Lieberman was the youngest member of the United States' women's basketball team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics; she was only 18 and had just graduated from high school. 1976 was the first time that women's basketball was included in the Olympic program, and the U.S. had to compete in a qualifying tournament to earn a spot in Montreal (they went 5-0 in the tournament).
At the Olympics, the U.S. lost its first game to Japan (71-84), but won their next two games over Bulgaria (95-79), and Canada (89-75) to set up a showdown with the Soviet Union. The Soviets, who were considered the best team in the world, were led by 7'2" center Jullana Semenova and routed the Americans, 112-77, to end the U.S. hopes for a gold medal. Lieberman and the U.S. recovered quickly from their loss to defeat Czechoslovakia, 83-67, and were awarded the silver medal. During the Games, Lieberman played in all five matches for the American team and averaged 2.4 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.2 assists per game while shooting 4-9 from the field and 4-4 from the free throw line.
By the 1980 Olympics, Lieberman was one of the best female players in the world. While she had made the U.S. Olympic squad, she quit the team following the U.S. boycott of the Moscow Games, rather than play in the alternate competitions in Europe. Although Lieberman supported the boycott, she believed that competing in alternate games would have weakened the point of the boycott.
To learn more about Lieberman's incredible career, click here for her entry in the basketball section.
Recruited by over 75 schools, Lieberman chose to attend Old Dominion University. She arrived with a great deal of hype and known as the "Olympic girl"; Lieberman had beaten out her coach at ODU, Marriane Stanely, for a berth on the 1976 Olympic squad. In 1979, she led ODU to its first national championship in 1979, and was named All-America.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. July 1, 1958
Brooklyn, New York
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Great Jews in Sports by Robert Slater (New York: Jonathan David Publishers, 2000)
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)