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History of Women's Basketball

A Timeline of Women's Basketball History 1970 - 2008

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1970
  • five player full court game adopted for women's basketball
1972
  • Title IX enacted, requiring federally-funded schools to fund women's sports equitably, including teams, scholarships, recruitment, and media coverage
  • Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) held first national intercollegiate championship in basketball; Immaculata defeated West Chester
  • AAU established national basketball tournaments for girls younger than college age
1973
  • college scholarships offered to female athletes for the first time
  • Amateur Basketball Association of the United States (ABAUSA) established, replacing AAU
1974
  • US Olympic Committee recognized the ABAUSA
  • Billie Jean King founded the Women's Sports Foundation, to promote sports and physical activity among girls
1976
  • women's basketball became an Olympic sport; the Soviet team won the gold, USA won the silver
1978
  • Wade Trophy established to honor a top collegiate player; first awarded to Carol Blazejowski
  • Bill Byrne founded the 8-team Women's Basketball League (WBL)
1979
  • WBL expanded to 14 teams
1980
  • Ladies Professional Basketball Association founded with six teams; played for less than a month before failing
  • first USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Award went to Carol Blazejowski
  • Olympics held but many nations boycotted, led by the USA
1981
  • WBL played its last season
  • Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) begins
  • NCAA announced women's basketball tournaments; AIAW filed an antitrust suit in opposition
  • final AIAW tournament held; AIAW dropped the lawsuit against the NCAA and disbanded
  • first NCAA women's basketball Final Four championship held
1984
  • Olympics women's basketball event won by USA team, with the USSR and some other nations boycotting
  • Women's American Basketball Association (WABA) formed, with six teams; it was, like most of the women's professional basketball leagues, short-lived
  • Lynette Woodard began playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, the first woman to play with that team
1985
  • 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
1986
  • National Women's Basketball Association (NWBA) founded; folded the same season
1987
  • Naismith Hall of Fame initiated Female High School Player of the Year award
1988
  • Olympics women's basketball event won by USA team
1990
  • Pat Summit was the first woman to be awarded the John Bunn Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1991
  • WBL disbanded
  • Liberty Basketball Association (LBA) founded, and lasted one game, broadcast on ESPN
1992
  • Howard University women's basketball coach became the first woman to win monetary damages under Title IX, for discrimination
  • Nera White, who played with the Nashville Business College team, and Lusia (Lucy) Harris (Harris-Stewart) were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1993
  • Women's Basketball Association (WBA) founded
  • Ann Meyers and Ulyana Semjonova inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1994
  • Carol Blazejowski inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1995
  • Women's Basketball Association (WBA) failed
  • American Basketball League (ABL) founded with ten teams
  • players Anne Donovan and Cheryl Miller inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1996
  • NBA established the WNBA with eight teams; Sheryl Swoopes was the first player signed by the WNBA
  • Nancy Lieberman inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1997
  • first WNBA game played
  • WNBA added two more teams
  • players Joan Crawford and Denise Curry inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
1998
  • ABL failed
  • WNBA expanded by two teams
1999
  • Women's Basketball Hall of Fame opened with 25 inductees
  • WNBA expanded by four teams for the 2000 season
2000
  • Olympics held in Sydney, Australia; USA team won gold medal; Teresa Edwards became the first basketball player to pay on five consecutive Olympic teams and win five Olympic medals
  • National Women's Basketball Professional League (NWBL) founded
  • Pat Head Summitt (coach) inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
2002
  • Sandra Kay Yow (coach) inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • 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
2004
  • Lynette Woodard inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
2005
  • Hortencia Marcari and Sue Gunter (LSU coach) inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
2006
  • WNBA celebrated its 10th year by announcing an All-Decade Team, selected by fans, media, and current players and coaches.
2008
  • Cathy Rush inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • signing a 7-day WNBA contract, Nancy Lieberman returned to play in a single game
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