Tari Phillips - Women's Basketball (1990-91) - Class of 2003
Tari Phillips (1990-91) played one season at UCF after transferring from
After her career ended at UCF, she played professional basketball overseas with teams in Spain, France, Turkey
Phillips played for the Seattle Reign and the Colorado Xplosion in the American Basketball League (1996-1998). She made the ABL's Western Conference All-Star team in both 1997 and
After the ABL abruptly folded, Phillip was selected by her hometown team, the Orlando Miracle in the first round (eighth overall) of the WNBA Draft on May 4, 1999. After her WNBA rookie season in 1999, she was selected by the Portland Fire in the WNBA's Expansion Draft in December 1999, but she was later traded to the New York Liberty just prior to the start of the WNBA's 2000 season. She played with the Liberty from 2000 to 2004. After the 2004 season ended, she became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Houston Comets for the 2005 WNBA season until 2007. Phillips won a Gold Medal with USA Basketball during the Basketball World Championship in 2002.
After a solid first season with the Liberty, during which she averaged 13.8 points and eight rebounds, she became the first recipient of the WNBA's newly created Most Improved Player Award. She also earned her first trip to the WNBA All-Star game in 2000 and has played four all-star games during her career.
During the fall of 2002, Phillips joined Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley and Sheryl Swoopes on the U.S. National Team that competed at the World Basketball Championships in Nanjing, China. Team USA went 9-0 in the tournament, taking the gold medal with a 79-72 victory over Russia in the finals. Phillips averaged 12.8 minutes in nine games.
Thanks to her success with the UCF basketball program and the excellence she continues to achieve on the professional level, Phillips earned a place in the UCF Hall of Fame in 2003.