Lisa Leslie Named Sportswoman Of The Year

Oct. 21, 2003

NEW YORK -- WNBA star and former USC women's basketball standout Lisa Leslie, as well as world record-holding swimmer Natalie Coughlin, were honored Monday as the 2003 Sportswomen of the Year by the Women's Sports Foundation. The award is given to one athlete in a team sport and one who competes in an individual sport.

Leslie led the Los Angeles Sparks to the 2002 WNBA title, and surpassed the 3,000-point mark for her career. Coughlin, a member of the University of California swim team, led the U.S. squad to a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay and a silver in the 400 medley relay at the World Championships in July, despite competing with a fever of 102 degrees. She was named the 2003 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, and won the 100- and 200-yard backstroke and the 100 fly at the 2003 NCAA Championships. She also won five titles at the 2002 U.S. national championships.

The Women's Sports Foundation also introduced four new members of the International Women's Hall of Fame. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a six-time Olympic medalist in track and field for the U.S.; Min Gao, who won a gold in springboard diving at the 1992 Olympics; Heather McKay, who lost only two matches during her 20-year squash career; and former Arizona State golf coach Linda Vollstedt, who coached the Sun Devils to the only undefeated season in NCAA history in 1995 and won three national titles in a row, were all inducted.

Race car driver Kelly Sutton, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 16, was the recipient of the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. Nancy Lopez was presented the Billie Jean King Contribution Award for her work in expanding the cultural outlook of golf.

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