Nichols takes her place as one of the greatest in UK Hoops program history

By Lindsay Travis | Women’s Basketball Beat Writer

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Former women’s basketball player Leslie Nichols has remained on top of several statistical categories since her career ended in 1986. Now, Nichols will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame, capping an esteemed career.

Nichols was a starting forward from 1982 to 1986 at UK. She ranks third in career scoring with 1,797 total points, second in field goals made with 757, fourth in steals with 278 and rebounds with 877 and fifth in blocks with 102.

“Leslie was a great all-around player. She could take over a game at either end of the court,” UK Media Relations Director Tony Neely said.

Nichols believed she was a solid player, all-around.

“I wasn’t really great at anything but I was pretty darn good at everything,” Nichols said.

“If you look at her numbers you can tell she was a great scorer and rebounder,” Neely said. “But at the same time, on the defensive end, she was a great shot-blocker and was great in steals.”

Nichols notched 34 career double-doubles during her time at UK and remains the only basketball player in UK history to record a triple-double.

“I really did not know that I did that until about 20 years later,” Nichols said .

She still remembers the game vividly.

“I remember us playing Louisville. I remember (UK head coach Terry Hall’s) comment after the game was that basically I dominated the game both offensively and defensively,” said Nichols. “And I remember the 11 steals.”

However, being the only basketball player, male or female, to hold that record is not Nichols’ favorite memory of her time at UK.

“My most memorable time would be my freshman year when we broke the attendance record for the most fans to ever attend a game,” Nichols said.

The Cats played Old Dominion on Feb. 5, 1983, in front of a packed house at Memorial Coliseum.

Nichols remembers running out of the tunnel to the team’s theme song that year — “Kentucky Woman”, by Neil Diamond.

The Coliseum was foggy from cigarette smoke and the team was stunned, Nichols said.

“When you first run out, and you think about having just played in games where maybe there was hardly anybody there,” Nichols said. “I just wanted to cry. I was like, ‘I can’t believe all these people have come to see us play.’”

Nichols never thought of herself being in the Hall of Fame.

“I’ve tried to wrap my brain around what it means,” she said. “When you think about all the ones before you and all the ones that will definitely come after you, it’s just nice to be recognized and to have people appreciate what you did on the court.”

Nichols said that being inducted into the UK Athletic Hall of Fame is really special for her.

“I’m from Lexington. I grew up a mile away from campus,” Nichols said. “It’s hard to think growing up that you would accomplish something like this.”