Former USC women’s basketball player and legendary Trojan great Cynthia Cooper has secured herself among the basketball’s elite, earning induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. One of 13 women ever to be inducted as players, Cooper joins a class of eight fellow 2010 hall-of-famers — including Jerry Buss, who earned his master’s and doctorate in chemistry from USC and taught in the chemistry department – and two U.S. teams.
The 2010 Enshrinement Class, of which Cooper is a headline name, includes Jerry Buss, Bob Hurley Sr., Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen, along with two celebrated teams: the 1960 USA Men’s Olympic team and the 1992 USA Basketball “Dream Team.” The Class of 2010 also includes three legendary players: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously. With Cooper’s induction, there are now four Trojans included in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Cooper’s teammate Cheryl Miller was a 1995 inductee, and former USC men’s players Jack Gardner and Sam Barry are also hall-of-famers.
In her first season at USC, Cynthia Cooper was named a Freshman All-American. In the next two seasons, Cooper helped the Women of Troy win back-to-back national championships in 1983 and 1984, and Cooper led the Trojans back to the NCAA title game in 1986. Cooper did not play in the 1984-85 season, but returned to action as a senior in 1985-86 to earn all-conference honors as well as a place on the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team.
Cooper would launch from her USC playing career to become a two-time Olympic medalist with Team USA in 1988 and 1992. Professionally, Cooper played for the Houston Comets and was the head coach of the Phoenix Mercury. As a player with the Comets, Cooper won four WNBA Championships and was the WNBA Finals MVP each time. A three-time WNBA All-Star, Cooper also is a two-time WNBA regular-season MVP. She currently is the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Prairie View A&M.
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