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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  270 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
Raised on a cattle ranch, Agnes Morley was sent to Stanford University to learn to be a lady. Yet in no time she exchanged her breeches and spurs for bloomers and a basketball, and in April 1896 she made history. In a heart-pounding game against the University of California at Berkeley, Agnes led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women's basketball game ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 7th 2011 by Holiday House
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Lauren Waters
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read for me since I am pretty unfamiliar with the history of women's basketball. The illustrations and narration of the story added to the authenticity of the time period.
Very informative. Uses the device of fiction, focusing on one individual to show a pivotal game in the history of women's basketball. Follows through with lots of info on the women portrayed, history of the sport, etc. One of those rare books that leaves the reader satisfied at the same as making him or her really want to pursue more information. I particularly am now interested in the memoir "No Life For a Lady" by the featured Stanford player Agnes Morley Cleaveland.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jnf, history-or-ish
Told from the POV of Agnes, center on the 1896 groundbreaking Stanford women's basketball team. (The first game ever between two women's college teams was between Stanford and Berkeley that year. No men were allowed in to watch women perspire, but 500 screaming women filled the stands!) There's a photo of the real team in the back, wearing what look like knitted wool bloomers and sweaters. Yoiks.
Beth Wozencraft
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found Basketball Belles looking at the 2012 Notable Social Studies Tradebook list on the National Council for the Social Studies website. I was intrigued by the description of this book so I decided to it. This book is the story of the first game played between two women’s college teams, Stanford and Berkley. It begins with a brief background on women’s basketball and the rules for women. It then goes on to describe the game. The action of the game is recounted making use of many interesting a ...more
Pamela Powell
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-nonfiction
A rolicking look at the first intercollegiate womens' basketball game.
Darin Raguse
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fiction Twin Text:
Alexander, K. (2014). The crossover. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing

My intermediate grade non-fiction selection, Basketball Belles: How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women's Hoops on the Map, tells the story of a young girl raised on New Mexico cattle ranch. She grew up to play in the first ever basketball game between two women's teams in 1896. The game, which the author describes in detail, was played only 5 years after the sport was inven
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book about the first inter-collegiate basketball game between women will make you realize how much the game has changed in the last century. First thing that jumped out at me was the fact that the ball was stuffed. It didn't bounce. There was a hoop or what should be called a basket since was very literally a basket with a closed bottom, but when the ball doesn't bounce it hardly seems like basketball is being played. Also evidenced throughout the book was what extreme measures had to be ta ...more
Sarah W
Jan 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Teams representing Stanford and Berkeley came together to play women's basketball before a crowd of 500 rowdy fans. The only men at this game were a janitor and his assistant. The women on each team were assigned different sections of the court to play. Successful baskets were awarded only a single point. While Fouls still gave players a chance at a basket, much was different at this first intercollegiate women's game.

The game is shown through the eyes of Agnes Morley, one of the players on Stan
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book, at its best when the illustrator overwhelms the very limited text. Not that the text is bad, but without the illustrations it would be fairly dry.
It's about the first collegiate-level women's basketball game, held in 1896 between Stanford and U.C. Berkeley. It was considered un-ladylike to have men attend such a game as fans, so only women were allowed in the stands. The only men in the building were the janitors, who had to fix the basket during the game.
The rules for women'
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: text-set
I very much enjoyed this book and its truthful and engaging illustrations. It is a story about woman’s firsts. Agnes Morley played in the first women’s college game, and tells her story of her major help for the future of basketball. One team was from Stanford University and the other team was from University at Berkeley. They were the first game to be played between two women’s college teams. It’s a nonfiction book, and biography which is important to include in the text set. It is a historical ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although women’s basketball was not added as an Olympic sport until 1976, it was around for a long time before. Macy tells the story of the championship game in 1896 between Stanford and the University of California, two of the earliest college programs. The narrative unfolds through the eyes of Agnes Morely, a confident player from the Stanford team who grew up on a working ranch in New Mexico. Collins’ digital artwork captures both the rough and tumble action, with women diving and scrambling ...more
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This delightful picture book describes the beginnings of women's basketball through the point of view of one of its first players, Agnes Morley. Reared in New Mexico, Morley came to Stanford to study and ended up playing basketball at the university. She describes the very first intercollegiate game, a game played only in front of a female audience because Stanford's Berkeley opponents didn't think men should see women sweating in public. The description of the rough and tumble play and mishaps ...more
Jun 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered when girls started playing basketball? Have the rules changed? In the sixty's when I started playing basketball in junior high gym class, girls could only play half court and dribble three times...when did the rules change? This book will answer all these questions. Agnes Morley played in the first women's college's women's game. Basketball Belles is a picture book that highlights Agnes's contributions to basketball. It also has a time line and additional author notes for ...more
Pattie Simmons
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Title: Basketball Belles by Sue Macy

Short Description of the Book: In this book, Macy introduces readers to the first ever women's college basketball players.

Focus: Readers would focus on making claims that were supported with relevant details in their writing.

Teach: W8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
1. Students would choose one famous woman from the text to discuss.
2. Students would read and find three or four details and brainstorm a list of reas
Amber Crosslin
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this book was great. As a reader, I am excited to see what happens next. I am at the edge of my seat waiting to see who will win the game. I am intrigued with the way the point system is used and kept up. I am also intrigued with the ball that is used, for it does not contain air in the middle.

As a teacher, I liked that this book told of the first women's basketball game, and at the end gave a short description of some of the players and what they did with their lives. There is also a
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A story of the first women's collegiate basketball game played between Stanford and UC Berkley. Agnes Morley grew up on a ranch in New Mexico. When she went to college, her mother had hoped she'd graduate a lady instead Agnes joined the first women's basketball team.

What I found most interesting about the book were the different rules for women's basketball, how the crowd at the time was all women. The back material has interesting facts about the history of women's basketball, such as women we
Endya Melvin
Macy, S. (2011). Basketball Belles. Quang Dong Providence, China: Kwong Fat Offset Co.
Sub Group: Gender roles
Genre: Biography
Topics: women’s basketball
Belles was a young girl who never saw herself as a girly-girl. She was more comfortable in breeches and spurs than a skirt, and a bit of a tomboy. Her mother hoped that by sending her to a different university that she would become more lady like but she was wrong. Belles played basketball which was looked at as a negative thing dur
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, ala, arc, picture-books
Great concept, but I thought the execution was bland. This book tells the story of the first college women's basketball game. The illustrations are well done, in a realistic style with convincing facial expressions showing the determination of the players. But the text is a bit dry, and there's a bit too much of it. It felt to me as though the author couldn't quite decide whether she was writing for 1st graders or 5th graders. Not bad, just not one of my favorites.

(Note: I received a free advanc
Mike Romesburg
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Theme: "Woman Superhero"

Agnes Morley was the first women's basketball player, but did much more for women than that alone. She followed her dream and did what made her happy, as opposed to what made her mother happy. This is a theme that can be adopted by students of all ages. As a future educator, one of my main teaching points to my kids will be that as long as they work hard and chase after what interests them, success is inevitable. Thanks to Agnes Morley not only can women play basketball,
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-nf, history
How did women's basketball get started? When? How were the rules different for women? Why? These questions and more about the history of women's hoops are answered by highlighting Agnes Morley and her Stanford team in 1896. Diving for the ball, reaching, running, are depicted in a variety of view points that pull the reader into the action on the court. Dark colors are balanced with a frequent solid white background. Team photo in the back reveals the attitude of how unimportant women's sports w ...more
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A wonderful account of what it must have been like to be a "pioneer" of women's basketball. Beautiful pictures that accurately depict time period, complete with girls playing basketball in bloomers. Can't help but reflect upon the ridiculous rules that women were placed under when men weren't allowed to watch them play basketball because of witnessing women perspiring. GAG! I would love to have my students who love the sport of basketball, crack the cover of this aspiring account. It is a "Leagu ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I was thoroughly engaged in this book as I read it. The story is based on true facts regarding Agnes Morley who played woman's basketball for Stanford in 1896 and depicts the details of the game Stanford played against Berkeley on April 4, 1896. Though I am not limiting this book to just girls (really a great book for all children), I think many girls would really get excited to see the outfits the girls wore to play basketball back then as well as to learn about the rules and attitudes that wom ...more
Christine Turner
Raised on a cattle ranch, Agnes Morley was sent to Stanford University to learn to be a lady. Yet in no time she exchanged her breeches and spurs for bloomers and a basketball; and in April 1896 she made history. In a heart-pounding game against the University of California at Berkeley, Agnes led her team to victory in the first-ever intercollegiate women's basketball game, earning national attention and putting women's basketball on the map.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I've seen this book around for a few years, and I kind of assumed it was a non-fiction book for 5th grade and up - but I was totally wrong! This is an almost play-by-play look at a real and documented college women's basketball game, with some supplemental information at the end of the book and suggestions for additional reading. Pretty fun and fast read and sports lovers will really enjoy it, I think.
Robert Sharrock
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a moving picture book. I like the history of how the game was played at the time, as well as Agnes’s confident inner thoughts (“I think that a lady can be tough and strong as well as refined and polite”). The illustrations do a good job of showing the game in rich detail. I liked the time line, additional author notes, and resources listed in the book. The history of woman’s basketball is a good story that should be read by all sports fans, especially women.
A story of the first women's college basketball game - played in 1896 - told through the voice of one of the players. Good subject but the text could be pared down to put us more in the action of the game. Timeline of women's basketball history included in back matter. Also, the difference between the sport's rule, uniforms, etc. at the time of the book and now would make a good compare/contrast conversation with children.
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
What was the first women's college basketball game like? Agnes Morley describes the first game between Stanford and Berkeley. The pacing and action are well described and the illustrations capture the feeling of the game. Boys and girls alike will be surprised by efforts to tame the game and the passion that the women put into the sport they love.

Recommended for students in grades 2 - 4. A solid nonfiction choice that introduces new ideas and historical information to students.
A picture book illustrating Agnes Morley and the first ever intercolligiate woman's basket ball game. I'm seeing using this in the classroom for a variety of purposes. We often share literature about the prejudices of certain races, but not too often the prejudices that woman, or even men, face. I think this story will create great discussion in the classroom. Also see it used in writing: small moments, hovering, biography
Judy Desetti
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Some history about the sport and how women began playing but info was overshadowed with a play by play description of the first game played at Stanford. I was bored by the actual game details. It was interesting to know that the rules used for women is different than men's basketball and created by a Professor at Smith College in MA.

I did not enjoy this much.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent nonfiction picture book resource. Tells the story of the first women's college basketball game, which took place between Stanford and UC-Berkeley in 1896. Narrated by Agnes Morley, who really played in that game. Includes a good bibliography, helpful websites, and a timeline. Exquisite illustrations, too.
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