Charlotte, NC – Two prominent NJCAA figures have been inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, both for the second time in their illustrious careers. Already enshrined for their individual accomplishments, Rosie Walker and Lea Plarski were formally inducted into the class of 2020 as members of the 1980 United States Olympic Women's Basketball Team.
The 1980 Olympic team has been selected as the 2020 "Trailblazers of the Game" recipient. The United States protested the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, but the program proceeded to compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and put together dominant performances along the way. With a 6-1 record in qualifying, the program dismantled its opponents by an average of nearly 18 points per game thanks to contributions from both Walker and Plarski.
A roster comprised of 12 individuals, Walker powered the program with an impressive 12.7 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per contest. Plarski served as Team Manager under head coach Sue Gunter throughout the trials in Varna, Bulgaria. The team scored victories over the likes of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, and Hungary, three programs that finished 2-3-4 in the final Olympic standings.
Walker, a 2001 inductee into the Hall of Fame guided Panola (TX) to back-to-back NJCAA championships in 1977 and 1978. Walker was an NJCAA All-America recipient in each season and was awarded the Most Valuable Player honor for the 1978 tournament.
Following a prestigious junior college career, Walker attended Stephen F. Austin where the Emerson, AR native was a two-time Kodak All-American. Walker set 10 program records along the way.
Walker was also a member of the 1979 Pan American Games before embarking on an Olympic career. Walker played professionally with the Nebraska Wranglers in the Women's Professional Basketball league where the team won the league title in 1981.
A staple throughout NJCAA history, Plarski was recognized as a 2002 inductee into the Hall of Fame for contributions that helped evolved women's basketball. Named one of 15 people who have significantly influenced the growth of the game since 1972 by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Plarski served as the Director of Athletics at St. Louis-Florissant Valley (MO), Vice President of the NJCAA Women's Division from 1975-90, and was named NJCAA President in 1990, the first female in the association's history to hold the title.
Throughout her tenure, Plarski served as ABAUSA's Vice President for Women and Chair of the Women's Games Committee as well as the U.S. Olympic Committee's Board of Directors and House of Delegates.
The annual Lea Plarski Award is given to an NJCAA student-athlete who exemplifies sportsmanship, leadership, community service, and academic excellence and athletic ability.
Along with the 1980 Olympic Team, seven individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame including Tamika Catchings and Swin Cash.
The 2020 class will be honored June 13, 2020 in Knoxville, TN.