When former Minneapolis South girls’ basketball player TAYLER HILL played her first regular season game for the WNBA Washington Mystics last May, the shooting guard, who started four years at Ohio State University, joined a select few of City Conference players to make the transition from college to the league designed to give women the opportunity to play professionally in the United States.
TRACY HENDERSON got things started after starring at Patrick Henry (1989-93) and the University of Georgia (1993-1997) by playing for the now-defunct WNBA Cleveland Rockers during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons.
This came about after starting at Georgia for four years and leading the Lady Bulldogs to the NCAA Final Four tournaments in 1995 and 1996. She played with Minneapolis North product BRANDI DECKER during her prep career.
TAMARA MOORE, another former North player, who went on to play at the University of Wisconsin (1998-2002), started her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx and went on to play for six other teams before calling it quits in 2007.
Their prep experience in the Minneapolis City Conference is a commonality, but their prep careers took different paths.
After leading the junior varsity team to the Twin City championship as an seventh grader, Hill was promoted to the varsity the following year.
She led the Polars to four Class 4A state tournaments, leading them to back-to-back runnerup finishes to St. Paul Central (led by ANGEL ROBINSON) in 2007 and 2008 (led by KIARA BUFORD) before defeating Centennial for the title in 2009 with a record-tying 47-point performance during her senior year.
She went on to earn every award on the planet: McDonald All-American, All State, and Miss Basketball to name a few.
Henderson led Patrick Henry from basketball obscurity culminating in the school’s first City title and appearance in the Twin City game in 1993. She went on to earn All-State honors and Metro Player of the Year. She was a finalist for Miss Basketball, an award many felt she deserved.
Moore started her prep career as a freshman playing for a program on the rise. By the time the guard was a senior, she was an All-State player who became the second African American player to win Miss Basketball in 1998. (MYA WHITMORE from Hill Murray won the Class AA award 1987 when the Minnesota State High School league ran a two-class format.)
She teamed with future Rutgers University great MAURI HORTON (who won Miss Basketball the following year) to lead North to their first Class 3A title in her final season. (Moore would lead them to another crown in 1999.)
Three great players: The Minneapolis City Conference and the state of Minnesota should be proud.
Mitchell Palmer McDonald welcomes reader responses to [email protected]