Oregon State University Women’s Basketball


On March 2, 2024, the Oregon State Women’s Basketball team played its final game of the regular season. The team’s success over the last decade has attracted many local fans.  But the success of women’s basketball at the school began very early.

First Women’s Basketball Team at Oregon State University (1898)

The school’s very first women’s basketball team was formed in 1898 when the school was known as Oregon Agricultural College (OAC).   This was before the men’s team began competing, which didn’t happen until 1901. The women in the photograph above played just one game, beating a team from the Chemawa Indian Institute of Salem by a score of 13 to 11.

The women’s game then was quite different from today’s game.  The court was divided into thirds, with two players in each section.  The players had to stay in their own section, so some played only defense and some only offense.  Players could only dribble three times and hold the ball no more than three seconds. Stealing the ball (“snatching or batting the ball away”) was prohibited. There was a center court jump ball after each basket.

The team went on to future victories, including one on January, 1900 when they beat Albany College by a score of 47-2!  Although Albany complained about a slippery floor and the larger gym, it was the extensive practices and fast pace of the Oregon Agricultural College (now OSU) team which contributed to their success.

By the 1930s, OAC women who wanted to play basketball could only do so on an intramural team. Later, although there were teams organized as a club sport, it was only in 1972 that women’s basketball again became an intercollegiate sport at OSU.  By that time, the rules had been changed and the women played the same five-person, full court game as the men.

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