Tiger Rag High 5: LSU’s all-time best female athlete

Former LSU All-American and Baton Rouge native Seimone Augustus announced her retirement Thursday after 15 years in the WNBA to join the coaching staff of the Los Angeles Sparks as an assistant coach. PHOTO courtesy of LSU athletic department

Welcome to the 19th category of our Tiger Rag High Five, the all-time best female athlete.

A 15-member media panel with a collective 582 years of sports journalism experience picked LSU’s five best athletes, coaches, moments, and individual game and season performances in 21 categories covering all present and past sports.

Voters on the panel were provided information of six to 10 nominees and were asked to rank one through five. The panel voters could also write-in their own candidates.

Scoring was tallied as 5 points for a first-place vote, 4 for second-place, 3 for third-place, 2 for second place and 1 for last-place. Ties were not broken.

The best female athlete and the four others in the High Five were the top five vote getters of the winners in the individual High 5 sports categories.

The winner of the best-ever LSU female athlete is. . .

Seimone Augustus, basketball 73 (13)

2. Malorie Rutledge, soccer 70 (12)

Three-time soccer All-American from 2006-09, school record-holder game-winning kicks

3. Daniela Reis, volleyball 65 (9)

Three-time volleyball All-American from 1989-92, led LSU to three SEC championships

4. Britni Sneed, softball 61 (8)

Two-time first-team softball All-American, 2002 SEC Pitcher of the Year

5. Kimberlyn Duncan, track and field 55 (4)

Won 2012 Bowerman Award as the best woman college track athlete

Here’s Augustus’ story:

Greatness recognizes greatness.

That April 2002 day when the LSU women’s basketball program signed Baton Rouge Capitol High star guard Seimone Augustus, the most decorated player in Louisiana girls prep history, then-LSU athletic director and former legendary Tigers’ baseball coach Skip Bertman had this to say:

“I think Seimone is the most important recruit in the history of our athletic program for three reasons. First, she’s from Baton Rouge. She’s the nation’s top player in her sport and (LSU coach) Sue (Gunter) has 11 players, including all five starters, returning from last year’s NCAA Tournament team. This is the start of something great.”

Considering Augustus was voted Louisiana’s 4A Player of the Year four straight times, selected twice as a Gatorade All-American and was the second player in Louisiana high school basketball history named Miss Basketball in Louisiana in back-to-back years, Bertman’s observation wasn’t far-fetched.

After losing in an NCAA regional final as a freshman, Augustus led LSU to the first three of five consecutive Final Fours, twice sweeping four national Player of the Year awards and twice winning the AP and Coaches SEC Player of the Year award.

In her first college game, she scored six of her 27 points in overtime in a 78-71 win at Arizona.

“She is pretty good, we are going to keep her around,” cracked then-LSU coach Sue Gunter of Augustus. 

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Ron Higgins

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