Gail Marquis joins Hall of Fame with a friend  

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has inductees that are unique players, contributors and pioneers. Gail Marquis checks all the boxes.  

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By Earl Heath | Contributing Sports Writer

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has inductees that are unique players, contributors and pioneers. Gail Marquis checks all the boxes.  

Recently at the Mohegan Sun Resort Casino located on the shores of the Thames River in picturesque Uncasville. Connecticut. It was a few hours before her and team members of the 1976 Olympic Women’s basketball squad received their Hall of Fame rings.    

Surrounded by family and friends who came with her to share the special moment- the New York native talked with me about her journey. 

In 1976 women’s basketball became an Olympic sport for the first time. The United States had trials at various regions around the country to put together its team. Adds in placed in newspapers nationwide. And over 2.000 women tried to make the team. 

From the New Jersey to Maine region came Marquis and Nancy Lieberman. The were some of the 250 women trying to make the team.   

“On day one they told us that only five us were moving on from here,” said Marquis. “Everyone was nervous when they heard that number. Some women came to the trials and wearing street shoes.” 

Gail and Lieberman went at it pretty tough throughout the three days. They clearly stood out as the best among all the players. 

They went to Kansas City to join the other regions and make the final piece of the team. That’s where she met future teammate and lifelong friend Trish Roberts. 


 Roberts played collegiately at Emporia State and later at the University of Tennessee where she set nine records and some still stand as Lady Vol records, including points in a game (51), rebounds in a game (24), and points in a season (987). 

The final team was chosen before they went to the Montreal Canada Olympics to compete and came away with a Silver Medal. 

The Olympic games were a super experience themselves, especially Opening Ceremony as Gail stated. “Marching to the stadium as we got closer you could see this big domed building. As we were entering the stadium the announcer said and from the United States- There was a roar, that roar kind of pushed you back. From there I realized this is not a parade it was euphoria- You just didn’t make a team you made the Olympic team you representing your country.” 

Her friendship with Roberts carried on as the two played on the National team in the 1977 World University Games. After winning the opening game against Germany, Marquis had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the USA team defeat Mexico. Marquis scored 16 points in a close game against Romania, which USA team won 76–73. They again won the Siver Medal falling to a tough Russian team. 

Marquis was the third leading scorer on the team, averaging 12.0 points per game and the second leading rebounder, with 7.0 per game. 

Roberts would go on to coach at  the Maine and Michigan to name a few’ She has been inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Marquis went on to play for the French Federation of Basketball and in the U.S. for the New York Stars and later the New Jersey Gems of the Women’s Basketball League (W.B.L). She was on the Stars when they won a championship in 1980.  

This was a friendship coming from a team that is life long the closeness has them has created a challenge by Gail. 

“We’ve been friends since, were always in touch. I told her I was going to outlive her.