Griffith Named Women's Basketball Top Assistant
June 28, 2013
EASTON, Pa. - Yolanda Griffith, a seven-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been named to the Lafayette women's basketball coaching staff. Griffith, who will be the top assistant on Dianne Nolan's staff, spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Dartmouth.
"Yolanda is a great addition to our program," said Nolan who enters her fourth season as the Leopards' head coach. "One of women's basketball's most accomplished players, she has won at every level and now is using her knowledge and experience to develop student-athletes. She is one of those rare star players with the desire and ability to give back to the game as a coach. I welcome her to the Leopard family."
At Darmouth, Griffith was charged with developing the Big Green post players, a role she will reprise at Lafayette with top returning post players Emily Homan, the 2011-12 Patriot League Rookie of the Year and Danielle Fiacco, Lafayette's career leader in blocked shots.
In 2012-13, Dartmouth had two young players excel under her guidance, combining to pick up five Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors. In her first year in Hanover, Dartmouth had a player lead the league in blocked shots and twice garner Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors.
Griffith played professionally for 16 years on three continents and for five different leagues: WNBA, Euroleague, American Basketball League (ABL), Women's Chinese Basketball League (WCBL) and Women's Korean Basketball League (WKBL). In both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, Griffith earned a gold medal as a member of Team USA.
The Sacramento Monarchs took Griffith with the second overall pick in the 1999 draft. In her first season, she averaged 18.8 points per game while earning the league's Most Valuable Player, the Newcomer of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year awards. In 2005, Griffith led the Monarchs to the WNBA Championship and was named the Finals MVP.
In her WNBA career, Griffith achieved All-Star recognition seven times and made the All-WNBA team five times, including first-team honors in 1999 and 2005. She is the league's all-time leader in offensive rebounds with 1,049, and is the only player with more than 1,000 offensive rebounds. With 2,444 total rebounds, Griffith ranks fourth on the league's all-time list, eighth in career steals (529) and ninth in career blocks (323). Griffith was named to the WNBA's 10th Anniversary All-Decade Team, comprised of the 10 best and most influential players from the league's inaugural decade.
Her professional career began in the Euroleague in 1993 with the DJK Wildcats in Aschaffenburg, Germany. In 1997, Griffith led the league in scoring and rebounding, a feat not duplicated until 2007. She played for Lavezzini Basket Parma in Italy from 2000-02, and her team won the Rochetti Cup and was the Italian League Champions in 2002. Griffith finished her Euroleague career with UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia from 2003-06, winning the league championship in her first year there.
Griffith also competed in the ABL for the Chicago Condors and the Long Beach Stingrays from 1997-98. She was an all-star starter in 1997 and the defensive player of the year in 1998. In 2007, she played in the WKBL for the KB Savers and was named an all-star. The following season, she played for the Henan Elephants in the WCBA, earning all-star status and was the league leader in rebounding.
After retiring as a player, Griffith spent one season as an adjunct assistant coach in charge of player development for the Indiana Fever in 2009. She founded the organization, All About Us Girlz, Inc., which works with Sacramento, Calif. local school districts to implement a leadership academy program for girls in seventh through 12th grades. Most recently, she has been working with players in her basketball program, Training With Yo. Griffith is the owner and head trainer where she focuses on teaching a high level of conditioning, correct footwork and body mechanics.
Griffith replaces Kim Foley who has taken a similar position at Eastern Illinois after three seasons on Nolan's staff.
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