Villa, 1996 U.S. women's Olympic basketball up for honors | August 23, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - August 23, 2019

Villa, 1996 U.S. women's Olympic basketball up for honors

Finalists for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame named

by Rick Eymer

Castilleja water polo coach Brenda Villa, a Stanford grad and Olympic gold medalist, is among the finalists for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame Class of 2019 as announced by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The 1996 United States Olympic women's basketball team, coached by Stanford's Tara VanDerveer and which included Cardinal alums Jennifer Azzi and Katy Steding, is also a finalist. Stanford grad Val Whiting played for Team USA on an eight-game trip to China.

"It is a privilege to introduce these deserving finalists for induction into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame," said Sarah Hirshland, USOPC CEO. "They represent the pinnacle of athletic achievement and personal excellence, both on and off the field of play. We honor them and are pleased to memorialize their legacy as America's most inspiring athletes and teams."

The finalists will be narrowed down to five Olympians, three Paralympians and one team for induction into the class of 2019. Fan voting is part of the process and can be cast at TeamUSA.org/Vote.

The class of 2019 will be announced on Monday, Sept. 23, and inducted on Friday, Nov. 1, during a ceremony in Colorado Springs.

Opening in early 2020, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will become the new permanent home for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Women's tennis

Former Stanford All-American Kristie Ahn opened the NYJT Bronx Open tennis tournament at the Cary Leeds Center with victories in singles and doubles on Monday.

The 152nd-ranked Ahn, who was awarded a wild card into the main draw, topped Switzerland's 59th-ranked Jil Teichmann, 6-3, 6-4, in the Round of 32.

Ahn lost to Czech Republic's Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-1, in the Round of 16.

In doubles Ahn teamed up with Vania King to dispatch the team of China's Kingying Duan and Czech Republic's Renata Voracova, 7-5, 4-6, 10-8. They lost in the second round.

Ahn, who is 29-20 in singles on the season, earned a wild card into the US Open. She earned it after reaching the quarterfinal round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose at the end of July.

Ahn's former Stanford teammate, two-time NCAA champion Nicole Gibbs won her first two qualifying matches at the US Open, beating Australia's Kaylah McPhee 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round and advancing in the second round when UCLA grad Robin Anderson retired.

The 135th-ranked Gibbs meets China's 169th-ranked Shuai Peng on Friday, with the winner advancing into the main draw.

Gibbs has appeared in the main draw of the US Open every year since 2012 and reached the Round of 32 in 2014. She's 5-7 overall at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Men's water polo

Former Stanford great Tony Azevedo was elected to the Panam Sports Athlete Commission, joining four other newly elected members of the commission.

Azevedo is the all-time leading scorer in FINA World Championship history and has helped lead Team USA to five Pan American Games gold medals and two FINA World League Super Final silver medals. He was named Pac-12 Conference Men's Water Polo Player of the Century.

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