Close to home: Rebecca Lobo puts down stakes at Hall of Fame

DALLAS (AP) Rebecca Lobo grew up 15 minutes from the Basketball Hall of Fame and held her wedding reception there.

Now she'll be enshrined there.

''I was the kid going to the old Hall of Fame with the conveyor belt where you would shoot at the baskets at the end,'' said Lobo, part of the 11-person class announced Saturday. ''To me the coolest part was the lockers where you saw how big people's feet were.

''Until I made the finalists this year it was something I never thought would happen. I was on cloud nine yesterday. I'm so appreciative. It was something that I never thought was in the realm of my life.''

Lobo helped UConn win the first of 11 titles in 1995 and was coach Geno Auriemma's first big recruit.

''I got the call from the Hall of Fame and after I told my husband, my first call was to my dad,'' Lobo said. ''His reaction was exactly what I expected to be. `You're mother would have loved this.' It's so true. My mom really wanted this for me.''

Lobo's mother died in 2011 of breast cancer.

In addition to Lobo, making the Hall and attending the announcement were: former NBA star Tracy McGrady, Kansas coach Bill Self, Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, Texas high school coach Robert Hughes, Harlem Globetrotters owner Mannie Jackson and NCAA official Tom Jernstedt. Zack Clayton, Nikos Galis, Jerry Krause and George McGinnis also were elected.

Lobo had a whirlwind weekend. She was working the women's Final Four for ESPN and had to catch an early morning flight Saturday to Phoenix for the announcement. After watching the men's semifinals, she got a lift from McGraw back to Dallas for the women's title game Sunday.

''Definitely didn't get much sleep this weekend, but it was well worth it,'' Lobo said. ''Muffet was nice enough to let me ride back to Dallas on her jet.''

Lobo knows there's only one person she wants to escort her at the ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, in September - Auriemma.

''I'd be absolutely thrilled to be that person,'' he said. ''It would be a tremendous honor of a lifetime for me to do that. She's done so much for my basketball career and personal career and personal life that it's the least I can do for her.''

Lobo likely will be the first of many Huskies to reach the Hall of Fame over the next decade.

''She's come a long way from the 16-year old kid from Southwick (Massachusetts) when I started recruiting her and watching her grow up and become what she became,'' said Auriemma, a Hall of Famer. ''The impact she's had on women's basketball and what she's become after her playing career. I couldn't be any happier for anybody then Rebecca, she deserves it on so many levels.''

Auriemma was also thrilled for McGraw.

''The Hall of Fame is genuinely reserved for people who go above and beyond what the norm is,'' he said. ''She's certainly gone way above and way beyond what a normal coaching career would be.''

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