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Bolton-Holifield, Ruthie (1967—)

Bolton-Holifield, Ruthie (1967—)

African-American basketball player who was named the 1991 USA Basketball Female Player of the Year. Name variations: Ruthie Bolton. Born Alice Ruth Bolton on May 27, 1967, in Lucedale, Mississippi; one of 20 children of Reverend Linwood and Leola Bolton; Attended McClain High School in McClain, Massachusetts; graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Exercise Physiology, 1990; married Mark Holifield, in 1991.

During her 1986–90 sojourn at Auburn University, Ruthie Bolton-Holifield, a 5'9" guard, was selected to the 1988 and 1989 Southeastern Conference (SEC) All-Academic Teams; was chosen for the 1989 ALL-SEC second team; won three SEC championships; was named to the 1988 and 1989 NCAA Mideast Region All-Tournament Teams and the 1988 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team; made four NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the NCAA championship game twice (1989 and 1990); and was named the 1991 USA Basketball Female Player of the Year. Bolton-Holifield was a member of many USA Basketball teams, winning a team gold medal with the World University team in 1991, the team bronze with the World Championship team and a team gold with the Goodwill team, both 1994.

At a time when an after-college career for women basketball players in the U.S. was nonexistent, Bolton-Holifield continued playing overseas. Her initial professional season was with Visby in Sweden (1989–90). She then became the first American woman to play in Hungary when she took on guard duty with the Tungstrum (1991–92). From 1992 to 1995, she played for Erreti Faenz in Italy, then signed with the Galatsaray in Turkey for the 1996–97 season. In 1995–96, Bolton-Holifield was a member of the USA Basketball Women's National Team that toured the world, culminating in a 1996 team gold medal at the Olympics in Atlanta. In January 22, 1997, she signed with the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) to play for the Sacramento Monarchs. In the WNBA's inaugural year, Bolton-Holifield had a spectacular season, scoring 34 points in two games, averaging 19.4 (PPG) points per game, along with 5.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. She was named to the 1997 All-WNBA First Team.

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