Marie Boyd: The First 100 Point Scorer:
Great scorer's and basketball seem to go hand-in-hand, so it is a rarity that a great scorer goes unnoticed, especially one that scores an astonishing 156 points in a game. But Marie Boyd, whose name is often misattributed as Mary Boyd, is just that; a prolific scorer that nobody knows of. She was the first player, man or woman, to score 100 points in a basketball game, a feat that has largely gone unnoticed.
Boyd is arguably the greatest woman basketball player of the first 50 years of basketball. An era where both the men's and women's game lacked the competition that we see today. Nonetheless she still dominated at such a high degree that was unmatched in the men's game until Wilt Chamberlain come along.
Central High School in Lonaconing, Maryland, was one of the first dominant schools in basketball history. The Black Knights as they were called went 4 years, 1922-25, without a loss and were in large part lead by the dominating Boyd. At the time basketball was played in a cage and the players were called cagers. After each made basket the teams would have a jump ball at center court. This rule, one of Naismith's original rules included when he invented basketball in 1896, was in large part the reason Boyd was able to rack up so many points.
The night was February 26, 1924 and Ursuline Academy of Cumberland, Maryland, came to town. The Central High girls were upset that a few nights before a local rival named Sarah Hawes had done what at the time was thought to be impossible; she scored 95 points in a game. Hawes played for Central High's arch rival Beall, also located in Lonaconing.
The local press swooned over Haws and has Boyd would later put it in an interview in 1984, it "Miffed the Central High school girls and they decided that they would make Boyd the undisputed scoring queen of western Maryland". Central High's coach Henry "Doc" Hodgson came up with the plan to get Boyd the ball. Hodson knew his team had the size advantage as they had several girls over 5'6", including the 5'7" Boyd, were as Ursuline Academy sorely liked size.
Until the 1930's girls high school basketball consisted of 3 forwards and 2 guards, and the guards would not shoot. The rule was always seen as stupid to both players and fans a like and often lead to confusion for fans who were trying to learn the rules of the new game in general. This rule set up though was key to Central High's plan.
The Black Knights would use the center jump rule to their advantage by having their 6'3" forward jump against the Ursuline's 5'8" center. The center would tip the ball to another player who would throw it to towards the hoop and an awaiting Marie Boyd. This worked 77 times in a row.
Ursuline simply had no answer to Boyd. They tried fouling other players when they got the ball, but that did not work either. They apparently did not attempt to foul Boyd as she only attempted two free throws in the game.
The Black Knight slaughtered the Raiders to a score of 163-3 and Boyd had 156 of those points. The Black Knight's did not know it at the time, but they set three record's that day. Most points in a game for a team (163), most point's in a game by a player (156 for Boyd) and largest margin of victory in an official basketball game. All three records would eventually be broken, but Boyd's 156 points remains the most points ever scored in a basketball game by a female player and it is actually the second most scored ever, only falling to John Barber's 188 points scored nearly 30 years later.
Boyd would get offer's to play professionally in the short lived women's professional basketball team - the All American Redheads, following her graduation as well from college teams, but Boyd chose Maryland's teachers college and would go into teaching.
There was little fanfare outside of Lonaconing for Boyd. The people of the town were happy and the newspaper reported it, but there was no national press and few outside of Lonaconing even knew it happened. The accomplishment's of February 26, 1924, would fade into oblivion for over half a century until Cheryl Miller became the next woman to score 100 points in a game when she scored 105 points in a game in 1982. This time, however, there was some publicity and Boyd finally gave a few interviews.
Boyd would die in 1991 at the age of 86 having never been fully appreciated for her contributions to basketball and the history making even that she was part of. Boyd is still one of only 4 women and 21 men to score 100 points in a basketball game, and she was the first to do it.