NORFOLK, Va. – Together, they helped our country win a gold medal. Sunday, they’ll go against each other in search of state supremacy.
Old Dominion University head women’s basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson and Virginia head women’s basketball coach Tina Thompson were USA Basketball teammates on the national team that won a gold medal at the 1998 FIBA Women’s World Championship. In addition to that ’98 world title, McCray won a pair of Olympic gold medals (1996, 2000). Thompson followed-up her gold in ’98 with Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008.
McCray-Penson is in her second season at the helm of the Lady Monarchs – her first head coaching job. Thompson is in her first season as UVA’s bench boss – her first head coaching job.
The two women’s basketball stars have combined for 11 WNBA All-Star appearances (eight for Thompson, three for McCray) and each is a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I’ve known Tina for a long time,” McCray told Harry Minium of ODUSports.com. “We’ve battled a lot. And we were teammates. She’s a proven winner. I have so much respect for her and what she stands for. I want to see her do well at U.Va. and she will. She’ll build great program there. But she’s coming here to battle and we will battle U.Va.”
McCray-Penson’s Monarchs are off to a 3-and-0 start this season after an 8-and-23 record last year. Meanwhile, Thompson’s team has yet to win a game (0-and-2).
ODU and UVA tip-off at 2:00 p.m. Sunday at the Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk.