Known as much for her smile and big personality as her basketball skills, India Lewis was a fan favorite at the University of Arkansas and for the women’s basketball program.
Lewis lost her battle with breast cancer on Tuesday and as we reflect back on her life, it is her smile that Arkansas fans will remember most.
“It’s hard to leave legacies but India did just that in her too short 36 years,” Arkansas head coach Mike Neighbors said. “Her basketball days will be and should be talked about forever, but her impact on people will be what my family will always remember her for. Our teams at Bentonville High had to face her Lady Panthers way more often than we would have liked and my first season with Coach Blair was her freshman season. In those two seasons, she consistently went out of her way to make time for my three-year-old daughter and every other person who wanted to be around her. She was magnetic during years when most student-athletes were not.
“Even though her performance in junior high regional finals at BHS May never be topped, her lasting memory for us is the way she treated others.
“Our current team will honor India’s memory in first game over here in Italy and throughout the upcoming season in ways to be determined with her family to best honor her legacy.”
Lewis was a multiple-sport standout at Siloam Springs in the late 1990s, playing volleyball, basketball and softball.
She paced her high school team to a state title in 1999 and earned some of the state’s highest honors.
Lewis played four seasons at the University of Arkansas under then-coach Gary Blair. Lewis ranked second on the team in scoring as a junior and senior and paced the Razorbacks to the NCAA Tournament in three of her four seasons.