In addition to the final score, three things leap out from the dusty microfilm on this Minneapolis Tribune story:
  • The University of Minnesota fielded a women’s basketball team in 1905, less than 15 years after Dr. James Naismith invented the sport. And yet the 1971-72 squad, coached by Joan Stevenson, is generally recognized as the school’s first women’s basketball team.

  • It was apparently unremarkable that the mighty Gophers put a local high school on their schedule.

  • The Tribune, which typically devoted less than a page a day to the entire world of sports, covered this women’s game.
 

VICTORY COMES EASY

 
VARSITY GIRLS WIN FROM THE SOUTH HIGH, 72 TO 2.
 
High School Misses Are Outclassed, But They Put Up Plucky Fight to the Last – Victors’ Team Work Is Superb
 
The girls of the Minnesota basketball team ran up the highest score in the history of the team when they smothered the girls from South Side high last evening by a score of 72 to 2.
 
 
  Women’s basketball circa 1900: Sensible shoes, billowing bloomers and set shots. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org)
It was the fastest, snappiest and most brilliant play ever put up by the university girls and although the high school girls fought gamely to the last, they were badly outclassed and were never dangerous. Minnesota scored within a minute after the game started and continued to put the ball in the basket on an average of one a minute for the thirty-five minutes of play.
 
The superb team work of the Gopher girls was what won them the game by such a large score. South Side could do nothing to break up the perfect combinations and team play. The varsity played together all the time and with such speed and dash that the younger players were swept off their feet.
 
South Side’s one score came near the end of the second half, when Miss Loeberg shot a basket for her team. The South Siders had worked the ball down the field on a spurt and it went out of bounds under the basket. A quick pass put it in position for a goal and the only score was recorded for the visiting team.
The game was remarkably free from rough play and the officials did not penalize a single player during the game.
 
Minnesota alumnae players who watched the game united in saying that the Gophers this year have the fastest team in the history of the university. For so early in the year, the team play is remarkable and the speed is greater than ever before. Hattie Van Bergen and Helen Cummings played the forwards in fine style, the former leading the team in basket shooting and getting into the team play phenomenally. Florence Schuyler was a remarkably steady center and Captain Dunn at guard was strong, coming up with the play and helping in running up the big score. Both Iris Newkirk and Clare Brown, who alternated at the other guard, played steady games.
 
For South high, Miss Loeberg and Miss Larsen played steady games and the others deserve mention for their plucky work.
 
There was a good attendance of university and high school students at the game, which was the first of the varsity schedule. Informal dancing followed the game, an orchestra furnishing music for a program of fifteen numbers. The teams lined up as follows:
 
Minnesota.
Cummings, left forward
Van Bergen, right forward
Schuyler, center
Dunn, left guard
Newkirk, Brown, right guard
 
South Side.
Mars, left forward
Loeberg, right forward
Larson, center
Law, left guard
Stenning, right guard
 
Goals, Van Bergen 10, Dunn 9, Cummings 7, Schuyler 6, Brown 3, Loeberg 1. Time of halves, twenty minutes and fifteen minutes. Referee, McRae; umpire, Weisel.
 
Above: Couldn’t find a photo of the plucky girls from South High, but this shot of Fulda High’s 1904-05 girls team shows the typical garb of the era. (Photo courtesy mnhs.org). Below: The 1905 University of Minnesota women's basketball team.
 
The 1905 University of Minnesota women's basketball team.

 

 

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