Women's Basketball Historical Timeline

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame is an international museum dedicated to preserving the history of women's basketball.
Below are a few key historical facts throughout the history of women's basketball.


1891 Basketball invented by Dr. James Naismith
1892 Senda Berenson adapts the rules for women and introduces the game at Smith College
1892 First inter-institutional (extramural) contest between the University of California and Miss Head's School
1893 Clara Gregory Baer introduces basketball to girls at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans
1895 First publicly played basketball game in the South (demonstration game at the Southern Athletic Club in New Orleans by Sophie Newcomb College students)
1895 Clara Gregory Baer publishes first basketball rules for women, called "Basquette"
1896 First intercollegiate game is played between Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley
1899 Formation of Women's Basketball Rules Committee. Senda Berenson's rules first published by Spalding
1901 First "Official" publication of Basket Ball for Women by Spalding Athletic Library with Senda Berenson as editor
1903 Halves shortened from 20 minutes to 15 minutes
1905 Executive Committee on Basketball Rules (National Women's Basketball Committee) is formed under auspices of the American Physical Education Association (APEA)
1906 Five to nine players on a side
1908 Placing one hand on a ball held by an opponent is a foul; double teaming a shooter is a foul
1910 Dribbling is outlawed
1913 Officiating first appears in guides; single dribble returns, but ball must bounce knee high
1916 No coaching is allowed from the sidelines during game (except halftime) No timeouts, no substitutions
1918 Basket with open bottom instead of closed basket with pull chain becomes official
1918 Bounce pass legalized. Substitutes may be used, but they cannot reenter the game
1922 There must be at least six players on a side, maximum of nine
1923 Formation of the Women's Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation (NAAF)
1925 Goals scored by one-hand overhand throw, two-hand underhand throw, shot-put throw, and throw with back to basket count as one point
1926 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sponsors first-ever national women's basketball championship, using men's rules
1927 Players must wear numbers on the back of their jerseys
1928 Formation of first national women's officiating board: Women's National Officials Rating Committee
1929 First AAU All-American team selected
1931 Techniques for officiating included in rulebook
1931 Babe Didrikson leads Golden Cyclones to AAU national title
1932 All field goals count as two points
1932 Guarding on all planes permitted
1935 Tulsa Business College Stenos win the second of three consecutive AAU national titles
1936 Formation of the All American Red Heads
1938 Three-court game changed to two-court game with six players per team (three guards and three forwards)
1951 Hanes Hosiery wins the first of three consecutive AAU national titles
1953 Overtime period established - following one overtime, games are decided by sudden death
1953 USA wins gold in first World Championships
1955 USA women's basketball team plays in first Pan American Games basketball competition and wins the gold medal
1956 Ball can be tied with two hands held by opponent: three seconds in the lane is a violation
1958 The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens achieved a 131-game winning streak and captured 4 AAU national titles
1962 Each team is permitted two players to roam the court; player is allowed to snatch the ball from opponent
1962 Nashville Business College wins first of eight consecutive AAU National Titles
1965 Joint Committee AAU/DGWA Rules established



1966 Continuous unlimited dribble becomes official rule
1969 First National Invitational Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament is held at West Chester State College in Pennsylvania
1971 Five player, full-court game and 30 second shot clock become official
1971 The Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) is formed, giving women an opportunity to compete in national championships
1972 Immaculata College wins first of three consecutive AIAW women's national collegiate basketball championships
1975 First Kodak All-American Team
1976 Team USA makes its Olympic debut
1977 Lusia Harris of Delta State University is awarded the first Broderick Cup as the most outstanding athlete in the AIAW
1978 Formation of Women's Professional Basketball League (eight teams)
1978 Carol Blazejowski is named the inaugural recipient of the Wade Trophy
1981 Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) is formed
1981 Kentucky State University won the first championship sponsored by a major integrated intercollegiate governing organization in 1981. (NAIA)
1982 Rutgers defeats the University of Texas in the final AIAW championship. Louisiana Tech defeats Cheyney State in the first NCAA national championships
1984 USA captures its first Olympic gold medal in Los Angeles
1984 West Virginia's Georgeann Wells registers the first dunk in women's collegiate basketball
1986 Nancy Lieberman becomes the first woman to play in a men's professional basketball league when she joins the USBL's Springfield Fame
1986 Three-point field goals introduced to collegiate basketball
1988 USA wins gold medal at the Seoul Olympics
1991 The Liberty Basketball Association is launched, folds after one exhibition game
1992 USA finished with bronze medal at Barelona Olympics
1996 USA recaptures the gold medal at the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta
1997 Inaugural WNBA season
1999 The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame opens in Knoxville, TN
2000 Houston Comets win fourth consecutive WNBA titles
2001 Jackie Stiles becomes the leading scorer in NCAA Division I women's basketball history with 3,133 points
2002 Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks becomes the first woman to dunk during a professional game
2003 The WBL celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the first professional women's basketball game
2004 The University of Connecticut defeats Tennessee 70-61 in New Orleans to win its third straight national championship
2006 Epiphanny Prince sets a national girls' scoring record with 113 points in a single game
2008 The University of Tennessee women's basketball team defeats Stanford to win its eighth national championship
2008 USA wins fourth straight gold medal in the Beijing Olympics
2009 Pat Summitt becomes the first Division I coach, men's or women's to reach 1,000 wins
2010 The University of Connecticut records its second consecutive undefeated season and captures its seventh national championship
2010 The USA women's basketball team captured the 2010 gold medal at the FIBA World Championships with a win over Czech Republic (89-69)
2010 The University of Connecticut sets the longest win streak (men's or women's) in college basketball at 90 consecutive victories
2012 Baylor University records an undefeated season, winning the most games ever in a season 40
2013 Geno Auriemma ties Pat Summitt for the most national championships (8) as the University of Connecticut defeats Louisville
2015 Geno Auriemma ties John Wooden with 10 National Championship most by any college coach men's or women's


Stay Tuned for Tickets to the 2016 Induction Ceremony

The Class of 2016 include Sherri Coale, June Courteau, Joe Lombard, Jackie Stiles, Bill Tipps (posthumously), and Natalie Williams

Our Sponsors