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Cheryl Miller

Cheryl Miller won six gold medals in her USA Basketball career, which was cut short due to injury. The 1984 Olympic gold medalist also helped put the USA atop the podium and end the USSR’s long-running domination in women’s basketball with gold medals at the 1986 Goodwill Games and FIBA World Cup.

USA Basketball Notes

  • Gold medals: 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival South Team, 1983 Pan American Games, 1984 R. Williams Jones Cup, 1984 Olympics, 1986 Goodwill Games, 1986 FIBA World Cup.
  • Silver medal: 1983 FIBA World Cup.
  • Honors: 1984 and 1986 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year; inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • Played on seven USA Basketball teams between 1981 and 1986; compiled six gold medals and one silver medal and an overall record of 40-3 (.930 winning percentage) in a USA jersey during official competitions.
  • At the 1986 FIBA Word Cup in Moscow, Russia, won a gold medal with a 7-0 record; scored a team-high 24 points in the gold medal game against the USSR.
  • In the USA women’s FIBA World Cup record book: for single-competition records, lists third and fourth for points averaged (18.0 ppg. in 1986 and 17.6 ppg. in 1983), second and sixth for steals (30 in 1983 and 23 in 1986) and second and third for steals averaged (3.8 in 1983 and 3.3 in 1986); in single-game highs, lists first for free throws made and attempted (17-23 FTs vs. Soviet Union on Aug. 6, 1983) and first for steals (seven vs. Hungary on Aug. 10, 1986); in the career records, lists sixth for points (267 in 1986 and 1983), eighth for rebounds (90 in 1986 and 1983) and first for steals (53 in 1986 and 1983).
  • Played for the USA at the inaugural Goodwill Games in 1986; helped the USA to a 5-0 record and gold medal in Moscow, Russia; led the team in scoring with 20.6 points per game.
  • In the USA women’s Goodwill Games record book: for single-competition highs, lists first for total points (103 in 1986), third for rebounds (48 in 1986) and tied for third in steals (13 in 1986); for single-game highs, lists first for points (26 vs. Brazil on July 6, 1986), tied for first in field goals made (10 vs. Brazil on July 6, 1986), first for field goals attempted (23 vs. Bulgaria on July 9, 1986), first for free throws made (10 vs. Czechoslovakia on July 7, 1986) and attempted (14 vs. Czechoslovakia on July 7, 1986) and first for steals (six vs. Bulgaria on July 9, 1986).
  • After winning gold medals at the 1986 Goodwill Games and 1986 FIBA World Cup, earned her second USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year award.
  • Helped lead the USA to a gold medal and 6-0 record at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles; averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game.
  • In the USA women’s Olympic record book: for single-competition highs, lists first for points averaged (16.5 ppg. in 1984); and for career records lists first for points averaged, tied for fourth for rebounds averaged (7.0 rpg. In 1984), seventh for field goal percentage (.661, 37-56 FGs in 1984), fourth for assists averaged (4.2, 25 in 1984), third for blocked shots averaged (1.0, 6 in 1984) and third for steals averaged (3.2 spg. in 1984).
  • Won a gold medal while helping the USA to an 8-0 record at the 1984 R. William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan; led the team in scoring (15.1 ppg.) and rebounding (4.4 rpg.) and collected a tied-for-team-high 27 steals.
  • Following gold medals at the 1984 Olympics and 1984 R. Williams Jones Cup, was named the 1984 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.
  • At the 1983 FIBA World Cup in Brazil, helped the USA to a 6-2 record and silver medal; fell to the USSR in the gold medal game; led the USA in scoring at 17.6 points per game and was tied for the rebounding high with 4.4 rebounds per game.
  • As a member of the USA’s 1983 Pan American Games Team, helped the USA to a 5-0 record and gold medal in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • In the USA women’s Pan American Games record book: for single-competition records, lists first for points averaged (19.8 in 1983) and fourth for field goal percentage (.691, 38-55 FGs); for single-game highs, lists tied for first for points (30 vs. Cuba on Aug. 23, 1983); and for career records, lists 11th for points (99, 19.8 ppg. in 1983) and third for field goal percentage (.691, 38-55 FGs in 1983).
  • Played on the South Team at the 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival, helping the South team to a 3-1 record and gold medal at the event.

Basketball Honors & Notes

  • Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995 and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1991.
  • Member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in the inaugural class in 1999.
  • Was forced to retire due to injury at 24 years old.
  • Drafted into the United States Basketball League (men’s league) in 1986 but was not able to play due to injury.

College Notes

  • Titles: 1983 and 1984 NCAA championships.
  • Honors: 1983 and 1984 NCAA Tournament MVP; 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986 Kodak All-American; 1984, 1985 and 1986 Naismith Player of the Year; 1985 Wade Trophy recipient; WBCA’s Player of the Decade for the 1980s; 1984 Honda-Broderick Award for Female College Basketball Player of the Year; 1984 and 1985 Honda Award; 1986 Sports Illustrated best player in college basketball; 1985 Honda Sports Award; 1984 and 1985 WBCA Player of the Year.
  • Played basketball as a student-athlete at the University of Southern California from 1982-83 through 1985-86, helping her team to a 112-20 record during that time; started in all 128 games played.
  • USC retired her jersey (No. 31), the first retired jersey of a male or female basketball player at USC.
  • Had career averages of 23.7 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
  • Scored 3,018 career points (currently 10th all-time in NCAA history) and recorded 1,534 rebounds (currently third all-time in NCAA history).
  • In the USC women’s record books, owns career records for points (3,018), scoring average (23.6), field goals made (1,159), rebounds (1,534), rebounds averaged (12.1), free throws made (700) and steals (462); single-season records for points (814 in 1985-86), scoring average (26.8 ppg. in 1984-85), field goals made (308 in 1985-86), field goals attempted (572 in 1984-85), rebounds (474 in 1984-85), rebounds averaged (15.8 in 1984-85), steals (127 in 1985-86) and steals averaged (4.0 in 1985-86); single-game records for field goal percentage (10-10 FGs vs. Maryland on Nov. 11, 1985), free throws attempted (26 vs. Arizona on Feb. 28, 1985), rebounds (24, twice) and blocked shots (10 vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 4, 1984); freshman records for scoring average (20.4 ppg.), field goal percentage (.552), free throws made (137), rebounds (320), steals (115) and blocked shots (79); sophomore records for points (726), scoring average (22.0 ppg.), field goals made (281), free throws made (164), rebounds (350), steals (104), blocked shots (82); junior records for points (805), scoring average (26.8 ppg.), field goals made (302), free throws made (201), rebounds (474), rebounds averaged (15.8 rpg.) and steals (116); and senior records for points (814), field goals made (308), field goal percentage (.609), free throws made (198), rebounds (390) and steals (127).
  • Majored in chemistry.

High School Notes

  • During her four years from 1978-79 to 1981-82, led Riverside Polytechnic High School in California to a 132-4 record, four California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) including an 84-game winning streak.
  • A four-time Parade All-American in high school – was the first male or female to earn the honor in four straight years.
  • Dial Award for national high-school scholar athlete of the year in 1981.
  • Scored 105 points versus Riverside Norte Vista on Jan. 26, 1982. Became the first women to dunk a basketball in that game.
  • Set then-records in California for single-season points (1,156) and career points (3,405).

Career Notes

  • Works as a television broadcaster.
  • In November 1996, called her first nationally televised NBA game as an analyst.
  • Worked as a basketball commentator at the 1994 Goodwill Games and as a basketball reporter and weightlifting commentator at the 2001 Goodwill Games.
  • Served as a women’s basketball analyst and men’s basketball reporter for NBC at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
  • Was a women’s basketball assistant coach at the University of Southern California from 1986-87 to 1990-91 and the head coach at USC in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
  • As the head coach at Southern California, led her team to a 42-14 record over two seasons and reached the 1994 and 1995 NCAA Tournaments.
  • Served as the head coach and general manager of the Phoenix Mercury from 1997-2000; led the Mercury to the 1998 WNBA Finals.
  • Served as the women’s basketball coach at Langston University in 2014-15.
  • Was the women’s basketball coach at California State Los Angeles from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

Personal Notes

  • Brother of Reggie Miller – a 1996 Olympic and 1994 FIBA World Cup gold medalist, who also played in the 2002 FIBA World Cup.
  • First brother and sister to be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
  • Brother, Darrel Miller, played professional baseball for the California Angels from 1984-1988.

USA Basketball Statistics

TEAM G FGM-A PCT 3PM-A PCT FTM-A PCT REB PTS AST BLK STL
1986 WC
7
47-89
.528
0-0
.---
32-42
.762
55/ 7.9
126/ 18.0
19
6
23
1986 GWG
5
35-73
.479
0-0
.---
33-45
.733
48/ 9.6
103/ 20.6
12
1
13
1984 OLY
6
37-56
.661


25-33
.758
42/ 7.0
99/ 16.5
25
6
19
1984 JCUP
8
46-63
.730


29-38
.763
35/ 4.4
121/ 15.1
10
7
27
1983 WC
8
47-78
.603


47-59
.797
35/ 4.4
141/ 17.6
7

30
1983 PAG
5
38-55
.691


23-31
.742
18/ 3.6
99/ 19.8



1981 USOF-South
4











TOTALS 43
250-414
.604
0-0
.---
189-248
.762
233/ 5.9
689/ 17.7
73
20
112
*Individual statistics were not kept at the 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival; the 3-point line was introduced after 1984; assists, blocked shots and steals were not kept at the 1983 Pan American Games; and blocked shots were not recorded at the 1983 FIBA World Cup.

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