TEMPE, Ariz. – Ryneldi Becenti, a two-time All-Pac-10 player for the Arizona State women’s basketball team, will have her No. 21 jersey lifted to the rafters of Wells Fargo Arena in a ceremony during ASU’s Dec. 21 game vs. the University of Miami.
“As we started to evaluate the stars of our distinguished past, it quickly became apparent that no player was more celebrated or had more of an impact – both in her community and within our own Sun Devil community – than Ryneldi Becenti,” said ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne. “While already in our Hall of Fame for her achievements as a student-athlete, we felt a program-specific tribute like this was fitting for a special individual whose influence went beyond the basketball court.
“The incredible work ethic and desire that led her to our program galvanized the Native American community. Her outstanding contributions as a Sun Devil enhanced her legendary status and remain an inspiration for many.”
Becenti, a point guard who transferred to ASU after two seasons at Scottsdale Community College was a two-time honorable mention All-America honoree and helped the 1992 Sun Devils end a nine-year absence from the NCAA Tournament.
Becenti accumlated 396 career assists in her two seasons, and her career average of 7.1 assists per game remains a Pac-12 record. She holds the school record with 17 assists vs. Marquette, and she also recorded the first triple-double in school history with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a Jan. 25, 1992, game against Oregon State.
Becenti’s enormous popularity in the community and the Navajo Nation received national acclaim in March 1993, when she was featured in a Sports Illustrated article written by award-winning journalist Gary Smith.
As a member the 1993 USA team at the World University Games, Becenti became the first Native American female to earn a medal at the event. She would also go on to earn the distinction of becoming the first Native American to play in the WNBA as a member of the Phoenix Mercury.
In 1996, she became the first woman inducted into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, adding to a list of enshrinements that includes the Scottsdale Community College Hall of Fame, Arizona State University Hall of Fame and the Arizona High School Sports Hall of Fame.