100 in 100: Johnston County’s Genia Beasley, pillar of NC State’s women’s hoops

The Benson native's No. 50 was the first retired by the Wolfpack's women's basketball program

Benson’s Genia Beasley was the first NC State women’s basketball player to have her number (50) retired, and she still holds several school records. (Photo courtesy of NC State Media Relations)

North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.

Johnston County

Genia Beasley

NC State’s women’s basketball team earned a new banner to hang from the rafters of Reynolds Coliseum by winning the ACC Tournament championship shortly before sports activities were shut down by the coronavirus crisis.

When it’s finally able to go up, it will join a collection started by Genia Beasley.

The Wolfpack women’s program was only three years old when Beasley arrived from South Johnston High School in 1977, and she quickly became its first star by setting records that still stand today while leading State to its first ACC regular season and tournament titles. Her No. 50 was also the first to be retired.

A 6-foot-2 center who was ahead of her time in her ability to shoot from the perimeter as well as dominate in the paint, Beasley scored 2,367 points, more than any other player in school history other than men’s star Rodney Monroe, who finished with 2,551. Her 1,245 rebounds are still the most for a Wolfpack woman, as are her 185 blocked shots, 60 double-doubles and 1,017 field goals.

She is the only State player ever to lead the team in scoring and rebounding in each of her four college seasons.

Beasley had 2,367 points, 1,245 rebounds, 185 blocked shots, 60 double-doubles and 1,017 field goals for NC State from 1977-80. (Photo courtesy of NC State Media Relations)

“Any guy in the ACC would love to have the shooting form of Genia Beasley,” television analyst Billy Packer said of the Wolfpack star during her prime.

Beasley’s success, however, wasn’t limited to her individual accomplishments. It also carried over to her team during the formative years of women’s basketball before it was even recognized as a championship sport by the NCAA. Led by legendary coach Kay Yow, State went 105-23 with Beasley in the lineup and was ranked among the nation’s top 10 all four years. The Wolfpack went 46-4 at Reynolds and was unbeaten in Beasley’s 59 career games against in-state opponents.

In 1978, Beasley led her team to its first conference regular season championship in 1978. She then capped off her career by winning MVP honors and cutting down the nets after beating Maryland in the ACC Tournament final.

A two-time All-American, Beasley was selected as a member of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team and is a member of both the NC State and North Carolina sports halls of fame. She is currently a pediatric eye doctor living in Charlotte.