ESPN had a recent feature of the greatest women athletes of all time. UCLA members featured prominently in this. A few excerpts from the bios of the four great former Bruins.
And she was the star of every basketball team she played on, including at Lincoln High and, in the early 1980s, UCLA. Joyner became a two-sport sensation for the Bruins, starting as a forward for the hoops squad in the winter and competing as a long jumper in the spring.
She oozed potential, so much that assistant track coach Bob Kersee went to UCLA's athletic director and demanded to oversee her training.
12. Florence Griffin Joyner
But there was a time when Griffith-Joyner worried she would always finish second. She had a string of silver-medal performances in the 200 meters, her go-to distance, including at the L.A. Games and the 1987 world championships. Her former teammate and roommate at UCLA, Jeanette Bolden, who won relay gold in 1984 and now coaches the Bruins, remembers a woman whose goal was simply to be the best she could be -- whether that meant winning an NCAA title, an Olympic medal or setting world records. Sometimes, though, Griffith-Joyner worried that silver was the best she could do.
17. Ann Myers Drysdale
Back in the 1970s, when the national spotlight first turned toward women's hoops, Meyers was exactly what the sport needed: a likeable personality with game to spare. She entered college as the first woman to earn a full athletic scholarship to UCLA, and left as a four-time All-American. While in Westwood, she led the Bruins to the 1978 AIAW national title as a senior. She also still holds school records for career steals and blocked shots -- the latter especially impressive for a 5-foot-9 guard.
18. Lisa Fernandez
Born and raised in New York City, Fernandez moved to California in high school, then stayed there to play for UCLA, leading the Bruins to the national championship in 1990, as a freshman, and again in 1992. She went 93-7 during her four years in Westwood, including 74 shutouts and 11 no-hitters, earning national Player of the Year honors three times. As a junior, she was 29-0, with a 0.14 ERA. As a senior, she hit an NCAA-best .510, with 11 home runs and 45 RBI, playing third base when she wasn't pitching. (She would later return to UCLA as an assistant coach, where she is now in her 14th season.)
30. Gail Devers
During her days at UCLA, nobody left a bigger mark on meets with USC than Devers did. "Those meets were almost more important to us than the Pac-10 or NCAAs," says Devers, who grew up near San Diego. "We had to win." She recalls USC fans setting off dorm fire alarms every other hour on the eve of competition, so she and her teammates couldn't sleep.
The contests between the two schools played to Devers' world-class versatility. She not only won her specialties -- the 100 meters and the 100-meter hurdles -- but she also scored points on the 4x400 relay team, as a long jumper, and even as a triple jumper. "I remember going over to the pit and [coach] Bob Kersee walking me through it," she says. 'Right, right, left. Hop, step, jump.'" With no training, Devers leaped an impressive 42 feet, 6 inches, finishing third overall during a 1986 meet. "We needed points, and that's what you do on a team."
I especially like Devers spirit against SUC although Jackie was my favorite because I truly think she is on the very short list for greatest women athlete of all time, regardless of sport.
Who is your favorite female Bruin athlete?