Adapted from A Timeline of Women’s Basketball History 1891 to Present, by Jone Johnson Lewis
James Naismith invented basketball at a Massachusetts YMCA school.
First women’s basketball team organized by Senda Berenson at Smith College, adapting Naismith’s rules to emphasize cooperation, with three zones and six players on each team.
First women’s college basketball game played at Smith College; no men were admitted to the game (March 21).
Women’s basketball began at Iowa State College, Carleton College, Mount Holyoke College, and Sophie Newcomb College (Tulane) in New Orleans; each year more schools added women’s basketball to their sports offerings for girls.
Basketball was being played at many women’s colleges, including Vassar College, Bryn Mawr College, and Wellesley College.
Bloomers introduced as a playing costume at Sophie Newcomb College, New Orleans.
Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley played the first women’s intercollegiate game; Stanford won, 2-1, and men were excluded, with women guarding the windows and doors to exclude men.
First known women’s basketball game between two high schools was played in the Chicago area, with Chicago Austin High School against Oak Park High School.
Conference of Physical Training established a committee to form uniform rules for women’s basketball.
Stanford banned women’s basketball from intercollegiate competition, as did the University of California.
AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) took the position that women or girls should not play basketball in public.
The American Olympic Committee declared its opposition to the participation of women in the Olympics competition.
Jeux Olympiques Féminines held in Monaco, an all-women’s sports competition for sports excluded from the Olympics; sports included basketball, track and field; Britain’s team won the basketball event.
Olympics included women’s basketball — as an exhibition event.
Golden Cyclones won AAU Championship, led by “Babe” Didrikson.
Isadore Channels (of the Chicago Romas team) and Ora Mae Washington (of the Philadelphia Tribunes) were stars in two rival black women’s basketball barnstorming teams; both women were also American Tennis Association title winners.
WDNAAF continued to pressure states to ban women’s basketball tournaments, with success in many states.
During World War II, competition and recreational basketball was common; relocation centers for Japanese Americans, for instance, included regularly scheduled women’s basketball games.
International competition in women’s basketball was reorganized.
First Pan-American Games included women’s basketball; USA won the gold medal.
Women’s basketball was included in the Paralympics.
Title IX enacted, requiring federally-funded schools to fund women’s sports equitably, including teams, scholarships, recruitment, and media coverage.
AAU established national basketball tournaments for girls younger than college age.
Women’s basketball became an Olympic sport; the Soviet team won the gold, USA won the silver.
Lynette Woodard began playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, the first woman to play with that team.
Senda Berenson Abbott, L. Margaret Wade, and Bertha F. Teague were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the first women to be so honored.
Olympic women’s basketball event won by USA team.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame opened with 25 inductees.
Olympics held in Sydney, Australia; USA team won the gold medal; Teresa Edwards became the first basketball player to play on five consecutive Olympic teams and win five Olympic medals.
Ashley McElhiney became the first woman head coach for a men’s professional basketball team (ABA, Nashville Rhythm); she resigned in 2005 with a 21-10 record.
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