Brian Tessler figured it was about time to start a Fresno City College women’s basketball Hall of Fame.
The Rams coach was gathered with his staff after last season when the idea was sparked. Just a few months later the program will induct its inaugural class – former players Lena Gipson (2007-08), Vanessa House (2006-08) and Brenda Frazier (1981-83) – at 6 p.m. Friday at Pardini’s.
“The Hall of Fame came about at our end-of-the-year coaches dinner,” Tessler said. “We were talking about how our football program is the only program that has a Hall of Fame. We decided right then and there that we were going to have a women’s basketball Hall of Fame.”
Gipson, a former Memorial High standout, helped the Rams to a 35-3 record and a berth in the state final four as she came back from tearing an ACL in high school. She averaged 18 pointsand 11 rebounds per game for the Rams and shot 64.2 percent. In one conference game, Gipson scored 42 points while grabbing 29 rebounds. Gipson, who originally committed to Arizona State after high school, accepted a scholarship to Santa Clara.
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“Lena Gipson was the most dominating player I’ve coached in 20 years of community college coaching,” said Tessler, who is entering his 10th season at Fresno City College. “She was also the most grounded, as her success never went to her head. If I had to choose one person to take the final shot to win a game, it would be Lena.”
House, a former Fresno High School star, in two seasons at Fresno City averaged 14.6 points, 5.9 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game and shot 43.8 percent. In 2007-08, she helped lead the Rams to a school-record 35 wins and a spot in the final four. In a semifinal loss, House scored 41 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished five assists. She was named all-state her sophomore season and went on to play for West Virginia.
“I feel she’s the best point guard to have ever come out of the Fresno area,” Tessler said. “There’s nothing Vanessa can’t do on a basketball court. She was special and everyone who played with her felt the same way.”
Frazier, an Edison High graduate, as a freshman led the Rams in rebounds (271), rebounds per game (10.8), and assists (108) while averaging 9.4 points per game. As a sophomore, she helped the Rams to a 25-5 record and 10-2 in Central Valley Conference play while averaging 15.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. She went on to play for Fresno Pacific.
“There’s no better choice than Brenda Frazier for the inaugural class because of her contributions on the court and to the entire athletic program at Fresno City College,” Tessler said. “I had no idea what a good athlete she was until I started looking at her stats. Brenda Frazier is Fresno City College basketball.”
The dinner-dance is $40 per person, with cocktails from 6-7 p.m. and dinner to follow.