West Virginia Hoops Legend Ostrowski Dies

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Former Tennessee women’s basketball great Mary Ostrowski, who helped the Lady Vols reach three Final Fours in the 1980s, has died at age 51, a relative said Saturday.

Ostrowski’s sister, Beth Hundman, said Ostrowski died Friday night in Bristol, Va. Hundman says her sister was diagnosed in 2007 with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, and she died from complications from the illness.

While at Tennessee, Ostrowski helped the Lady Vols advance to NCAA Final Fours in 1981, 1982 and 1984. She was a 1982 Kodak All-American and SEC All-Tournament Team member. She also was an All-SEC selection in 1982 and 1984.

Ostrowski currently ranks fifth in rebounds and 10th in points at Tennessee. She was inducted into the Lady Vol Hall of Fame in 2006.

A message expressing condolences was posted on former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt’s Twitter account.

“Thinking of Mary O today. Love and prayers for her family. Once a Lady Vol, always a Lady Vol,” the message said.

Ostrowski also was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1981 to 1983. She earned a gold medal at the 1983 World University Games.

As a standout at Parkersburg Catholic, Ostrowski was the first female winner and a three-time recipient of the Russell A. Thom Award, which is presented to the state’s top basketball player.

Ostrowski had been staying at her sister’s home in Bristol, where she received hospice care, Hundman said.

Hundman described her sister as compassionate, humble person who didn’t call attention to her basketball success.

Hundman said a memorial “celebration” has been scheduled for next Saturday at the Knights of Columbus in Parkersburg.