CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Former Parkersburg Catholic and Tennessee women's basketball great Mary Ostrowski, a three-time high school girls basketball player of the year in West Virginia, has died at age 51.
Ostrowski's sister, Beth Hundman, said Ostrowski died Friday night in Bristol, Va. Hundman says her sister was diagnosed in 2007 with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, and she died from complications from the illness.
Ostrowski captured the first three R.A. Thom Awards as the girls state player of the year (1978-80) and helped the Crusaderettes to back-to-back Class A state championships in 1977-78.
She was instrumental in Parkersburg Catholic's 88-game winning streak that was halted in 1979 - a state record that stood until Summers County earned 105 straight victories, a run that ended in 2012.
While at Tennessee, Ostrowski helped the Lady Vols advance to NCAA Final Fours in 1981, 1982 and 1984. She was a 1982 Kodak All-American and SEC all-tournament team member. She also was an All-SEC selection in 1982 and 1984.
Ostrowski still ranks fifth in rebounds and 10th in points at Tennessee. She was inducted into the Lady Vol Hall of Fame in 2006.
A message expressing condolences was posted on former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt's Twitter account.
"Thinking of Mary O today. Love and prayers for her family. Once a Lady Vol, always a Lady Vol,'' the message said.
Ostrowski, a 6-foot-2 forward, also was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1981 to 1983. She earned a gold medal at the 1983 World University Games.
Ostrowski had been staying at her sister's home in Bristol, where she received hospice care, Hundman said.
Hundman described her sister as compassionate, humble person who didn't call attention to her basketball success.
"One of the things people keep saying is what a kind and gentle soul she was,'' Hundman said. "That is so true.
Hundman said a memorial "celebration'' has been scheduled for next Saturday at the Knights of Columbus in Parkersburg.