Former Auburn women's basketball player Ruthie Bolton-Holifield was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday evening in Knoxville, Tenn. Bolton-Holifield is the first Auburn player ever to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
"I am so thankful for this great honor and this moment is so special to me," said Bolton-Holifield. "I thank God for letting me be a part of this 2011 class, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given."
She is part of the 13th class of inductees into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Also in the Class of 2011 are Val Ackerman (contributor), Vicky Bullett (player), Muffet McGraw (coach), Pearl Moore (player) and Lometa Odom (player). In attendance at the induction ceremony for Bolton-Holifield was former Auburn women's basketball head coach Joe Ciampi, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Bolton-Holifield came to the Plains in her older sister Mae Ola's shadow. It didn't her long to step out on her own, however, as Ruthie became possibly the most recognizable name in Auburn women's basketball history.
Bolton-Holifield played in a record 132 contests for the Tigers and holds the record for games started in a season at 35 and steals in a game with 10. She currently ranks 21st all-time at Auburn in scoring with 1,176 and is fifth all-time in assists with 526.
In four seasons at Auburn, Bolton-Holifield led her team to a combined record of 119-13, which included three Southeastern Conference Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances and two runner-up finishes (1988 and 1989).
When Bolton's time at Auburn was up, the McLain, Miss., native continued advancing her skill and went on to a highly-successful 15-year professional basketball career including being a part of 10 U.S. national teams.
A two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996 and 2000) and WNBA All-Star, Bolton scored over 2,000 career points, is fourth on the WNBA's all-time 3-pointer list and is the only player in the history of the Sacramento Monarchs to have her number retired. She was the first WNBA Player of the Week in July of 1997. She was the 1991 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the year.
While playing for the U.S. National Team in 1996 and 2000, Bolton-Holifield played under current Auburn women's basketball coach Nell Fortner.
"I am so excited. It is so amazing when you walk in here and see all of the history," said Fortner. "I am very proud of Ruthie, it was a honor to work with her on the Olympic team and I am very proud of Auburn to have a Hall of Fame athlete like her."
With the addition of the Class of 2011, the list of individuals who have been recognized as Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductees will increase to 121.
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's Board of Directors serves as the selection committee in determining which individuals will be inducted each year. Voting is based on various factors, which may include moral character, integrity, sportsmanship, record of performance, ability, national or international recognition, and contributions to the game of women's basketball.