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A History of Women's Basketball

James Naismith is acknowledged as having invented the game in 1891. With the football and lacrosse seasons over and due to winter causing students to be snowbound in school, the young men were becoming restless. James Naismith had been trying to develop a game already when his boss requested he find an activity that the young men could play to remain fit, active and occupy their minds. This resulted in peach baskets being raised ten feet high either end of a courtyard and 13 basic rules being drafted up and thus basketball was invented.

It only took one year before women started playing the game. In 1892 Senda Bereson, who was at Smith College as a teacher after spending time at Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, organised the first women's basketball game. She had seen Naismith's invention and wondered whether it would be a suitable game for women to play.

Corsets and injuries
The rules were adapted by Berenson to emphasize cooperation between the team members. The first game was played at Smith College in 1893. Clothes were restrictive. Only fingers, neck and head were allowed to be on display and no men were allowed to attend. Unfortunately the clothing that was deemed necessary for the times caused many problems with trips and in 1896 at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans, bloomers were allowed to be worn as a playing uniform. It wasn't until much later that the miniskirts of today arrived.

Competition between schools and colleges starts
In 1896 the first inter-collegiate game took place. Stanford played against the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford won 2-1. Men were still not allowed to attend and to protect the modesty of the female players other women stood guarding the doors and windows to make sure no men tried to get in. Around this time the first recorded game between two high schools was also played with the women's team of Chicago Austin High playing against Oak Park High.

Three years late in '99 formal rules for women's basketball were formed but the Conference of Physical Training. At the same time Stanford outlawed intercollegiate games for women's basketball. Other colleges followed including the University of California.

Rules and more bans
In 1901 the rules changed again with Spalding issuing their own women's basketball rules which were then edited by Senda Berenson. So now there were the men's rules, Baer's rules and Spalding & Berenson's rules. Different teams chose which rules they wanted to play by.

Things were still not improving when in 1908 the Amateur Athletic Union decided that women or girls should not be able to play basketball in public. Then in 1914 the American Olympic Committee followed suit by declaring that they didn't think that women should compete in the Olympics.

In 1921, 1922 and 1923 the Jeux Olympiques FĂ©minines were held. This was an all female games that was held to allow women to compete in sports that were not included in the Olympics. In 1921 it was held in Monaco and Britain won the women's basketball. That same year the Women's Division of the National Amateur Athletic Federation had their first conference. It's aim was to show women's basketball and other sports as too competitive and spent the next few years trying to get schools and other leagues to ban tournaments.

The Olympics and other tournaments
In the 1924 and 1928 Olympics women's basketball was allowed but only as an exhibition match. It wasn't until 1976 that women's basketball finally made it into the Summer Olympics as a competitive sport whereas the men had been playing consistently in the competition for 40 years. Incidentally the USA came second in the first year taking silver while Russia took gold.

Over the next few years and into the 1930's the WDNAAF continued to put pressure on tournaments to stop women being able to compete with successes in various states. For two years the AAU Women's National Basketball Tournament was cancelled under pressure from the WDNAAF with it being held in 1926 and then starting again 1929.

Second World War and the next few decades
The game grew in popularity during the war and in the 1950's there was a reorganisation of international games. In 1955 the first Pan American Games took place with the USA winning gold at basketball.

The 1970's saw huge improvements in the women's game. Intercollegiate competitions started again. Women's basketball was included in the Paralympics. Female athletes were offered college scholarships and the WBL or Womens' Basketball League was expanded to 14 teams.

In 1996 the NBA started the WNBA after the Women's Basketball Association had failed the year before. There were 8 teams and they played the first game the following year. The league gre over the next few years and the sport is now firmly established in countries across the world.

Betting on women's basketball
The sport has gone a long way since the early days of women playing behind closed doors and you can gamble on women's basketball the same as any other sport including the men's version. You can place bets in lots of different ways including online and by walking into a physical casino or bookmaker.

If you prefer an online option then check out good sportsbooks and online casinos with sports betting. If you are visiting a brick and mortar casino then see if they allow onsite sports betting. It doesn't matter if you are in a traditional casino or an online one they will both have a variety of other games for you to play. Once you have picked which teams to bet on you can wait for the result to come in while enjoying some casino games like roulette or poker. When picking which website to use for your sports betting make sure you look for sign up bonuses and check out the best odds. You can use online odds checkers to help you find the best options out there or compare each casino.