Texas women's hoops team attends Richards memorial

Updated: September 19, 2006, 9:05 AM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas -- The presence of the University of Texas women's basketball team at her memorial service would have made former Texas Gov. Ann Richards happier than anything, her granddaughter told mourners Monday.

Lily Adams, 19, remembered going to women's basketball games with her grandmother from the time she was very young. Richards died last week at the age of 73 from esophageal cancer.

"It wasn't until I was older that I knew that boys played basketball, too," Adams said, to chuckles in the audience.

For years, Richards was a fixture at the games, always seated behind the team, shouting at referees and peppering coaches with questions.

"We didn't just go and cheer politely," Adams said. "We sat behind the bench with (the late U.S. Rep.) Barbara Jordan and yelled until we were hoarse."

After the memorial service, head coach Jody Conradt remembered a picture that circulated in newspapers around the country of Richards "helping me dispute a call by the official."

"She always agreed with me and there are not very many fans who do that," Conradt said.

Sen. Hillary Clinton also remembered hearing stories of Richards at basketball games with Jordan.

While Jordan would be yelling at players about their dribbling, Clinton was once told that "Ann Richards would be yelling 'girl where did you get those shoes?"'

Conradt encouraged members of her basketball team to skip class to attend the service.

"It was an educational day for them, as it was for all of us, to be reminded of how Ann Richards impacted all of our lives," she said.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press