Rita Gail Easterling


High School Career

Morton High School (1970-1973)

• First team All-State (’71, ‘72, ‘73)

• Selected as Mississippi’s Miss Basketball (’73)

• Class A State girls basketball championship (’73)

• Mississippi High School All-Star (’73)

• Little Dixie Conference MVP (’73)

• All District 6 and All South Mississippi selection (’71, ‘72, ‘73)

 

College Career

Mississippi College (1973-1977)

• All America, First Team, Kodak (’77)

• Selected to Who’s Who in American Colleges & Universities (’77)

• Set all-time career assists record at MC with 520

• Still holds season records for field goals attempted (535) and assists (273) (’77)

• Led Lady Choctaws to #9 national ranking and repeat appearance in national AIAW tournament (’77)

• Hanes East-West U.S. All Star team (’76)

• Led Lady Choctaws (26-4) to AIAW Championship Basketball game (lost 68-53 to Immaculate College) (’74)

 

Internation Competition (1975-1977)

• Pan American Games championship team (’75)

• World Championship tournament (’75)

• USA Women’s basketball team trials (’76)

• Member U.S. National Women’s Basketball Team (’76)

• Silver medal team in World University games in Bulgaria (’77)

 

Professional Career

Women’s Professional Basketball League
Chicago Hustle (1978-1981)

• Selected by the Chicago Hustle as first free agent pick in 1978

• Played in WBL’s inaugural game in Milwaukee, WI; set WBL single game assist record (21) (December 9, 1978)

• WBL League MVP (21.5 pts/game, 10.1 assists/game) (’79)

• WBL All Pro (’79, ‘80)

• Top five in All-time WBL assists

• MVP first WPL All-Star game (’79)

 

Coaching Career

• Head coach, Mississippi College women’s basketball (1983-1990)

• Head coach, Mississippi College softball team (1986-1989)

• Head coach, Neville High girls basketball team, Monroe, LA (1990-1992)

 

Special Recognition and Honors

• Honored with “Rita Easterling Day” in hometown Morton, MS, including parade and billboard (August 15, 1975)

• Mississippi College Athletic Hall of Fame (’00)

• Named one of ESPN’s Top 25 Women’s College Basketball Players of Pre-NCAA era (’06)

 

Did You Know?

Raised in the Polkville, MS, community, Easterling rode her horse to school and began playing hoops in the 4th grade. Rita was dubbed “Queen of the Floor Burns” for her aggressive play in the WBL.

Her individual college rivalry with fellow All-American Lusia “Lucy” Harris from Gulf South Conference foe Delta State made the DSU-Mississippi College games among the most widely-watched in the state.

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