Photo courtesy of Amanda Webster

Hall of Honor: 2003 EMU women’s basketball team

Twenty years after making a strong postseason run, the 2003 EMU women’s basketball team will become just the second basketball team—and the first women’s basketball team—to be enshrined into the EMU Hall of Honor. 

The Royals started the 2003-04 season 7-0 before dropping their first game of the year to Roanoke. They followed up with nine straight wins, including four games where they scored more than 80 points, and finished the regular season at 21-3, 17-3 in the ODAC. The Royals were the #1 seed heading into the ODAC tournament where they knocked off #8 Washington & Lee and #4 Guilford to reach the ODAC Championships before downing #3 Randolph-Macon 65-54 to win the conference title. The Royals edged Christopher Newport University 63-62 in a second-round home game to advance to the Sweet 16 before losing to Hardin-Simmons University in Wisconsin to end their magical run in the NCAA tournament. They ended the season ranked 30th in the nation by

“It’s amazing that we were able to make it to the Sweet 16 with such a small group. We believed in ourselves, and it was a great run. It was a fun run,” shared Amanda Renalds Webster ‘05, a starter on the 2003 team along with Shantee Bryant ‘06, Stephanie Mathews Lane Cooper ‘06, Carrie Grandstaff, class of ‘06, and Laura Ludholtz, class of ‘06. Guards Grandstaff and Ludholtz were named All-ODAC First Team, and coach Richard McElwee was named the VaSID Coach of the Year. McElwee passed away in December 2020, yet his legacy lives on.“Richard was the right man at the right time for the EMU women’s basketball team when hired in 2003. As good of a coach as Richard was, he was an even better person. He always looked for the good in people and was always willing to help out those who were down on their luck. His expertise as a coach and his kindness as a person surely lives on in the hundreds of players he coached over the span of his career,” said Kirby Dean, EMU men’s basketball coach from 2003-2018 and longtime friend of McElwee.

Join the Discussion on “Hall of Honor: 2003 EMU women’s basketball team

  1. This team was so much fun on and off the court. Part of their success was they truly loved each other and had each others backs! We will always cherish the memories of the time our daughter was a part of the team.

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