(born October 29
) is a former American
collegiate and professional basketball
player, who played point guard
in the Women's National Basketball Association
(WNBA). She was most recently the head recruiter and assistant coach of the women's basketball team at the University of South Carolina
from 2003-2008. Marciniak was responsible for two back to back top recruiting classes, rated #18 in 2007 and #7 in 2008, the highest ranked class ever recruited at South Carolina.
Allentown Central Catholic High School
Marciniak was the top player in the nation during her high school senior year, named by Naismith,Parade Magazine
, and Gatorade
as the 1991 National High School Player of the Year as a senior at Allentown Central Catholic High School
. At Allentown Central Catholic, she competed in the highly respected East Penn Conference (the forerunner to the Lehigh Valley Conference
), where she scored 3,025 points for Central Catholic. Her No. 23 jersey has since been retired by the school in recognition of her extraordinary high school basketball achievements. Sports Illustrated wrote about Michelle playing with a picture of Michael Jordan in her sock, while Michelle was just a junior in high school...."She's The Ponytailed Princess of Hoop" by Jack McCallum, Senior Writer.
University of Notre Dame and University of Tennessee
After a year at the University of Notre Dame
, Marciniak left the university for the University of Tennessee
, where she quickly became a leader of the dominant University of Tennessee Lady Vols women's basketball team under head coach Pat Summitt
. Summitt had recruited her in high school and in fact, went into labor as she was sitting in the Marciniak's home on a recruiting trip. Summitt quickly wrapped up the visit and flew back to Knoxville to give birth to her son, Tyler. "Spinderella" as Marciniak was affectionately known because of her free wheeling, spinning and slashing style, became a crowd favorite at Tennessee. She scored over 1,000 points and still is in Tennessee's top ten all-time in assists and three-point scoring, after only three years of play.
With Marciniak at point guard, the Lady Vols won consecutive Southeastern Conference championships in 1995 and 1996. In the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship, Tennessee came in second to the Connecticut Huskies in 1995. The next season, Tennessee wasn't expected to be as strong, but lost just four games during the regular season and eventually returned to the Final Four, where the Lady Vols earned a rematch with UConn. Marciniak led the team to an 88-83 overtime victory, then avenged an earlier loss to Georgia to claim Tennessee's fourth national championship. During the season, Marciniak became the focused leader and played a methodical style of basketball that Pat Summitt demanded from her point guards. Marciniak was chosen the Final Four's Most Valuable Player for her inspired play. She graduated in 1996 with a degree in psychology.
After three seasons in the American Basketball League (1996-1998)
After her 1st season in the pro's, Marciniak was a first team All Star in a league loaded with talent. Marciniak was signed by the WNBA's expansion Portland Fire
in 2000 where she was an intergral part of Portland's success. She then signed with the Seattle Storm
eight days later. Michelle found her home in Seattle the next 3 seasons while playing for the Storm. She was a fan favorite, and received the WNBA Community Service Award due to the countless hours she put in to bring fans into Key Arena.
More significant was her extremely hard-nosed play on the court, as a nationally televised throwdown with Los Angeles Sparks player Latasha Byears earned Marciniak a reputation as the Storm player that opponents least wished to foul. Byears intentionally threw a ball at Marciniak's face, and Marciniak, in response, charged the much larger and stronger Byears.
Marciniak retired at 29 years old, after the Storm's 2002 season, to become an assistant coach for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks in the powerhouse SEC Conference, where she had played as a collegiant. She is also an occasional color analyst for WNBA and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball games on ESPN Radio and other media outlets.