cover image Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball

Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball

Pamela Grundy, Susan Shackelford, J. Shelby Gregg. New Press, $26.95 (306pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-822-1

As sportswriters Grundy and Shackelford show in this extensive history of women's basketball, women, though they've been playing the game as long as men, have encountered fierce resistance from the beginning, be it suffering ridicule to being called lesbians to being pressured to cheerlead instead of play. Despite the setbacks, Grundy and Shackelford write, female basketball players have persevered, creating their own ""Dream Team"" for the 1996 Olympics, a precursor to the formation of the professional WNBA league. The authors get firsthand accounts of transformative events from modern superstars like Rebecca Lobo and Sheryl Swoopes. They also resurrect forgotten pioneers like Babe Didrikson, Alline Banks and the barnstorming ladies of the All-American Redheads, a 1940s female counterpart to the Harlem Globetrotters for which all the women dyed their hair red. While not shy about pointing out the challenges that remain, including the dwindling attendance at WNBA games, Grundy and Shackelford see the history of women's basketball as a triumph over adversity in which the best years may yet lie ahead.