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Ann Meyers Drysdale

A trailblazer in women’s basketball, Ann Meyers Drysdale wasn’t just the first woman to be signed to a four-year athletic collegiate scholarship when she signed to compete for UCLA, she also became the first woman to sign an NBA contract after signing with the Indiana Pacers in 1979.

A member of nine USA Basketball teams from 1975-79, Meyers most notably was on the 1976 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team that competed in the inaugural Olympic women’s basketball competition in Montreal. That squad had to first qualify for the Olympics and did so a few weeks ahead of the Olympics, earning gold with a 5-0 mark at the qualifying event.

Entering the six-team, round-robin Olympic competition, the USA fell to Japan in its opener, then collected a pair of victories before falling to the Soviet Union, which at the time was the most dominant women’s basketball program in the world. Undeterred, the 2-2 USA met also 2-2 Czechoslovakia and pulled out an 83-67 victory in its final game to secure the Olympic silver medal.

In all, Meyers earned four gold medals, three silver medals and compiled a 44-12 record from the 1976 Olympics, 1976 Olympic Qualifying Tournament, 1975 and 1979 FIBA World Cups, 1975 and 1979 Pan American Games, 1977 World University Games, 1979 Spartakiade and 1979 R. William Jones Cup.

Also notable in her USA Basketball career, Meyers was selected by her peers to carry the flag and lead the U.S. delegation into the 1979 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.

In her four seasons (1974-75 through 1977-78) at UCLA, Meyers averaged 17.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 4.2 steals per game. The 5-foot-9 guard recorded the first quadruple-double in NCAA Division I history with 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals against Stephen F. Austin University on Feb. 18, 1978.

In her final game as a Bruin, Meyers led her team to a 90-74 victory over the University of Maryland in the 1978 AIAW national championship game. The first four-time women’s basketball All-American, Meyers earned the 1978 Honda Sports Award as the nation’s top collegiate player and the Broderick Cup as the nation’s most outstanding women’s collegiate athlete of the year.

Meyers has been inducted into numerous halls of fame, most notably she is a 1993 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a 1999 inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and in 2007 was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.

The California native lettered in seven sports during her prep career and helped her basketball squads, first at Cornelia Connelly High School and then at Sonora High School, to an impressive 80-5 overall record.

In 1986 Meyers married Don Drysdale, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the couple have three children. Drysdale died of a heart attack in 1993.

Halls of Fame

  • Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame (1993).
  • Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (1999).
  • FIBA Hall of Fame (2007).
  • International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame (1985).
  • First woman to be inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (1988).
  • National High School Hall of Fame (1995).

Honors

  • Wooden Award All-Time All-American (2001).
  • NCAA Silver Anniversary Award (2003).
  • No. 15 jersey was retired by UCLA in 1990, along with Denise Curry, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton; Sonora High School retired her jersey in 1995.
  • Elected flag bearer for the U.S. at the 1979 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.
USA Basketball Notes
  • Honors: Flag bearer for the U.S. delegation at the 1979 Pan American Games.
  • Gold Medals: 1979 FIBA World Cup, 1979 USA R. William Jones Cup Team, 1976 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, 1975 Pan American Games.
  • Silver Medals: 1979 Pan American Games, 1977 World University Games, 1976 Olympic Games.
  • Wore No. 6 at the 1976 Olympics, 1976 Olympic Qualifying Tournament and 1979 FIBA World Cup and No. 4 at the 1979 FIBA World Cup.
  • Member of the 1979 USA World Cup Team that captured the USA’s first gold medal at the event in 22 years; averaged 6.8 ppg. in aiding the USA to a 5-1 record.
  • Member of the 1979 USA R. William Jones Cup Team that compiled a perfect 6-0 record and the gold medal.
  • Aided the 1979 U.S. Pan American Games Team to a 5-1 mark and the silver medal; averaged 9.3 ppg. and 1.7 apg.
  • Competed on the 1979 USA squad at the Spartakiade competition, a multi-sport event that was held in the Soviet Union and normally comprised of neighboring countries. However, the U.S., which returned with a 3-3 record and in seventh place, accepted an invitation to compete in the Spartakiade in order to use the competition as practice and scouting for the 1980 Olympic Games.
  • On her only ‘junior level’ USA Basketball team, helped the 1977 USA World University Games Team to a silver medal with a 6-2 mark, with the only two losses coming against gold medalist USSR.
  • Member of the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team that earned the silver medal; averaged 9.6 ppg. and 5.2 apg.
  • Weeks prior to the 1976 Olympics, helped lead the 1976 USA Olympic Qualifying Team to a gold medal with a 5-0 record, which earned the team’s entry to the ’76 Olympics.
  • Earned a gold medal and a 7-0 record as a member of the 1975 U.S. Pan American Games Team.
  • Member of the 1975 USA World Cup Team, her first USA Basketball squad, Meyers averaged 5.7 ppg. as the USA finished with a 4-3 record and in eighth place.
  • In the USA Pan Ams record books, lists second for games played with 13 (1979, 1975), and she was part of the 1979 team that still holds the USA record for most points scored (597) in a PAGs competition, as well as most points in a single game (124 points versus Puerto Rico).

Professional Notes

  • Signed a contract with the Indiana Pacers on Sept. 5, 1979, and participated in a three-day camp with the Pacers.
  • Played in the WPBL for the New Jersey Gems and was tabbed the 1980 WPBL co-MVP.
  • Served as an analyst for NBC’s Olympic women’s basketball coverage since 2000, and was an announcer for ABC at the 1984 Olympics.
  • Has worked on numerous broadcast crews throughout her career, including for the Goodwill Games; college basketball, softball and baseball; the NBA Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns; and the WNBA Phoenix Mercury.

College Notes

  • First women’s college athlete to earn a four-year scholarship when she signed with UCLA.
  • Averaged 17.4 ppg., 8.4 rpg., 5.6 apg. and 4.2 spg. over her four-year collegiate career (1974-75 through 1977-78).
  • Aided UCLA to the 1978 AIAW National Championship.
  • Became the first NCAA Division I athlete, male or female, to earn a quadruple-double when she amassed 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals against SFA on Feb. 18, 1978.

Personal Notes

  • Widow to former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Don Drysdale; had three children with him before Drysdale passed, sons Don Jr. and Darren and daughter Drew.
  • Brother Dave Meyers played basketball for John Wooden at UCLA and four years for the Milwaukee Bucks.

 

USA Basketball Statistics

NAME G FGM-A PCT FTM-A PCT REB/AVG PTS/AVG AST
1979 PAG 6 25- 51 .490 6- 13 .462 15/ 2.5 56/ 9.3 10
1979 WC 6 17- n/a 7-8  .875 13/ 2.1 41/ 6.8 n/a
1979 SPAR 6 13- 42 .310 5- 7 .714 13/ 32/5.3 10
1977 WUG 5 25- 53 .472 20- 25 .800 19/ 3.8 70/ 14.0 7
1976 OLY 5 19-46 .413 10-11 .909 16/3.2 48/9.6 26
1976 OLYQ 5 n/a n/a 6-8 .750 n/a 34/6.8 n/a
1975 WC 7 15- n/a 10-18 .556 n/a 40/ 5.7 n/a
TOTALS 40     64 -90 .711   321/8.0  

NOTE: Statistics are unavailable for the 1979 R. William Jones Cup and 1975 Pan American Games, and complete statistics are missing from most other events. Totals include only totals from columns where all stats are available.

 

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