How Women’s Basketball has Changed Over the Years

J. Rachel Spencer

Used under the creative commons law ( Falcons freshman forward Katie Hilbig pushes toward the basket as the Braves’ Hanna Muegge defends during the Air Force-Bradley game at the Air Force Academy’s Clune Arena Dec. 19, 2009. Hilbig, a native of Castle Rock, Colo., had two rebounds in the Falcons’ 62-45 loss. (U.S. Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)

Katlyn Blacksten, Copy Editior

Picture Lebron James and Stephen Curry only being allowed to play on the offensive side of the court, all while constantly being guarded by another player. Imagine Kevin Durant being forced to stay on the defensive half of the court. That wouldn’t be very fun to watch would it? No, it wouldn’t be; but for Women in 1892 through 1970, the rules for basketball made the game almost unrecognizable. 

Women’s basketball has seen a plethora of changes since its creation in 1891. Basketball for women between 1891 and 1990 was seen as a very limited contact sport and was not recognized as an intermediate sport, let alone a college level sport.

Now, I have played basketball for 10 years and from my several broken bones and torn ligaments, I can assure you that women’s basketball is not a limited contact sport anymore. Luckily, my college administration’s view on women’s basketball has also changed over the years. Unlike myself, they were not lucky enough to have lived in a time where women’s basketball was largely accepted.

During high school in the 50’s through the early 70’s, women’s basketball was unnecessarily complicated and did not allow for players to use the their full range of skills. The game of basketball for women has been nicknamed “six on six”.

This system allowed for 3 girls, the shooters, to play in the forward court and they were the only ones allowed to score. On the opposite side of the court are the guards, a group of three girls that played on the backcourt that were the only individuals allowed to protect the basket against the opposing team.

In fact, up until 1969, there had been no collegiate level tournament held for women’s basketball. The first National Invitational Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament was held at West Chester State College in Pennsylvania. Then, in 1971, the rules were changed yet again to allow all five players on the floor to cross over to both sides. This was also the first time the national 30 second shot clock was officially recognized at a collegiate level.    

Luckily, Women’s Basketball has seen a major make over between 1891 and its present life today. As I previously stated, early 1971 to 1980 was the first time the rules allowed for all 5 players on the floor to become “rovers,” as they were called. This change allowed for the entire team to play on both sides of the court. Nowadays, women’s basketball is a highly competitive sport, in which the rules are the same for both the men’s and the women’s teams at all competitive levels.

Here at Air Academy High School, Coach Roiko has been coaching at Air Academy for 31 years and said, “My entire teaching and coaching career has been as a KADET! I have had the privilege of being a part of 5 team state championships as either a head or assistant coach. This is my 5th year as the head girls basketball coach.”

He had also played basketball in high school commenting that basketball has evolved into more of a perimeter game, which started back in the early 90s when they added the three point line.

“Today we have less designated position players and, unfortunately, less emphasis of the post player,” he said.”Emphasis is now on playing 5 out with a lot of three point shots being taken.”

In high school today our air academy girls basketball team has been very successful with Coach Roiko commenting on the up coming season.

“Our Girls Basketball team had an outstanding season last year going 20-5,” he said. “Gone from last year’s campaign are seniors Katelin Gallegos and Brooke Sulski. Combined, they averaged half of the team offensive output and this year’s team we will need to find ways to score to make up the difference.

 “Helping with this goal will be five experienced returners: (Kat Blacksten), Kylee Blacksten, Liza Louthan, Mary Parchinski and Zoe Sims. Coming off our bench will be sharpshooting guard Kayla Nocon, Sam Dean, Heaven Hall, and Abby Sekutera, who should provide us with needed depth.”

He wanted to inform everyone the girls basketball games begin December 1 and 2 at Holy Family and Canon City and wants to invite everyone to our first  home games on Tuesday Dec. 12th and Wednesday Dec. 13th against highly ranked Pueblo South and TCA.