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Set your daughter on a rewarding athletic career!

What's the future of Women's College Basketball?

On April 3, 2007, Pat Summitt's Tennessee Lady Vols won their seventh NCAA championship. The Lady Vols have been among the top ten elite women's college basketball teams in the country since 1974-- teams that are profitable and put spectators in the seats. That's because the Lady Vols have been winners for a long time. But, it was only after their sixth national championship, way back in 1998, that season ticket sales took off.

Unfortunately, it must be said that many women's basketball teams play their games in front of sparse crowds. It is only when an 'elite' team comes to town that fans come out - to see that team's star or "go to" player. Attendance for the various rounds leading up to this year's Final Four, which took place at "Neutral Sites," with no home-grown fan base, was sparse indeed.

"Sports ...[can] be a vital avenue to self-worth for women. It was for me. That shows you what a game can do: It can teach you to explore and broaden your capabilities.

That's why the explosion in female athletic participation over the last twenty years [1978-1998] has been so important. Think about it. There was actually a time when women were forbidden to run marathons for fear we'd damage our ovaries. Basketball for women was stationary to make sure we didn't swoon. But unfettered play affords the experience of excellence, both physically and mentally. It is too critical for personal development to deny it to half the population.

In my case, it was life-altering.
Reach for the Summitt, Pat Summitt, 1998

The mystique of the Lady Vols was evident to me beginning on April 1, 2007 - the day they beat the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Final Four to advance to the championship game. This Lady Vols website of mine has been in existence for about half a year, and each day I got a handful of hits, mostly people looking for videos of Lady Vol dunking star Candace Parker.

On April 1, hits for this site went throught the roof. Hundreds looking for videos of Candace Parker dunking, yes, but even more hundreds looking for a biography of coach Pat Summitt.


© University of Tennessee
Front page, UT Lady Vols sportspage. Each sports in season is represented.

© University of Tennessee
Front page, UT Lady Vols sportspage, after April 3, 2007.
It could be because people love winners - winners who've won over the course of time, who have cemented a "dynasty." But frankly I wonder if the hits come because this winner, this creator of a dynasty - is a woman. If UConn's Geno Auriemma had been able to win his 6th NCAA championship, and thereby tie Summitt at the top of the women's game, would there have been a rush to read his biography?

Why are you here, reading this site? This page?

For myself, as a woman, I look upon Pat Summitt as a role model, as someone who has reached the top of her career through sheer hard work and dedication.

In 1974, Pat Summitt took over as coach of the Lady Vols. She was 22, her players were 21. It had been only 2 years since Title IX was passed, giving female student athletes equal opportunity with males. But at that point in time, there wasn't much of a fan base for women's basketball. The Lady Vols played in front of an average of fifty people in those early years...

The Lady Vols were a new program at the time. They were already a successful program, in their inaugural seasons, but Pat Summitt took them and not only maintained those winning seasons but built on them. In 33 years, she's never had a losing season.

© University of Tennessee
Typical Lady Vols game recap page.

33 years later, the Lady Vols average about 8,000 spectators per home game, and that average will probably go up next season, thanks to the interest generated by that seventh championship.

But what does the 2007-2008 season hold in store for women's college basketball in general?

Support Womens' Sports

Whether you like softball, soccer, basketball, fencing, martial arts, or some other sport, show your support for women's athletics. Get your daughters involved in sports, get your sons involved in supporting their siblings.

Call up your local sports stations, and ask them to devote some time to women's sports. And to not refer to it sarcastically, either, as some are still wont to do. Agitate the cbs.sportsline and ESPN websites to have women's sports moved to the forefront instead of buried under the "Other Sports" button.

Basketball sites
Below are some links to womens' basketball sites on the web:

www.wnba.com The WNBA
www.ncaasports.com/basketball/womens NCAA Women's Basketball
www.wbmagazine.com/ Womens' Basketball Magazine
hasn't been updated since Feb 2007
www.womensbasketballmuseum.com/ Womens' Basketball Museum on the Web
girlshoops.scout.com/ GurlzHoops

Lady Vols videos uploaded by fans at YouTube.

Pat Summitt leads a cheer for the men's team.

2007 Championship T-shirts - unveiled the day before the game!
That's confidence for you!

Some game highlights