Two-time gold medalist Nikki McCray-Penson dies

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Nikki McCray-Penson has died. She was 51.

Robert Penson, McCray-Penson’s cousin, confirmed her death to The State on Friday. She passed away due to complications following a second bout with breast cancer, per 247Sports.

McCray-Penson was a two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year at Tennessee in 1994 and 1995. She followed up two seasons in the American Basketball League and nine more in the WNBA with an assistant coaching stint at South Carolina under Dawn Staley and head-coaching jobs at Old Dominion and Mississippi State.

She resigned at Mississippi State in 2021, citing “unspecified health concerns she hoped were behind her,” according to ESPN. She returned to coaching in June 2022 as an assistant at Rutgers.

McCray-Penson captured Olympic gold medals with the 1996 and 2000 United States Olympic teams. She was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

A three-time WNBA All-Star, McCray-Penson averaged 10.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists with the Washington Mystics, Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, then-San Antonio Silver Stars and Chicago Sky.

–Field Level Media