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Sonja Tate inducted into Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame

03/09/2013

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Sonja Tate, a current Arkansas State assistant women’s basketball coach and a former ASU player, was one of eight members inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame at the 55th annual induction banquet at Verizon Arena on Friday night.

Tate was a member of the ASU women’s basketball team from 1989-93 and remains the leader in six statistical categories. She holds the school record with 2,312 points in her career, the most of any men’s or women’s basketball player in the program’s history. With her induction, she also became the first ASU women’s basketball player to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

“I was extremely honored and excited when I first received the news that I was going to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame,” Tate said. “Tonight was a very special night for me and I was truly honored to be a part of the Class of 2013. I am also honored to be the first Arkansas State women’s basketball player to be inducted in the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and it is an honor that I am truly grateful for.”

She set the single-season scoring record at ASU with 820 points during the 1992-93 season and owns the top-five single game scoring performances in school history.  She remains the only ASU women’s player to have scored 40 or more points in a single game, a feat she accomplished five times, including a 50-point performance against Louisiana-Lafayette during the 1992-93 season. Tate connected on 95 three-pointers during the 1992-93 season, an ASU record that still stands. She pulled down 327 rebounds that season, the most of any player in a single season.

Tate also remains the only player in ASU history to record a quadruple double, finishing with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in an 86-59 victory at Mississippi Valley State Jan. 27, 1993.  Later that season, she led A-State to a 67-54 win over SMU and earned MVP honors in the National Women’s Invitation Tournament.

Following her freshman season, she was named Co-Newcomer of the Year in the American South Conference.  She earned All-American South Conference honors as a sophomore and All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a junior and a senior.  Prior to her senior season, she was named preseason first-team All-America by Dick Vitale’s Basketball Magazine and following the season was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American.

She was also an All-American track and field athlete while at ASU, and remains in the top-10 in ASU history in six events.  She set the school record in the heptathlon in 1994 with 5,247 points, a mark that remains at No. 2 today.

The former guard was inducted into the ASU Hall of Honor in 2004, two years after finishing her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx, where she was a three-year starter.  During her time with the Lynx, she led the team in minutes played, assists and steals and was among the top-three rebounders on the team.  She also played professionally in France, Russia, Spain, and with the American Basketball League. 

In addition to Tate, the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Class for 2013 also included former West Memphis High School standout Marcus Brown, Southland Park at West Memphis owner Jeremy Jacobs, former University of Arkansas and current LPGA standout Stacy Lewis, former University of Arkansas track and cross country great Frank O’Mara, former high school boys’ basketball coach Don Nixon, former Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference golf champion Wyn Norwood and the late John Outlaw who was a high school football coach in the 1970s and 1980s in the state of Arkansas.

Sonja Tate