Indiana University Women's Basketball

"Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport." Dr. james Naismith

woman playing basketball


Women's Gymnasium of the Department of Physical Training

Indiana University announced Mrs. Harriet Saunderson as the first Director of Women's Gymnasium of the Department of Physical Training at Indiana University. From 1890-1928, the Department was a division of the School of Liberal Arts. She served the University as Director from 1890 to 1893.

Women's Gymnasium 1896 Indiana Arbutus


Wylie Hall acts as Women's Gymnasium

<p"A room in Wylie Hall became [the women's] first gymnasium, and it was equipped with Swedish stall bars and ladder, Sargent pulley weights, German horse, flying rings, mats, dumbbells, wands, and Indian clubs. It had two handball courts, some basketballs, and a medicine ball."—Edna Munro <img=""https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30522875365/in/album-72157673230167581/"alt="Wylie Hall">

Indiana University Archives Photograph Collection, P0020564


Maxwell Era

The Maxwell Era of Women's Basketball at Indiana University saw the expansion of athletic opportunities and the acceptance of women as athletes. Basketball was integrated into the physical education curriculum followed by interclass competition and intramurals. Juliette Maxwell dedicated her career to the advancement of athletics for the women at Indiana University.


Basketball Invented

Dr. James Naismith invented basketball for his Physical Education class in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. His game had only 13 rules which were adapted for the women's game by Senda Berenson in 1892.

Dr. James Naismith


Three-Court Game

"There the gymnasium was divided into three equal parts: one for the home women, one for the centers, and one for the guards. "[Allowing] the players to run all over the gymnasium led to several bad things. It encouraged individual playing, discouraged team work, overworked the ambitious ones, and gave comparatively no work to many."—Senda Berenson

Women playing basketball circa 1928.

Arbutus 1928


Miss Juliette Maxwell Arrives

A graduate of Indiana University (1883) and of Sargent Gymnasium, Harvard, Juliette Maxwell began her career at Indiana University as an instructor in the Department of Physical Training. She served as the Director of the department until her retirement in 1928. Juliette Maxwell became one of the first women to be appointed a full professor in 1922.



Mitchell Hall acts as Women's Gymnasium

In 1896-1897, the Department's expanding program moved to Mitchell Hall while the Student Building was being constructed. As an upgrade from the basement of Wylie Hall, Mitchell Hall had baths, locker-rooms, and a fireman's pool from the balcony to the floor. However, six support pillars forced women to play basketball slowly and cautiously to prevent any player being injured.

Mitchell Hall

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0029937


Interclass Program

The 1910 senior-class basketball girls defended their colors against the under-classmen. The basketball program from 1897-1912 was designated as "class work.

1910 Women's Basketball Team


Public Basketball Match

"Two years ago the girls' teams played their first public game. For several years before that time the gymnasium girls had given one game every spring for the women of the University, but men were not admitted. A rather small admission fee was charged, and the proceeds went every year, alternately, to the Woman's League and Y.W.C.A. In 1899, however, it was decided to make this yearly game open to everyone. The experiment was tried and was so well received that it set a precedent for future public games. The annual spring-term basket ball game is now an established fact."—1901 Arbutus


Women's Rules

Beginning in 1899, Senda Berenson began to officially adapt the rules for women's basketball. By 1901, Spalding's Athletic Library Basket Ball for Women explained how women's basketball avoided "undue physical exertion."

Spalding Athletic Library document

Encyclopedia of Ethnicity and Sports in the United States



During the early years of the Physical Education program at Indiana University, the uniform consisted of a full bloomer which was worn to the ankles, black serge blouse, and long black stockings with high-laced tennis shoes.


Mary Roddy joins Department

Mary Roddy was appointed as an assistant in 1902 and retired as full professor in 1937. Roddy coached various sports teams during her time in the department including basketball.


Girl's Basketball Interest

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Arbutus 1902


Department of Physical Training and Athletics

Women's Athletics at Indiana University are now within the Department of Physical Training and Athletics instead of the previous Women's Gymnasium in the Department of Physical Training. Athletics now constitutes a significant part of the department.


Student Building as a Women's Gymnasium

By 1905-1906, the Student Building was in the process of construction, and it included plans for the developing women's athletic department. The department moved there in 1906. The greatly expanded space with a large gymnasium allowed basketball to be played without caution unlike the previous spaces in Wylie and Mitchell Halls.

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0023166


Number of players change

Prior to 1906, only five players were allowed on a side. Now nine players are allowed.


Interclass competition

"For the first time in six years Senior girls organized a team and expressed their desire of winning the interclass championship. This added much to the spirit of the interclass games. The first game of the season between the two Freshman teams – the ‘Reds' and ‘Whites' – resulted in a victory for the ‘Reds.' Score 4 to 2. From both of these teams, a team was then chosen to represent the Freshman class." —1906 Arbutus

Arbutus 1906


What is a foul?

In 1908, women could not place their hand on the ball if held by the opponent. Additionally, placing one hand on a ball and double teaming also constituted a foul.

Ladies Gymnasium in the Student Building in 1908

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0043404


Women's Gymnasium General Requirements

Two periods of activity and one period of hygiene were set for freshman – with one credit granted per semester. In 1912-20, sophomores were included for two periods a week of activity; the freshman schedules changed to four periods a week, two in activity and two in hygiene. One credit was granted per semester in each case.

Senior Girls' Basketball Team Inter-Class Champions Season 1913



Women's Gymnasium considered "Practice"

From 1912-1927, the term "practice" replaced "classwork" in the Women's Gymnasium. Women had begun integrating themselves into the field of athletics in a more noticeable way as their athletic participation began to be seen as separate from their classwork.

Arbutus Section Header for Women's Athletics

Arbutus 1918


Department of Physical Training and Hygiene


Women's Athletic Association

The purpose of the Women's Athletic Association is to promote interest in gymnastic and athletic activities among the young women of the University. Membership in the Association is limited to undergraduates who have obtained 100 points under the W.A.A. point system.

Women's Athletic Association 1919

Arbutus 1919


"Rule Changes

1913 marks the first appearance of officials in the women's game. It also allows for a single dribble to return which allows the women's game to become more active in its movement.


Department of Physical Education for Women


Sweaters Awarded

The W.A.A. used a point system to document the hours of participation earned in activities by the undergraduate women. Basketball, field hockey, and baseball were the only activities offered in the program at this time. Sweaters were awarded to those who achieved the distinction of having earned the required highest number of designated activity participation points.

Letter Winners in 1916

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P00255


Game Changes

Coaching from the sideline is eliminated and no timeouts are permitted during the game.


Intercollegiate programs

By 1917, Hoosier women competed in multiple intercollegiate programs including four team sports: field hockey, basketball, volleyball, softball and four individual sports: golf, gymnastics, swimming/diving and tennis.

1918 Varsity Basketball Team


Passes & Substitutions

The women's game now allows for substitutions. Women are now allowed to make bounce passes as a legal method of passing.


Maxwell Medal

The WAA awarded the Maxwell Medal as an annual award in memory of David Maxwell who was the father of Juliette Maxwell. Dr. Maxwell was a former President of the Board of Trustees of Indiana University (1820-1837, 1841-1852). The award was to be presented at the end of each year to a senior woman who had earned a sweater in the WAA activity program and in addition was an exemplary representative of scholarly achievement, leadership, and high personal qualities.

David Maxwell

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0021414


Decline in National Support

The national sentiment surrounding women in physical and aggressive sports changed resulting in the decrease of competitions in some sports like basketball. Women's physical educators formulated a new athletic philosophy for women which secured the greatest good for the greatest number.

woman in a dress shaking her fists

Arbutus 1920


Coed Intramural Championship

"Basketball, the most popular sport of the Indiana coed, attracted more attention this year than ever before. More than two hundred from the freshman class alone tried out for team membership. Closely matched teams from all classes played a hotly contested tournament, which was won by the freshman without a single defeat."—Arbutus 1922

women playing basketball

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0027261


Clara Fedler Appointed as Assistant Professor

Fedler was promoted to assistant professor in 1924-1925. In 1925-1926, she took leave from the University to earn the master's degree at Teachers College, Columbia University, and 1926-927 marks the year when the first master's degree faculty member was recorded in the Department. She would serve the University until her death in 1944.

Miss Clara Fedler circa 1928



Point System

Goals scored by one-hand overhand throw, two-hand underhand throw, shot-put throw, and throw with back to basket count as one point.


Coed Sports

"The basketball season opened soon after Thanksgiving. As is the case everywhere in Indiana with both men and women, basketball was very popular. Practically every organization had a team entered, and there were many close games. The same was the case with the interclass tournament. In this senior coeds won. In the intramural games, Alpha Chi was the winner."—Arbutus 1927

Julia Weghorst circa 1922 as Head of Basketball

Arbutus 1922


Intramural Program Expanded

In 1927-28, the program was expanded to include within the Department of Physical Education for Women an Intramural Association, with a program geared to encourage participation in sports by the less highly skilled women students. The sports program at Indiana University was following national trends in accordance with First Lady Mrs. Herbert Hoover's statements that no girl should be left behind.


Miss Juliette Maxwell Retires

On the retirement of Miss Maxwell in 1928 as Director of the Department of Physical Education for Women in the University, Edna F. Munro was appointed Associate Professor and Director of the Department.

Miss Juliet Maxwell

"Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0040672


Departmental Era

The Departmental Era concentrated on the expansion of athletics by increasing the sports offered, hiring more faculty, and expanding the interclass and intramural programs sponsored by the department.

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Associate Professor Edna Munro Selected as Director of the Department

Following in the legacy of Miss Juliette Maxwell, Miss Munro had to continue to develop the department despite her introduction corresponding with the onset of the Great Depression. From 1929-1937, she worked within the financial retrenchment in the University.

Edna Munro

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0034931


Play Day

Around 1928-1930, the national "Play Day" program of non-coached intercollegiate sports competition for women was initiated as part of the National Women's Athletic Association's program. Indiana University's WAA supported the program and created opportunities for Play Days to occur for the next several decades.

definition of play day


Indiana University facilitates Play Days

It entered its contestants in the annual state-limited gatherings which rotated yearly from one campus to another. These programs provided the opportunity for women to experience competition in a wholesome healthy atmosphere, devoid of bias and strong emotion. The success of the college-sponsored competitions influenced the Indiana University faculty to initiate "Play Days" for high school girls under their Girls' Athletic Association organizations.

text from play date document

Buffalo & Erie County Public Library


Five Full Time Faculty Members

"The athletic coed has entered into her own kingdom. No longer need she camouflage behind romance language and home economics. Her's is at last a warranted art, for physical education is now a major department, offering a B.S. degree."—Arbutus 1928

Arbutus 1928



The first major change in the uniform at Indiana University occurred in 1929. The uniform consisted of a less full knickers of black wool, tailored white button down blouse with short sleeves and a collar, and low white tennis shoes.


Basketball Philosophy

""Having survived the strenuous activities of hockey and soccer, the ambitious coed turned to the hardwood at mid-semester. The resume of school after the Thanksgiving vacation opened the season for basketball. Organizations were well represented, making some keen intramural competition. There were some good games scheduled in the class tournament, too. The basketball honorary varsity is selected by Miss Fedler, coach, and Miss Coppock, sports head."—Arbutus 1928

women playing basketball



Game Changes

All field goals count as two points and guarding on all planes permitted.

women shooting a basketball

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0030899


Three-Court to Two-Court

It was now a two-court game with six players per team. This included three guards and three forwards.

basketball court diagram

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0030899


Hoosier Women & Basketball

In the era of nationally declining interest in team sports for women, the coeds of Indiana University continued to play basketball with fervor.

woman shooting jump shot

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0040416


School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation

Department of Physical Education for Women


Women's Recreational Association

The Women's Athletic Association becomes the Women's Recreational Association. The WRA functions provide recreation for all women on campus who are interested in sports. This year the constitution was amended to give added opportunity to more women.

1940s photo of women



Women's Recreational Association Era

During the WRA era in women's athletics, the intramural program was changed to incorporate more women into athletics on campus. By the end of this era, 70% of the women on campus were active in the WRA and athletics.




Intramural Program Expands

In 1950-1951, the intramural program of WRA was reorganized and a designated faculty member was made responsible for the program. It now incorporates all coeds.



An overtime period was established which allowed for one overtime. The OT period followed a sudden death method of ending the game with the first basket scored.


Sports Club

The Sports Club was separated from WRA and became a part of departmental interest groups.

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Isabella Hutchison enrolls at Indiana University

Isabella Hutchison enrolled at IU where she participated in basketball, field hockey, softball, volleyball, tennis, and badminton. She was an All-Star in team sports and champion in tennis and badminton.

<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30686406673/in/album-72157673230167581/"alt="Isabelle Hutchinson">

University of Miami


Moving the Game Forward

Each team is permitted two players to roam the court; player is allowed to snatch the ball from opponent.


Edna Munro retires from the Department and then the University

At the time of her departure, the department staffed ten full time faculty members.

Edna Munro with students circa 1942

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0026839


Women's Athletic Conference Hosted at Indiana University

The Indiana Daily Student reported: "Seventy-five student and faculty members of the Athletic Federation of Indiana College Women will meet here Saturday "for an all-day conference, which will include a variety of events."



Charcoal gray shorts replaced green ones, white short-sleeved blouses, white anklets, and tennis shoes continued to be worn. Street clothes could be worn during certain activities.


Extramural Era


Nurse's Basketball Team Regional Competes

"In spite of their busy schedules of classes and ward duty, student nurses take time out for basketball. The Nurses Basketball Team this year aspired to regain the championship of the Indianapolis Schools of Nursing Basketball Tourney. The team lost the championship in 1959 for the first time since the beginning of the tournament. The players compete with other girls' teams in the area in addition to participating in the tournament."—Arbutus 1960

Enthusiasm for



Regional competition begins

"Extramurals are primarily for women with a high degree of skill or a great deal of interest in a particular sport," said Miss Cotter in an Indiana Daily Student article. These extramural teams were sponsored by the WRA and were often transported to away competition by responsible individuals who drove their own automobiles with no reimbursement. Dr. Kay Burrus (left) was the first coach of the extramural women's basketball team, joining the department officially in 1962.

Kay Burrus

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0020753


Memorial Hall Emphasizes Intramural Sports

A greater emphasis was placed upon intramural sports including their basketball team by the women of Memorial Hall this year both as a means of relaxation and as a means of meeting people.

women posing for team photo

Arbutus 1961


Anita Aldrich Arrives

Anita Aldrich arrived at IU as a Professor of Education and Chair of Women's Physical Education in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. She was a strong advocate for the development of women's athletics on campus and the expansion of extramural program opportunities. In 1971, Aldrich became the first woman to serve on the Athletics Committee which she would later chair.

<img="https://www.flickr.com/photos/145186649@N02/30142388864/in/album-72157673230167581/"alt="Anna Aldrich">

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0020571


Intramural program forces WRA constitution change

The Indiana Daily Student reported a constitution change a new participation trophy for women within the association. The intramural program had burden sororities as members of the WRA. The new structure changed the fees required to be in the association and regulated what constituted as a housing unit which is how they counted the students and create a more equal distribution of women participating in intramurals.


Indiana Daily Student: "WRA makes coeds jump, run..."

"Basketball and volleyball are the two tournament events which engage in competition each year. These intramural programs consist of double elimination tournaments. After losing, teams are placed in the loser's bracket and continue competition until either a second loss puts them out of the tournament or, by winning the loser's bracket, they play the undefeated team for the championship. The Basketball Interest Group is open to all University women. Practice will begin at the end of this semester and the season extends into second semester. During the 1964 season, the team played nine Saturday games."


Extramural Era

The Extramural Era saw regional competition grow. Teams representing Indiana University began playing in tournaments and series with other universities in the region including Butler University, Marion College, Purdue University and Indiana Central College. A small budget helped keep these budding basketball teams afloat during this time.


Undergraduates Active in WRA

Women's athletic programs had become such a vital part of campus life that 70% of the female students were members of the Women's Recreational Association.


Leanne Grotke Arrives

First serving as coordinator of intramural and extramural women's sports in the Department of Physical Education for Women in 1967, Leanne Grotke advocated for women's sports throughout her entire career.

Leanne Grotke

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0032950


Indiana Daily Student: "Females making serious progress in predominantly male sports world"

"Today, in an era which stresses physical fitness, the woman is becoming more involved in athletics. Women now participate in field hockey, swimming, basketball, volleyball, softball, badminton, tennis, and well, the list is endless. Women have even have attempted to enter the man's world of horse racing as jockeys. Where is this all going to end? What are the physical and social limits on the woman in athletics?"

Indiana Daily Student


Indiana Daily Student: "Males have much to learn about fairer sex's rules in basketball"

"Women's basketball is similar to men's in some ways, but the differences between the two games sometimes cause trouble for the male spectator."

Indiana Daily Student


"WRA wants women's athletic equality: Coed complains about male attitudes"

"Her wrath is directed at what she considers to be the attitude of University administrators and men students in general towards girls in athletics. To her, the competitive nature of sports is just as important to girls as it is to the fellows. But she said, ‘I don't think the guys on campus feel this way. Jill Forkner, talking about inequality between the sexes, said sometimes when girl athletes are using one of the women's gyms, male students show up and want the gym for themselves. Although she didn't say the girls are forced to leave,' she said, ‘Let's say we're encouraged to vacate the premises.'"

Indiana Daily Student



During the early years of the extramural programs, one set of uniforms were shared by all sports. The uniforms caused embarrassment for the female athletes as they were the P.E. HPER uniforms instead of an Indiana University uniform.


Qualified for National Tournament

The 1970 IU Women's Basketball Team was unable to attend because they were not funded. This was the second year that the basketball team was unable to attend the national tournament due to a lack of monetary funding.


Department supports Women's Athletics

The coaching staff assumed the duties along with their regular teaching loads. There were three full-time faculty, associate instructors, and lectures, all were allowed approximately thirty percent released time from teaching for coaching of their respective teams. The two secretaries were involved in typing reports, itemizing travel mileage and cost for team travel and recording the hours selected for faculty and associate instructors spent in coaching. By 1971-1972, a travel budget allowed for minimal use of vehicles owned by the university. These were driven by women who were in the Department of Physical Education for Women.—Isabella Hutchison


Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Formed

Despite Leanne Grotke's insistence Indiana University would benefit from becoming a member of the AIAW, her conversations with Dean Endwright to allocate $75 for the initiation fee did not produce the desired outcome. $5,000 was the total budget to support women's athletics while the men had $2.1 million.—Elizabeth Gregg


Title IX Passed

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 stated that "No person in the United States Shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." The Women's Basketball team played in Assembly Hall starting in 1972, but the Athletic Department did not integrate Women's Athletics until 1974.

women playing basketball in Assembly Hall

Indiana University Photograph Collection, P0029161


History of Pre-Varsity Hoosier Women Basketball

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