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Honoring a legend
Shannon Donnelly had her No. 35 jersey retired by the Cal State Stanislaus women's basketball team in 2003.

The 1999 Ceres High graduate will be inducted into the Warriors' Athletics Hall of Fame this Saturday.

Shannon was a three-time All-American and four-time All-Region player at Stanislaus.

She averaged 20.4 points and 11.5 rebounds per game and led the Warriors into the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 12 years in 2002-03.

In four seasons, Donnelly averaged 19.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and shot 52.7 percent from the field. She holds nearly every offensive record in program history, including points in a game (42), season (612) and career (2,088). Her single-season averages of 21.9 points (2002-03) and 12.8 rebounds (1999-00) are also school records.

"It still hasn't hit me yet," she said. "It's definitely humbling and exciting. I never thought I'd accomplish as much as I did. I wish my teammates could be there with me. They worked just as hard."

Donnelly wasn't always a superstar.

She played on the B-team each year in junior high.

"I wasn't good at all," Shannon said. "I couldn't run up and down the court without falling. I had really big feet."

Donnelly developed a love for basketball while at Ceres High.

She learned an assortment of post moves under Mike Lopes' guidance at the frosh level. Shannon played a major role in leading the Bulldogs to a 28-0 record.

"I just wanted to get better," she said. "I realized I could get my college paid for doing something I love. It didn't seem like work."

Donnelly was promoted to varsity as a sophomore. Shannon grew six inches, from 5-foot-6 to 6-foot over the summer.

"We've had a lot of kids who've had the talent but they didn't have the drive and desire like Shannon," Ceres High varsity girls basketball head coach Shawna Nunes. "As far as competitiveness, she probably ranks in the top four. I wasn't responsible for her success. I was just a part of it."

"I was surrounded by great coaches and teammates," Donnelly said. "We worked hard everyday and it paid off in games."

Shannon contributed off the bench during her first season with the Bulldogs.

"She didn't get much playing time but got better," Nunes said.

Donnelly had a breakout game in the playoffs.

She tallied 16 points, 17 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in Ceres High's 62-43 win over Elk Grove.

Donnelly won the Central California Conference's Most Valuable Player award during her junior and senior years. Her teams posted a combined record of 51-12, won one league title and participated in the playoffs twice.

Shannon led the Bulldogs to a 30-3 overall record, second-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I tournament and perfect 18-0 mark in the CCC in 1998-99.

"Those were definitely fun years," Donnelly said. "We won a lot of games."

Shannon excelled the moment she stepped onto the court at the collegiate level.

She had 27 points and 14 rebounds in her debut, a 79-69 loss at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

"It was a lot of fun," Donnelly said.

Shannon played professionally overseas.

She spent parts of two seasons with Ullern in Oslo, Norway.

She led the club to a second-place finish at the Norwegian Basketball Association Championships in 2003-04.

Donnelly averaged 36.3 points, 15 rebounds and 2.5 steals in 12 games.

Shannon earned a tryout with the Sacramento Monarchs in May of 2005.

"I miss the game," she said.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be staged inside the Cal State Stanislaus Main Dining Hall at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $20.

Shannon will celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime honor with family and friends, and former coaches and teammates.

Paul Brogan (basketball), Nate Dunn and Lance Johnson (golf), Amanda Oliver (volleyball, track and field), Cole Sprague (track and field) and Abe Rojas (volunteer) will also be recognized.

"It's surreal," Donnelly said. "It definitely makes me smile when I walk back in the gym. It's funny because my parents are the least athletic people. But they were very supportive."

Shannon resides in Turlock. She's taught P.E. at Creekside Middle School in Patterson for the past seven years. She has two sons, three-year-old Devin and Trevor (18 months).