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2002 Fiba World Championship for Women MVP, Lisa Leslie
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Donovan, Leslie and 1996 Olympic women's team among finalists for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame

COLORADO SPRINGS (USA) - The 1996 United States Olympic team and American greats Anne Donovan and Lisa Leslie provided plenty of inspiration for women's basketball in the United States.

Now fans have an opportunity to recognize the legendary contributions, with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee announcing that all three are among the finalists for its Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

The 1996 Olympic team, which rolled to decisive victories in all eight of its games en route to the gold medal, led by Leslie's 19.5 points per game, is among the finalists in the team category. 

That squad was critical in popularizing women's basketball, which helped lead to the creation of two professional leagues - the ABL and WNBA.

Donovan, who'd captured Olympic gold medals as a USA player in 1984 and 1988, also coached the USA to an Olympic title in 2008, in Beijing. That 2008 USA team, in fact, had Leslie, who capped her incredible international career with a fourth straight Olympic gold in China.

Donovan won two Olympic titles as a player and then coached the USA to gold in 2008

Donovan, inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015, and Leslie are nominated for the Hall of Fame Class of 2019 in the individual Olympic category.

In all, 15 Olympians, nine Paralympians and three teams are among the finalists for this year's Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

USA Basketball fans can cast their vote at TeamUSA.org/Vote through September 3 to help determine the class of 2019, which will mark the first class inducted into the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame since 2012.