Basketball History



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


1981Women'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


1996 American Basketball League (ABL) was formed and lasted two full seasons before folding during the third season


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


2016 Geno Auriemma passes John Wooden with 11 National Championship most by any college coach men's or women's


2017 Tara VanDerveer joined the late Pat Summitt, a dear friend who died last summer from early-onset Alzheimer's disease with 1,098 wins to her name, as the only other women's coach to reach 1,000 career victories


2017 Kelsey Plum makes NCAA women's basketball history by dropping 57 points to become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Women's Basketball history