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Jun 30, 2020

Denise Long Rife was known for her work ethic and long hours of practice. As a forward in 6 on 6 basketball, her job was to score without worrying about running the court or playing defense. She took her practice so seriously that the park where she shot baskets while it was -11 degrees is now named after her. The countless hours of shooting helped her on her way to the national scoring record. After scoring over 6000 points in high school, including many games over 100 points, Long Rife was one of the most prolific scorers in prep basketball history. One of the highlights of her career was the championship game during her senior year which was seen by millions of people. However, her scoring total wasn’t the only history she made.

After her senior season, Denise was working on a bulletin board at school when a classmate told her she had been drafted. Long Rife didn’t follow the NBA and had never even heard about the San Francisco Warriors. She took the opportunity to go out to California and played for the women’s league that Franklin Mieuli, the owner of the Warriors, was starting. Her selection drew national attention and she was written about in Sports Illustrated and was a guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.  

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