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Changing the Game: Women in Basketball

All through the earliest years of its evolution, basketball was considered the men’s game. Representing the American Society’s gender bias over the last century, women’s participation in the game was discouraged. The reservation or excuse was the rough nature of the game not suited to the female gender. It was only a matter of time before some women fought for their stake in the increasingly popular game.

As the entertainment industry rapidly evolves in today’s world, offering enticing rewards such as a no deposit casino bonus to its players, it’s important to shift our focus to another arena where remarkable transformations are taking place. While today, female basketballers have started getting the attention and recognition that their talents deserve, it is only fitting to acknowledge those who face the order of sexism. Here are some of the women who changed the face of that game, both on the court and off it.

Diana Taurasi

At 41, Diana Taurasi became the first WNBA player to hit 10,000 points. She also scored a season-high 42 points that day. That historic night has been coming for close to 2 decades. Here are the top 5 WNBA all-time point leaders.

WNBA PlayersTotal Points
Diana Taurasi10,102 (Active)
Tina Thompson7,488
Tamika Catchings7,380
Tina Charles7,115
Candice Dupree6,895

Diana Taurasi’s journey to that record-breaking moment started when she was selected first in the 2004 WNBA draft after a remarkable collegiate career. She instantly delivered Mercury its first championship, winning the WNBA’s 2004 Rookie of the Year Award. And she has not looked back since then. Her remarkable performances gave birth to Air Taurasi, Nike’s first signature women’s shoe. A few of her achievements and awards include:

  • 5x Olympic gold medals
  • 3x WNBA championships
  • 5x European League Champion
  • WNBA’s Most Valuable Player (2009)
  • WNBA Rookie of the Year Award

Nancy Lieberman

Nancy developed her skills at the famous Rucker Park. At just 17, Nancy participated in the 1975 Pan American Games, winning gold. In 1976, she became the youngest player to win an Olympic medal as the US team captured a silver medal.

Her talents took her to the Old Dominion University, where she won two National Championships in 1979 and 1980. Nancy Lieberman was awarded the Wade Trophy twice as the most outstanding women intercollegiate player.

Her resume after retirement is equally impressive, coaching the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). In 2015, She became the second assistant coach in the NBA. Nancy currently works as a broadcaster for the Oklahoma City Thunder and as the head coach of Power, the team she coached to the 2018 championship in the BIG3. Deservedly, she was inducted into these Halls of Fame:

  • The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame
  • The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame
  • Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • The St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon played college basketball for the Colorado State Rams. She was so prolific that the state retired her iconic number 25 in 2005. Her awards collections include an All-American 98/99 season and Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. Inevitably, she got her shot in the WNBA with the New York Liberty before playing for the San Antonio Silver Stars. She achieved many impressive awards during her career, including the 2009 All-WNBA selection. In the same season, Becky Hammon joined an exclusive list of WNBA players, the seventh to score 5,000 points.

During her off-season, she took her exploits to Europe, playing for teams in Italy and Spain. Her coaching journey started when she met NBA San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich while playing in San Antonio. After retiring in 2014, she became the first female assistant coach. She did another first when she led the Spurs team to the NBA Summer League title as the first female NBA coach.

Lisa Leslie

Widely known as the first woman to dunk in a pro match, that feat is only a peep into what Lisa Leslie achieved in her unbelievable career. The 1.96-meter-tall amassed 2,414 points over four collegiate years at the University of Southern California (USC).

In 1997, Leslie became a pioneer player of the WNBA. She announced herself with 16 points and 14 rebounds for Sparks in their first game, though a loss against New York Liberty. She helped the team to a 28 – 4 record in 2001, winning the league’s MVP. Through her series of impressive performances, Sparks won the championship. Leslie capped the season off with 24 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists and 9 block shots in the Finals.

She swept all the 3 MVP awards to emulate Willis Reed, Shaquille O’Neal and Micheal Jordan in the NBA. In 2002, she hit the 3,000 career point and achieved a historic dunk against Miami Sol. Combining her athleticism with her femininity, she appeared on the covers of various magazines.

Sue Bird

Born in New York to a Ukrainian Jewish father, Sue Bird became interested in sports very early. She participated in all the sports before her prodigious skills in basketball stood out. Once done with high school, Sue Bird headed to the University of Connecticut, where she won two NCAA championships with the UConn Huskies. Her talent earned her a move to Seattle Storm as the first overall pick in the 2002 draft.

As you would expect, her professional career took off to a flying start, making marks in her rookie season. Sue Bird averaged 14.4 points per game. The first of her four WNBA championships for the Seattle Storm came in 2004. A career spanning over two decades gave 11 WNBA all-time assists (3,234), highest winning games (333), record WNBA career stats (580), and much more glory.

On the national level, she won gold with the US national team in four consecutive Olympic Games from 2004 to 2016.


The idea of female basketball took a while to get off. Though it started in 1892, it wasn’t until 1996 that it solidified into forming the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in the US. On the international level, the game only featured in the Olympics 40 years after being announced. The giant leap of female basketball can only be attributed to strong women who dared to play beyond the local and college levels.

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