TWO-TIME OLYMPIAN AND SEVEN-TIME WNBA ALL-STAR PREPARES FOR FINAL PRO SEASON

Yolanda Griffith, signed to a free agent contract with the Indiana Fever last February, has announced that 2009 will be her final pro season. A two-time Olympic gold medalist, seven-time WNBA All-Star and a member of the WNBA’s All-Decade Team, Griffith will conclude a 13-year pro career that included two seasons in the American Basketball League. Griffith, No. 2 in WNBA history in rebounds (2,437), also ranks among the league’s all-time leaders in points (6th), steals (4th), blocks (8th) and free throws (3rd).

Griffith will play her 11th and final WNBA season in a Fever uniform, capping a WNBA career that currently spans 308 games and a 2005 title with the Sacramento Monarchs. Entering her final season, Griffith boasts career averages of 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

“My career in the WNBA has given me a lot of great memories and friendships,” said Griffith. “At this time, I, with my family, have made the decision to make this season my last. I look back on all the great basketball memories, my accomplishments and my life as a WNBA player, with a smile. But I look forward to my future goals with enthusiasm.”

“I am so proud that we have Yolanda in Indianapolis for her final season,” said Fever Chief Operating Officer and General Manager Kelly Krauskopf. “Her tremendous career speaks for itself and I expect her to make her final mark here with our team as we head into our 10th season. She is a first-class professional and one of the greatest to ever play the game.”

"Intensity and passion. That’s what struck me about her game the first time I saw her play,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “And it’s what stood out every time thereafter. Yo has accomplished so much at so many different levels, but it’s the passion that will be her legacy."

Since Griffith’s arrival on the professional and international basketball scene, she has always been among the best power forwards in the world – and at times considered the very best. She starred many years overseas in Russia as one of the best players internationally, and she twice guided the United States to Olympic gold medals – in 2000 in Sydney, and 2004 in Athens.

“I have always considered Yolanda Griffith as America’s premier women’s post player,” said Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn. “There has never been a more physically dominant post on both ends of the floor, and on the boards, in our game. Her blue-collar work ethic has set the standard at her position, and her leadership skills are second to none.”

The world of women’s basketball has been the stage for one of the game’s most dominant rebounders. She averaged 11.5 points and a USA-leading 8.8 rebounds during the 2000 Olympics. In 2004 with current Fever teammate Tamika Catchings at her side, she shot 60.5 percent from the field during the Olympic Tournament, while averaging 8.8 points and 6.6 rebounds.

Prior to landing on that stage however, Griffith worked her way to becoming a Division II All-American in 1993. After growing up in Chicago and graduating from George Washington Carver High School, she attended Palm Beach (Fla.) Junior College for two seasons, before playing her final college season at Florida Atlantic University and leading the country in scoring (28.2) and rebounding (16.0). In 1997, she was made the No. 1 overall pick by the Long Beach Stingrays of the ABL, where she began making strides toward landing on the world stage. She was the ABL Defensive Player of the Year as a rookie, and after the league folded in 1998, she was the No. 2 overall selection of the 1999 WNBA Draft, by Sacramento.

In her first year in the WNBA, Griffith was the league’s MVP, All-WNBA First Team, Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. Five years later, after a pair Olympic gold medals, she helped guide the Monarchs to their first WNBA crown.

After her seven WNBA All-Star appearances, her last in 2007 and all representing Sacramento, she signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Storm prior to the 2008 season. She started 30 games for Seattle last season, averaging 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds, in her 12th pro season overall.

She is slated to begin her final WNBA season when the Fever opens training camp on Sunday, May 17. The Fever will conduct its annual media day on Monday, May 18.

The Indiana Fever celebrates its 10th anniversary season in 2009, opening the summer season at Atlanta on Saturday, June 6 (7:00 p.m.), and hosting the Minnesota Lynx on June 7 (7:00 p.m.) – exactly 10 years after the franchise was founded (June 7, 1999). Led by Griffith, two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time WNBA All-Star Tamika Catchings, Olympic silver medalist Tully Bevilaqua, 2008 WNBA Most Improved Player Ebony Hoffman and two-time WNBA All-Stars Katie Douglas and Tammy Sutton-Brown, the Fever bids for its fifth consecutive playoff appearance in 2009. Season tickets are available clicking here.