The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Diane (Hiemstra) Gabriel - Inducted 2012

One of the state’s greatest female basketball players, the Yankton High and University of Colorado standout got her start playing with her older brother in a church basement in New York City.

Their father, Harold, was the pastor and he coached them in organized church leagues. Her family moved to Yankton before her freshman year in high school. She met Coach Bob Winter at the Greyhound Basketball Camp at Yankton College, where she first learned the fundamentals of the game.

The 5-foot-11 guard was a four-time all-stater for Winter’s Gazelles, who were 86-3 with three straight state Class A titles (1977-79) and one third-place finish in 1976. Despite playing with a larger ball and without a 3-point line, she remains the all-time leading scorer in Yankton history for a game (38), season (502) and career (1,436). She still holds the record for points scored in the state big-school finals (34). She was a Parade Magazine All-American.

Four times she was selected to play in the National Sports Festival. She was invited to the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1980 and ’84. In 1980 she was on the U.S. team that played in the Jones Cup in Taiwan.


In college, she started all four years (the first year at Oregon and the last three at Colorado), helping her team reach the AIAW (forerunner of the NCAA) national playoffs in 1982, when the Buffaloes were ranked in the AP Top 20. She was second-team all-Big Eight Conference in 1983 and first team in 1984, when she also was a Kodak All-America nominee. She averaged 11.1 points in 1982, 16.7 in 1983 and 17.6  in 1984. She scored in double figures 50 consecutive games, a school record. She scored 1,377 points  in her three years at Colorado, then No. 2 on the all-time CU list behind former prep teammate Lisa Van Goor. In her CU career she shot 49.3 percent from the field and 80.4 percent on free throws. After college, she played pro basketball for a team in Wolfenbuttel, Germany.

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