Delta State University has announced funeral arrangements for Lusia “Lucy” Harris Stewart, the basketball legend who led the university to three consecutive national championships and became the first Black woman inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. 

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. in the Walter Sillers Coliseum at Delta State University. Visitation will be held the day prior from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Bethesda Five Points Center in Greenwood. 

Harris, a native of Minter City, Miss., was the only Black woman on Delta State’s Lady Statesmen when she led the team to its first national title in 1975. A year later, the 6-foot-3 center scored the first basket in Olympic womens’ basketball history at the Montreal Games. 

“Now that’s a record that’ll never be broken,” Harris said in “The Queen of Basketball,” a 2021 documentary about her life. 

There was no WNBA league when Harris graduated from Delta State in 1977, so she married her high school sweetheart, George Stewart. She turned down an offer to play with the New Orleans Jazz and took a job coaching basketball at Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, where she had learned to play the game. 

“Lucy was truly the first superstar of the women’s game,” Langston Rogers, the Delta State sports information director in the 1970s, told Mississippi Today’s Rick Cleveland. “She just dominated. Nobody could dominate a game like Lucy could.”

Harris passed away at age 66 on Wednesday, Jan. 18, in a therapy facility in Mound Bayou.

READ MORE: Why did an NBA team draft Lucy Harris? A Mississippi guy was involved.


We want to hear from you!

By listening more intently and understanding the people who make up Mississippi’s communities, our reporters put a human face on how policy affects everyday Mississippians. We’re listening closely to our readers to help us continue to align our work with the needs and priorities of people from all across Mississippi. Please take a few minutes to tell us what’s on your mind by clicking the button below.


Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Molly Minta, a Florida native, covers higher education for Mississippi Today. She works in partnership with Open Campus, a nonprofit news organization focused on higher education. Prior to joining Mississippi Today, Molly worked for The Nation, The Appeal, and Mother Jones.