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How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map

by Sue Macy, illustrated by Matt Collins

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: March 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2163-3
Publisher: Holiday House

In 1896, a historic basketball game was played between the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford University. It was the first women’s intercollegiate game, played five years after basketball was invented. Agnes Morley, a rancher’s daughter, narrates the story and excels as a Stanford player during the groundbreaking event. The focus is on the play-by-play of the game, which had different rules for women and was attended by 500 cheering female spectators. Collins' digitally created artwork captures the dynamic game and develops the characters, from Morley’s determination as she brands a calf on her ranch to her team’s exuberance at their victory in the game. While seemingly meant to introduce readers to the history of women’s basketball, the story is so brief as to seem slight. Readers will crave more information: What types of shoes do the players wear? Why are the nets closed? How did this particular game come about? What happens next? An author’s note fleshes out some biographical details about Morley and the other players and discusses women's basketball in America. A timeline is included, but unfortunately it ends in 1997 with the introduction of the WNBA. A resource section lists books and places to visit, and a photograph of the 1896 Stanford women’s basketball team concludes the book. The excellent backmatter, however, doesn't compensate enough for the too-slim story. (Nonfiction 7-11)