40 greatest female athletes: Lisa Fernandez

May, 30, 2012
5/30/12
2:26
PM ET
Lisa FernandezDustin Snipes/Icon SMILisa Fernandez is now in her 14th season as an assistant coach at UCLA.
ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.

Softball player Lisa Fernandez certainly posted some impressive numbers: Three Olympic gold medals with Team USA, two national championships at UCLA, a 93-7 college record that included 74 shutouts and 11 no-hitters and three national player of the year awards.

But what's even more impressive is how the No. 18 player in ESPN's countdown did it.

"There was no player who worked harder than Lisa Fernandez," says Sue Enquist, her former coach at UCLA. "She will be the first one to tell you she wasn't granted huge gifts. But she had will and work ethic and stamina -- and a mental toughness unlike any I've ever seen in another player."

Read the complete story from espnW here.

Earlier in this series:
No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia
No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone
No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato
No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly
No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi
No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman
No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach
No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher
No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit
No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers
No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman
No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz
No. 27: Soccer player Michelle Akers
No. 26: Basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw
No. 25: Swimmer Dara Torres
No. 24: Golfer Nancy Lopez
No. 23: Swimmer Tracy Caulkins
No. 22: Soccer player Marta Vieira da Silva
No. 21: Tennis player Venus Williams
No. 20: Figure skater Michelle Kwan
No. 19: Skier Lindsey Vonn

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