Prior to the days of the WNBA, there was a woman named Lusia Harris. Harris was 6-foot-3 and played college basketball at Delta State University in Mississippi. In college, Harris guided Delta Tate to three state national Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (IAW) championships.
She represented the United States’ national team and earned a silver medal in 1976. In 1977, she was selected in the seventh round of the NBA draft by the New Orleans Jazz, making her the first woman ever drafted by the NBA. Or did it?
Lusia Harris was born in Minter City, Mississippi, on February 10, 1955, to Ethel and Willie Harris, a homemaker and vegetable farmer, respectively. She is the tenth of eleven children and fourth of five daughters. Harris and her siblings attended Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, Mississippi, where she played basketball.
Harris won the most valuable player award three consecutive years, 1971 to 1973, served as team captain, and made the state All-Star team. She scored a school-record 46 points in one game and led her school to the state tournament in Jackson, Mississippi.
After her basketball career ended, Harris returned to Delta State to earn her master’s degree in education in 1984. In 1992 Harris and former player, Nera White, became the first two women ever inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Harris was the first African American woman inductee. Harris was also inducted into to the Woman’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the International Woman’s Sports Hall of Fame. Harris married George E. Stewart on February 4, 1977. The couple has four children, two sons and twin daughters.