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Donovan Leads U.S. Women's Basketball to Olympic Gold

Anne Donovan, a 1983 Old Dominion University graduate, led the U.S. women's basketball team to victory at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. squad, which went into the final round against the previously undefeated Australians, came away with a decisive 92-65 blowout in the gold medal game on Saturday night at the Wukesong Arena.

Donovan has now been a part of four gold-medal Olympic teams, as a player and coach.

During her four years as a Lady Monarch player, Donovan helped ODU win a national championship in 1980 and make two more Final Four appearances.

A native of Ridgewood, N.J., Donovan was one of the most highly recruited high school players in the nation. A graduate of Paramus Catholic, the 6-8 center earned Parade Player of the Year honors in 1979 before signing with ODU. Donovan became the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in ODU history with 2,719 points and 1,976 rebounds. She is still the NCAA's all-time shot blocker with 801.

As the tallest player in the women's game, Donovan quickly made her presence known both on and off the court. She was recognized by virtually every postseason and All-America squad in the nation during her ODU career. She earned Kodak All-America honors for three years and Academic All-America honors for two straight seasons.

Her honors culminated in 1983, with her selection as the first female Naismith College Player of the Year. The trophy winner is selected by a collection of leading basketball journalists, coaches, administrators and fans from around the country.

As an ambassador for her sport, Donovan achieved international recognition as a member of the U.S. gold medal-winning women's basketball team at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She continued to play with the national team at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, winning her second gold medal.

In 1987, Donovan returned to ODU as a part-time assistant coach, following a five-year stint as a professional player in Japan. She was later elevated to full-time assistant coach and remained at ODU until 1997.

Donovan has also served as head coach at East Carolina University and the American Basketball League's Philadelphia Rage, and as interim head coach with the WNBA's Indiana Fever.

In 2001, she became head coach of the Charlotte Sting and subsequently led the team to the WNBA finals. In 2002, Donovan and the Sting won the WNBA Eastern Conference title.

In 2003, Donovan moved west to serve as head coach of the Seattle Storm, leading the Storm to the WNBA title in 2004.

On Jan. 12, 2006, Donovan was named head coach of the USA Basketball Senior National team.

Donovan served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball during its gold medal wins in the FIBA World Championships in 1998 and 2002, as well as the Olympic Games in 2004.

She is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Old Dominion University Sports Hall of Fame and the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Silver Anniversary Award.

In 2005, Donovan was named the All-Time Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Player.

This article was posted on: August 25, 2008

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