Former All-American Ashley Shields inducted into Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame
Former Southwest basketball All-American Ashley Shields, who in 2007 was the first WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) player drafted from a community college, was inducted into the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Hilton Hotel.
Inductees into the sports hall of fame are recognized for their influence and contributions to the success of their sport. The award ceremony brings attention to the value of amateur sports in the Memphis metro area.
“I’ve worked so hard throughout my career to be the best. It is such a privilege being honored with some of the best athletes in Memphis,” Shields said. “I’ve earned every accomplishment and I’m very thankful and grateful for this award. Becoming a hall of famer is a great feeling and I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything in the world.”
Shields played one magnificent season (2006-07) at Southwest, leading the Lady Saluqis to a 26-2 record and No. 13 ranking in the final National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) poll. The NJCAA and Kodak/WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association named her first team All-American that year and the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) named her to the Region VII All-Tournament team and TCCAA coaches unanimously selected her Player of the Year. In the Lady Saluqis' quarterfinal victory over Cleveland State, Shields scored a NJCAA-record 65 points.
Shields also led the NJCAA in scoring that year with a season average of 27.4 points per game and was among national leaders with 11.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 4.1 steals per game. She also led the Lady Saluqis in field goal percentage (.558) and three-point percentage (.443) and recorded four triple-doubles.
Thinking back on her time at Southwest, Shields remembered the many people in her life that kept her going as an athlete and student, including Lady Saluqi’s head coach Andrea Martre who kept her focused and moving forward. “It was a blessing in disguise being able to play for Coach Martre,” she said. “Her expectations for me where so high. She pushed me every second on and off the floor,” Shields added. “I met so many great people and built great relationships as well. It was such an honor being a Saluqi and representing my hometown.”
Following her sophomore season at Southwest, Shields was drafted by the Houston Comets in the first round (eighth overall pick) of the 2007 WNBA draft. She played for the Comets and also for the Detroit Shock in her WNBA career, appearing in three playoff games during the Shock's WNBA championship run. Shields also played professionally in Israel, Slovokia, and Poland, where she led the Polish League in scoring, played in the All-Star game, and was selected first team All-League by Eurobasket.com.
Shields is currently in her first season as head coach of the Mitchell High School girls basketball team in Memphis.