2010 Trailblazers of the Game Recipient
The Edmonton Grads
The Edmonton Commercial Graduates Basketball Club was founded in 1915 by John Percy Page. The origins of the Club can be traced to the McDougall Commercial Girls High School Basketball team in Edmonton, Canada. When team members graduated high school, they convinced coach John Percy Page to continue the team as a Club sport. Membership with the Club was exclusive, only 38 women ever wore the Grad jersey. Winnie Martin (Tait) was the First Captain of the Edmonton Grads, playing from 1915-1924. The Grads played 522 games officially in Canada, the United States and Europe. The Club tallied a 502-20 record in 25 years of play The Edmonton Commercial Graduates are widely considered the greatest women’s team ever assembled. Financially restrained, members often chipped in to raise funds for national play. Their strong dedication to the game and will to persevere in a time when women’s basketball was largely ignored makes the Edmonton Grads praiseworthy John Percy Page coached the club to 18 Canadian Championships The Club attended four sets of Olympic Games: Paris in 1924, Amsterdam in 1928, Los Angeles in 1932, and Berlin in 1936 where they received 4 unofficial Olympic titles The Club played its last game on June 5, 1940, defeating a Chicago team 62-52 Dr. James A. Naismith was quoted to say, “There is no team that I mention more frequently in talking about the game. My admiration is not only for your remarkable record of games won (which itself would make you stand out in the history of basketball) but also for your record of clean play, versatility in meeting teams at their own style, and more especially for your unbroken record of good sportsmanship.”
2010 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
The Former Helms / Citizens / Savings / Founders Bank
Based in Los Angeles, the Helms Foundation was created in 1936 by Bill Schroeder and Paul Helms The Helms Foundation was established to select national championship teams and All-American teams in a number of college sports, including women’s basketball The Panel met annually to vote on a National Champion and retroactively ranked basketball back to 1901 When Paul Helms died in 1957, United Savings and Loan became the Helms Foundation’s benefactor and eventually became known as the Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation The Foundation officially dissolved in 1982 13 Helms Foundation members are also Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees: Alline Banks (Sprouse), Joan Crawford, Lyrlyne Greer, Rita Horkey, Doris Rogers, Margaret Sexton, Hazel Walker, Katherine Washington, Nera White, John Head, Claude Hutcherson, Harley Redin, and Lometa Odom
2011 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
All American Red Heads
The All American Red Heads played for 50 years from 1936-1986, which is still the longest running women’s professional team. The Red Heads were founded by Mr. & Mrs. C.M. Olson in Cassville, Missouri. C.M. Olson was the former coach/owner of a male exhibition basketball team called Olson’s Terrible Swedes. Known for their on-court antics, this inspired C.M. Olson’s wife, Doyle, and the women who worked in her beauty salons to form a women’s professional exhibition team. In 1954, Coach Orwell Moore and his wife Lorene “Butch” Moore bought the Red heads and moved the team to Caraway, Arkansas. Lorene Moore played on the team for eleven years, scoring 35,426 points during her career. The Red Heads were so popular that during the years 1964-1971 there may have been as many as three Red Head teams traveling the country. In 1972, the Red Heads won 500 out of 642 games played against men’s team. Throughout the years the All American Red Heads played in all 50 states as well as Mexico, Canada, and the Philippines. The team has been featured in national magazines such as Life, Look, Sports Illustrated and Women’s Sports, and they were widely considered as the greatest women’s basketball team in the world. Coach Moore retired and disbanded the Red Heads in 1986 after 50 years of play The All American Red Heads still have annual reunions today.
2013 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
Wayland Baptist Flying Queens (1953-1958)
Hutcherson, a Wayland graduate and owner of Hutcherson Air Service, provided air transportation for the Queens to games in Mexico in 1948. That encounter blossomed into a full sponsorship of the team in 1950, a change that brought with it a new mascot – the Hutcherson Flying Queens. Five decades later, Wayland is still atop the world of women’s basketball for they still remain the only women’s team in history to win 1,300 games. Long before Connecticut became a dominant power in women’s basketball, the Flying Queens of Wayland Baptist thrived on innovation, talent and glamour, playing on athletic scholarships, traveling by private planes, warming up with ostentatious drills learned from the Harlem Globetrotters and winning every game for nearly five seasons. The Wayland Baptist University women’s team achieved a 131-game winning streak from November of 1953 to March of 1958 before losing 46-42 to Nashville Business School. During that time the Flying Queens captured four consecutive AAU national championships.
2014 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
1976 USA Olympic Basketball Team
The 1976 USA Women’s Basketball team captured the United States’ first medal in Olympic women’s basketball history winning the silver medal. The USA’s silver medal finish served a notice to the rest of the world that the United States would be a force in Olympic women’s basketball. Since the 1976 Olympics, the USA Women’s Basketball Teams have compiled a record of 55 and 1 and captured 7 gold medals and 1 bronze in Olympic play. The 1976 USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team paved the way for United States dominance. The 1976 team has produced 11 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees. Ann Meyers Drysdale (Class of 1999), Nancy Lieberman (Class of 1999), Billie Moore (Class of 1999), Pat Summitt (Class of 1999), Mary Anne O’Conner, Lusia Harris Stewart (Class of 1999), Gail Marquis, Nancy Dunkle (Class of 2000), Sue Gunter (Class of 2000), Patricia Roberts (Class of 2000), Sue Rojcewicz (Class of 2000), Charlotte Lewis, Juliene Simpson (Class of 2000), Cindy Brogdon (Class of 2002), Jeanne Rowlands, Gail Weldon
2015 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
Immaculata Mighty Macs (1972-1974)
The 1972-74 Mighty Macs team captured the first three Assoication for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) championships. Immaculata is considered the birthplace of modern college women’s basketball. In addition, to winning the first three college national championships, the Mighty Macs were the first women’s team along with the University of Maryland to appear on National television. They were also the first women’s team, along with Queen’s College, to play at Madison Square Garden. Their inspirational story was made into a feature-length theatrical movie called The Mighty Macs and released by Sony Pictures in 2011. The 1972-74 teams have produced 3 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees. Listed are the individuals associated with the three teams; Janet Ruch Boltz, Denise Conway Crawford, Janet Young Eline, Theresa Shank Grentz (Class of 2001), Barbara Deuble Kelly, Tina Krah, Patricia Mulhern Loughran, Judy Marra Martelli, Sue Forsyth O’Grady, Rene Muth Portland, Betty Ann Hoffman Quinn, Cathy Rush (Class of 2000), Mary Scharff, Marianne Crawford Stanley (Class of 2002), Maureen Stuhlman, and Marie Liguori Williams.
2016 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
1996 USA Olympic Basketball Team
The 1996 USA Olympic Basketball Team dominated its competition to reclaim the Olympic gold medal in Atlanta. Rolling to an 8-0 Olympic mark, the USA, which began training on October 2, 1995, compiled a 52-0 record during its pre-Olympic competition to finish with an overall 60-0 record. More popular than any previous women’s basketball team, the USA drew a record 202,556 fans during the Olympics for an average of 25,320 a game. The 1996 Olympic Team includes 12 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees. Jennifer Azzi (Class of 2009), Ruthie Bolton (Class of 2011), Teresa Edwards (Class of 2010), Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie (Class of 2015), Rebecca Lobo (Class of 2010), Katrina McClain (Class of 2006), Nikki McCray (Class of 2012), Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley (Class of 2012), Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes (Class of 2017), Tara VanDerveer (Class of 2002), Ceal Barry (Class of 2018), Nancy Darsch, Marian Washington (Class of 2004), Bruce Moseley, Gina Konin Larence
2017 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
Delta State Women’s Basketball Teams (1975 – 1977)
The 1975, 1976, 1977 Delta State teams captured three consecutive AIAW championships. After finishing 16-2 in the 1973-74 revival season following a 40-year layoff of the women’s basketball program, Delta State proceeded to end Immaculata College’s three-year AIAW national championship reign in season No. 2 by going undefeated at 28-0. Delta State followed its first AIAW national crown by also winning the next two as the Lady Statesmen defeated Immaculata (69-64) at Penn State and then LSU (68-55) at Minnesota. During their three championship years, Delta State compiled a 93-4 record (28-0, 33-1, 32-3), including a then-record 51 straight wins. The 1975-77 teams have produced 2 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, Margaret Wade and Lusia Harris Stewart. The WBCA Wade Trophy, considered the Heisman of women’s basketball, is named in honor of Lily Margaret Wade. Listed are the individuals associated with the three teams: Angel Fortenberry, Ann Logue, Beth Trussell, Cornelia Ward, Debbie Brock, Jackie Caston, Janie Evans, Jill Rhodes, Judy Davis, Kathy Lewis, Key Crump, Laurie Ann Harper, Lusia Harris Stewart (Class of 1999), Lynn Adubato, Mandy Fortenberyy, Margaret Wade (Class of 1999), Mary Logue, Melissa Thames, Melissa Ward, Mimi Williams, Pam Piazza, Romona Von Boeckman, Sheri Haynes, Tish Fahey, Virginia Shackelford, and Wanda Hairston.
2018 Trailblazer of the Game Recipient
Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL)
The Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) was the first professional women’s basketball league in the United States. The WBL lasted three seasons from 1978 to 1981. The league was created by sports promoter Bill Byrne and feature eight teams during its inaugural season. The league played its first game on December 9, 1978, between the Chicago Hustle and the Milwaukee Does at the Milwaukee Arena in front of 7,824 fans. The Houston Angels were the league champions during the inaugural season in 1979, while the New York Stars and the Nebraska Wranglers won the next two league championships in 1980 and 1981 respectively.
Rita Easterling won MVP honors during the first season (1978-79), Molly Bolin and Ann Meyers were co-MVPs the second year (1979-80), and Rosie Walker claimed the MVP honors during the final season (1980-81). Many notable Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees were associated with the WBL including Carol Blazejowski, Cindy Brogdon, Nancy Dunkle, Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Lusia Harris Stewart, Tara Heiss, Nancy Lieberman, Muffet McGraw, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Pearl Moore, Inge Nissen, Patricia Roberts, Uljana Semjonova, Rosie Walker, and Holly Warlick.