Hubbard-Radcliffe's Lisa Brinkmeyer, who played on the final six-player basketball championship team in 1993, says Iowa is a national leader in the sport. John Naughton
Iowa has an incredible girls' basketball heritage.
From its earliest days — the first unsanctioned state tournament was contested in 1920 — our state has set standards for talent.
From six-player stars like Denise Long and Sandra Fiete, who played in long-closed gyms, to today's legends-to-be like Ashley Joens and Caitlin Clark, the Des Moines Register presents its list of the 50 greatest girls' basketball players in Iowa history.
Our criteria: The decisions are based on the girls' high school performances only. We weighed factors like performance, honors and the legacy that the players left us with (or are building now in their high school careers).
Will there be disagreements with our choices? Sure.
I've observed, covered and interviewed most of these players. We tried to weigh legends of the past with the greatest current kids.
The six-player game that was the gem of generations for the state is well represented. Long and national six-on-six scoring leader Lynne Lorenzen made it in.
Would they hold their own against today's best? It's just one fun argument this list starts.
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The first player to make it (and perhaps the tallest) is Norma Schoulte, who graduated from Monona in 1952. She stood 6-4 and was considered unstoppable.
She also had some great nicknames: the Lethal Lady; the Monona Marvel.
Today's current crop of standouts are represented, too: Indianola's Grace Berg, Dowling's Caitlin Clark, City High's Ashley Joens, Valley's Zoe Young and Western Christian's Ashtyn Veerbeek. All of them have been nationally ranked among their peers.
And now, let the 50 honor roll begin, in alphabetical order:
KATIE ABRAHAMSON, C.R. WASHINGTON
A five-player pioneer, Abrahamson graduated in 1985, helping her team to a state runner-up finish in the first five-on-five state tournament. She went on to become one of the most successful college coaches produced by Iowa.
WENDY AUSDEMORE, TRI-CENTER (NEOLA)
The honors poured in for Ausdemore, who scored 77 points in the 2005 state tournament. She was named Miss Iowa Basketball and later named to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union's Hall of Fame.
LORRI BAUMAN, D.M. EAST
One of the greatest six-player forwards, this basketball Hall of Famer was hard to stop near the basket. She was a member of East's 1979 state championship team. The Scarlets won the state title 82-62 over Bettendorf.
LISA BECKER, C.R. JEFFERSON
Becker used her height to overpower foes, scoring 58.7 points a game as a senior in 1983. She was named Miss Iowa Basketball and was inducted into the state's basketball Hall of Fame.
MARY BERDO, WASHINGTON
Berdo, who graduated in 1996, owned the state scoring record with 2,026 points. She was the first to break the 2,000-point mark in five-on-five. She was more than a scorer, though, setting the state's assist career record, too.
GRACE BERG, INDIANOLA
The Missouri-bound senior has averaged more than 20 points this season. Her field-goal percentage has hovered around 60 percent for most of her career. Led Indianola to four state tournament appearances.
TAMMI BLACKSTONE, CHEROKEE
Blackstone was so athletic, she routinely dunked in warm-ups. She scored nearly 2,000 points in her career and was a slam dunk when it came to honors: Miss Iowa Basketball, Hall of Fame and Register Female Athlete of the Year.
KELSEY BOLTE, BCIG (IDA GROVE)
Bolte was a powerful force who could drive, pass and score. She was named Miss Iowa Basketball in 2007 and was named to the basketball Hall of Fame. Scored 2,026 points in her career.
LISA BRINKMEYER, HUBBARD-RADCLIFFE
Brinkmeyer will forever be remembered for leading her school to the final state six-player championship in 1993. An athletic performer, she was named the Register's Female Athlete of the Year.
HALLIE CHRISTOFFERSON, EXIRA
For her size (6-3), Christofferson brought ball-handling skills to her game, along with scoring and rebounding. A basketball Hall of Fame player who led her school to a Class 1A state championship in 2010.
West Des Moines Dowling Catholic High School sophomore Caitlin Clark is the No. 1 high school sophomore playing girls' basketball. Rodney White/The Register
CAITLIN CLARK, W.D.M. DOWLING CATHOLIC
Clark is ranked as the nation's top sophomore ... and she backs up all the hype. She is an exceptional scorer who will carry a 27-point average into next week's state tournament. Clark is a skilled passer and court leader who has already received dozens of college offers.
DEB COATES, MEDIAPOLIS
Coates was a key part of one of the state's greatest six-on-six dynasties. She compiled 5,103 points in her career (1971-75), good for third best on the state's all-time six-player scoring list. A basketball Hall of Famer and member of the 1973 state champs.
ALLY DISTERHOFT, IOWA CITY WEST
Disterhoft brought a lot of skills to her game. Tall (6-0), she could shoot from the outside or move toward the hoop to grab a rebound. Miss Iowa Basketball in 2013, she went on to play at Iowa.
SANDRA FIETE, GARNAVILLO
A six-player shooting phenom, Fiete ranks fourth among the state's career scoring leaders, with 4,875 points. A basketball Hall of Famer. Fiete was not a towering tall forward but a player who relied on quickness and drives to the basket. A 1955 graduate.
STACY FRESE, C.R. WASHINGTON
Frese comes from one of the state's greatest girls' basketball families. Her sister Brenda is the coach at national power Maryland. Her other sister Marsha is a college coach, too. The basketball Hall of Famer guided her school to a 1995 state title.
MOLLY GOODENBOUR, WATERLOO WEST
One of the greatest point guards in Iowa history, Goodenbour was named Miss Iowa Basketball in 1989. A Register Athlete of the Year. Goodenbour would go on to play for NCAA champion Stanford.
AMY HERRIG, DUBUQUE SENIOR
Herrig combined height with agility, bringing home Miss Iowa Basketball honors in 1995. A basketball Hall of Famer and a Register Athlete of the Year. A talented inside player who went on to play at Iowa.
KAREN JENNINGS, TRI-CENTER (NEOLA)
Jennings compiled back-to-back seasons of 55.5 and 59.0 scoring averages in 1987-88 and 1988-89. Tall (6-2) and difficult to stop near the basket. The basketball Hall of Famer went on to play at Nebraska, earning All-American honors.
JAN JENSEN, ELK HORN-KIMBALLTON
One of the greatest pure shooters in the game, Jensen went from six-player star to an All-American at Drake. Led the state in scoring, with a 65.7-point average in 1987, then went on to lead the nation's college players in scoring (29.6) in 1990-91.
ASHLEY JOENS, IOWA CITY HIGH
A 2018 senior, Joens leads the state with a 31-point scoring average. An exceptional shooter who plays with a tough and determined attitude. The nation's No. 19 recruit, she plans to play at Iowa State next season.
JACQUI KALIN, SIOUX CITY NORTH
Kalin was a dynamic player who brought excitement to the court. A basketball Hall of Famer, she helped North win a 2007 state championship. A tremendous ball-handler who went on to fame at Northern Iowa.
KRISTI KINNE, JEFFERSON-SCRANTON
Kinne's move toward the hoop fooled many a six-player guard — as well as a few college referees who weren't used to seeing her crossover move. A basketball Hall of Famer who took her skills to Drake.
LINDA LAPPE, WINFIELD-MOUNT UNION
Lappe was an exceptional passer and point guard who stood 6 feet. Scored 1,987 points while earning basketball Hall of Fame honors. Went on to play at Colorado, followed by a collegiate coaching career.
JENNIE LILLIS, W.D.M. DOWLING CATHOLIC
Blessed with height and basketball smarts, Lillis was a member of two Dowling Catholic state championship teams before graduating in 2000. A basketball Hall of Famer who followed high school with a successful college playing and coaching career.
DENISE LONG, UNION-WHITTEN
Perhaps the greatest six-on-six star, Long set a national scoring record with 6,250 points in 1969 that would be broken by Lynne Lorenzen nearly two decades later. She appeared on TV with fellow Iowan Johnny Carson and was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors.
LYNNE LORENZEN, VENTURA
Lorenzen owns the six-player national scoring record, with 6,736 points. Miss Iowa Basketball in 1987 and a national player of the year. Tall and nearly unstoppable inside, she led Ventura to a state title as a senior.
LINDSEY MEDER, SOLON
Meder graduated in 1998 with 2,057 career points. A basketball Hall of Famer who led Solon to back-to-back state championships. Meder provided scoring ability while running the offense.
JEANETTE OLSON, EVERLY
Remembered for scoring 4,634 career points and dueling with Union-Whitten in the 1968 state title game. Her team lost, but it provided a galvanizing moment for the state. Not only a basketball Hall of Famer but a Register Iowa Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
ANNE O’NEIL, C.R. KENNEDY
Set the state scoring record with 2,494 points in 2000. An outstanding player for all four years of high school. Named Miss Iowa Basketball as a senior. She was named to the state's basketball Hall of Fame.
RANDI PETERSON, CEDAR FALLS
A physically powerful player who was named Miss Iowa Basketball in 1997. An outstanding swimmer as well, Peterson was named the Register's Female Athlete of the Year. A basketball Hall of Famer.
JAIME PRINTY, LINN-MAR (MARION)
An exceptional shooter who was one of the state's greatest at the free throw line. A 2009 graduate, Printy was so well regarded that she was named to the state's basketball Hall of Fame despite missing a good portion of her career with injuries.
DEB REMMERDE, ROCK VALLEY
One of the greatest shooters in state history and relentlessly competitive, Remmerde set the state 5-player scoring record in 2003 with 2,756 points. That mark would stand until it was broken by 2017 graduate Elle Ruffridge.
STEPHANIE RICH, WASHINGTON
An outstanding guard, she led Washington to three straight state titles. Scored 2,205 points while playing point guard. Miss Iowa Basketball and a basketball Hall of Famer. The only time her team didn't win a state title, it finished second.
ELLE RUFFRIDGE, POCAHONTAS AREA
Established state records in scoring (2,951), assists (802) and 3-pointers (466). Perhaps the greatest shooter in state history, but also led her school to back-to-back state championships. The 2017 Register All-Iowa Athlete of the Year.
LINDA SAYAVONGCHANH, D.M. LINCOLN
Poised and determined, those characteristics made her a great coach as well as a player. The 2002 Miss Iowa Basketball and a basketball Hall of Fame selection. One of the greatest players in Des Moines history.
NORMA SCHOULTE, MONONA
Schoulte didn't initially play basketball but was talked into it. Standing 6-4, she was much taller than her opponents in the 1950s. The equivalent of today is hard to envision.
KAREN SCHULTE, C.R. JEFFERSON
Miss Iowa Basketball in 1993 for the five-player game. Schulte combined height with the ability to shoot inside or outside. Scored 1,479 points in her high school career.
SHELLEY SHEETZ, C.R. KENNEDY
In the early days of Iowa's five-player game, Sheetz was an exceptional talent. Sheetz could score and handle the ball better than nearly anyone in her day. A 1991 graduate, she was named to the basketball Hall of Fame.
NINA SMITH, WATERLOO WEST
Smith won national honors and was one of Iowa's most sought-after recruits in the 1990s. Miss Iowa Basketball of 1999 and a basketball Hall of Famer. She scored 1,994 career points.
KIAH STOKES, LINN-MAR (MARION)
Stokes was one of the state's most-honored players in 2011. A McDonald's All-American and Miss Iowa Basketball. This talented post would go on to play at NCAA champion UConn and has a WNBA career.
SARA STRIBE, CARROLL
Set the state scoring record, finishing her career in 1998 with 2,245 points. A great shooter, but also known as a clutch player who was cool under pressure. Miss Iowa Basketball and the Register's Female Athlete of the Year.
ROBIN THREATT, C.R. JEFFERSON
Threatt ran the court with tremendous speed. After all, she was a sprinter on the school's track team. A basketball Hall of Fame selection. Went on to become Wisconsin's all-time scoring leader, too.
MOLLY TIDEBACK, WATERLOO COLUMBUS
Physically dominating and difficult to defend. One of the first great five-player stars. Tideback scored 1,859 career points. She was named Miss Iowa Basketball and a high school All-American.
ASHTYN VEERBEEK, WESTERN CHRISTIAN (HULL)
The 2018 senior scored 25.8 points and averaged 14.4 rebounds this season. A dominant post who has signed to play at Nebraska. One of the greatest inside players the state has produced.
TANYA WARREN, D.M. LINCOLN
Warren caught the imagination of the state. As a six-player forward who graduated in 1983, her ball-handling skills were restricted to two-dribble plays. Her abilities shined through, however, earning her the nickname "The Little Magician." A basketball Hall of Famer.
NICKY WIEBEN, ANKENY
Wieben guided Ankeny to four consecutive state championships. Tall but agile, she also was a standout swimmer. A Register Athlete of the Year.
MARKISHA WRIGHT, D.M. EAST
Wright is one of the greatest players produced in Des Moines. In 2010-11, she led East to a 26-0 season. A fierce and tough insider player. Wright scored 1,193 points and grabbed 697 rebounds in her career.
CONNIE YORI, ANKENY
Yori became a high school legend with her multi-sport skills. In 1981, the six-on-six forward was named the state's first Miss Iowa Basketball. A basketball Hall of Fame selection.
ZOE YOUNG, W.D.M. VALLEY
Young is a current junior, but has exceptional basketball skills that helped her earn a spot on the list. Scoring 22 points a game this season and led Valley to a Class 5A state title last season. She is considered one of the nation's top juniors and plans to play in college at Maryland.
AMANDA ZIMMERMAN, BALLARD (HUXLEY)
Zimmerman has few equals when it comes to combining size and speed. She was named Miss Iowa Basketball in 2009 and will be inducted into the state's basketball Hall of Fame this week.