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Lynette Woodard

first female Harlem Globetrotter

Lynette Woodard

Born: August 12, 1959, in Wichita, Kansas.

Adult Height: 6' 0"

Adult Weight: 155 pounds

Lynette Woodard started shooting baskets with a stuffed sock while learning basketball from her brother, and by the age of ten was in demand as a neighborhood basketball team member.

High School Career (1975-1977)

As a ninth grader at Marshall Junior High School, Woodard was asked by the coach at Wichita North High School to join the junior varsity team, but she opted to wait until the following year to join the varsity team. At five-foot-eleven, she was a standout on the court, both in height and as a player. As a sophomore, she led her team to a win at the 5A State Championships, and two years later received national recognition as an All-American team member. She was also a three-time All-State selection.

Woodard in high school
Woodard in high school

College Career (1977-1981)

Moving on the University of Kansas, Woodard scored a total of 3,649 points in four years to set a record as the top-scoring college woman basketball player in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A versatile player capable of playing all five positions on the court, she led the nation in steals (1979-1981), in scoring (1979), and in rebounding (1978). She was also a member of the 1979 World University Games team, a four-time Kodak All-America selection, a three-time MVP of the Big 8 Tournament (1979-1981), the 1981 Wade Trophy winner, the 1982 Broderick Award winner, the first female to receive the NCAA's Top Five Award in 1982, and was named Conference Player of the Decade for the 1980's. Woodard scored in double figures in 138 of 139 career games, and completed her college career ranking first in eight statistical categories. Many of the records she set at Kansas still stand today.

Woodard as a Jayhawk
Woodard as a Jayhawk

USA Teams Member

In 1980, Woodard was selected to the U.S. women's basketball Olympics team, but due to the U.S.-led boycott of the games that year the team did not participate. She did, however, get to participate in the 1984 games, where she helped the U.S. team win a gold medal.

Woodard also earned medals at the 1983 (Silver) and 1990 (Gold) World Championships, and at the 1983 (Gold) and 1991 (Bronze) Pan American Games.

Professional Career

Woodard spent the 1981-1982 season as a member of an Italian League team, and led the Italian League in scoring with 31 points per game in 1982.

In 1985, Woodard was signed as the first woman to play with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.

Woodard as a Harlem Globetrotter
Woodard as a Harlem Globetrotter

After two years as a Globetrotter, Woodard returned to the Italian League in 1987, and led her team to the Italian League Championship in 1989. Leaving Italy in 1990, she joined the Japanese League in 1991, and played there through the 1992 season.

Retiring from professional play in 1992, Woodard served as Athletics Director for the Kansas City, Missouri, School District until 1994.

In 1997, she came out of retirement to play for the Cleveland Rockers of the WNBA. One of the top defensive players in the league, she was ranked 15th in the WNBA in steals that year with an average of 1.64 steals per game. She scored a season-high 20 points against the Los Angeles Sparks. Traded to the Detroit Shock for the 1998 season, she scored a season-high 18 points on 9-11 shooting against the New York Liberty. She retired for good in 1999.

Post-Playing Career

Woodard became an assistant coach at the University of Kansas in 1999, and remained there untilbeing hired as the head women's basketball coach by Winthrop University in 2016..

In addition to her coaching duties, Woodard serves on the Advisory Board of the Women's Sports Foundation, and is the vice-president of marketing for MAGNA Securities Corp., the first brokerage firm to be owned by an African-American woman.


Woodard has been elected to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Kansas Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 1992 became the first female to be enshrined in the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame. On September 10, 1994, she was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She received the Women's Sports Foundation Flo Hyman Memorial Award in 1993, and was inducted into the Foundation's International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.

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This page was last updated on September 22, 2017.