Friday, 06 November 2009 00:00
What do Hideki Matsui, Dikembe Mutombo, Kiki Vandeweghe, Louis Orr, Orel Hershiser, Tim Lincecum, Junior Seau and Anne Gregory O’Connell all have in common? Each of the sport stars wore uniform number 55, and now Gregory O’Connell’s will hang from the rafters at Fordham University’s Rose Hill Gymnasium.
Fordham Athletics will retire the uniform #55 of all-time women’s basketball great Gregory O’Connell in ceremonies at half time during their home game against Rider University on Saturday, Dec. 5 at the Rose Hill Gymnasium, announced Fordham’s Head Women’s Basketball Coach Cathy Andruzzi. Tip off is 1 p.m.
Gregory O’Connell, the top rebounder in women’s college hoops history with 1,999 boards – her pre-NCAA record still stands today – and the first Fordham women’s player to score 2,000 points, played for the Fordham Rams from 1976 through 1980. She becomes the first female athlete in Fordham history to have her number retired and, in 1986, was the first female inductee in the Fordham Athletics Hall of Fame. Men’s basketball legend Ed Conlin’s jersey #11, which was hoisted to the rafters on Nov. 20, 2005, is the only other Fordham hoopster to be so honored.
“Anne’s collegiate basketball performance was exceptional,” said Andruzzi. “She carried the Rams to national prominence, while setting a national rebounding record that still stands 28 years later. Anne’s performance, character and leadership on and off the court set the standard for our student-athletes. We look forward to celebrating her great accomplishment when her jersey is hung from the rafters at Rose Hill.”
While her Fordham playing career ended in 1980, Gregory O’Connell still retains seven all-time career records including points (2,548), field goals (982), free throws (584) and blocks (200). Her most impressive statistic, just one rebound short of 2,000, is not only over 1,000 more than the runner up, but continues to set the standard for women’s basketball, and the record has yet to be reached since the NCAA was established in 1983. Gregory O’Connell also retains the top spots in single-season field goal percentage (.607) and free throws (176), and still holds the top four spots in both rebounds and rebounding average. Her best season came as a freshman, posting 640 rebounds and an average of 23.7 per game.
Gregory O’Connell is now a guidance counselor at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville and resides in Elmont with her husband, Associated Press Hall of Fame college basketball writer Jim O’Connell, and their children Andrew and James; Andrew has followed mom’s footsteps and is a sophomore at Fordham.
Gregory O’Connell, a guidance counselor at Holy Trinity High School and Elmont resident, will have her Fordham University number officially retired during a Dec. 5 ceremony.