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Women's history: Transylvania's basketball Pioneers

The Transylvania women’s basketball team began intercollegiate play during the 1902-03 season, just 11 years after Dr. James Naismith invented the game in Springfield, Mass. That makes the Transylvania program among the oldest in the nation and a true Pioneer in creating opportunities for women in college athletics.

The Transylvania women enjoyed great success from 1902 until about 1930, when the program was disbanded until its revival in the late 1960s. During those years, when women’s participation in intercollegiate athletics overall was still in its infancy, the women’s won-lost record of 68-27 easily surpassed that of the men’s program. The 1922-23 state championship team was 8-0 and allowed its opponents only nine field goals the entire season.

Those early women’s teams claimed victories over colleges and universities that today are much larger, NCAA Division I schools. Transy defeated Vanderbilt University 34-16 during the 1914-15 season, and also owned wins over the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University.

Today, Transylvania’s women’s basketball team enjoys great success as an NCAA Division III program playing in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. In recent years the Pioneers have won conference championships, played in the NCAA national championship, and garnered All-Conference and All-American honors for players and coaches.

For an in-depth look at the history of both the women’s and men’s basketball programs on the occasion of their 100th anniversary, see the cover story in the fall 2002 issue of Transylvania magazine.

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