the Year awards while starring at LSU. She led the Tigers to the Final Four from 2004 to 2006.

McWilliams-Franklin played on the 2011 Lynx team with Moore and Augustus. She also won WNBA titles with the Detroit Shock in 2006 and 2008.

Easterling played for Mississippi College from 1973 to 1977, helping the team make the 1974 AIAW national championship game. She had a short career in the Women’s Professional Basketball League, a precursor to the WNBA.

Phillips had a 761-165 record as a high school coach at Archbishop Mitty High in California. She was a major part of USA Basketball, coaching many of the youth teams that won gold medals.

Scovel won six junior college national titles as coach of Gulf Coast State College in Florida. She went 646-91.

Palmer officiated at nearly every level, including the NBA, WNBA and women’s college basketball. She made history in 1997 when she became the first woman to officiate an NBA game.

It is the 25th anniversary of the Hall of Fame.

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