Module 11: Basketball Belles- How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map

Module 11: Basketball Belles- How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map

Macy, S. (2011). Basketball belles: How two teams and one scrappy player put women’s hoops on the map. New York: Holiday House.


Introduces Agnes Morely and her teammates who played in the first intercollegiate basketball game played in 1896. The book focuses on the play by play of the game and in the end concludes “that a lady can be tough and strong as well as refined and polite”.

What Did I Think?

I enjoy reading about the courageous women who paved the way for women of today to be treated equally with men. As a former basketball player, I also enjoyed the play by play descriptions of the game and the way the women were portrayed. While the story was excellent, it leaves much more information desired about women’s basketball. I was pleased to see a bibliography of additional resources on the topic.


Library Media Connection (August/September 2011)

Women’s basketball is gaining popularity thanks to the dedication of countless players and coaches. Macy chronicles the very first intercollegiate women’s basketball game between the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University in 1896. The narrator is Agnes Morley, who was sent to Stanford to acquire an education and social graces, but instead acquired a love of the game of basketball. James Naismith’s game was adapted for women by dividing the court into three sections; female players could not travel up and down the court. Macy captures the competitive spirit of the teams and their desire to win. The narrative is accompanied by colorful, bold illustrations, the vivid uniforms pop off the page. The players’ body language and facial expressions are portrayed realistically; large illustrations cover double-page spreads. An extensive author’s note gives additional background information, and a timeline of women’s basketball provides a historical framework. A list of books and places to visit offers additional opportunities for learning more about this fascinating subject. Basketball Belles is a treasure and would be a welcome addition to a school library collection. Susie Nightingale, Educational Reviewer, Lawrence, Kansas. RECOMMENDED

School Library Journal (April 1, 2011)

Gr 2-5-In 1896, female athletes faced two foes: their on-court rivals, and the rigid code of ladylike behavior. In this engaging picture book, Macy recounts the first basketball game played between two women’s college teams through the eyes of a participant, Stanford’s Agnes Morley. High-spirited Agnes grew up on a New Mexico cattle ranch, where “getting dirty came with the territory.” Since it was considered not “proper for women to perspire in front of men” by the UC Berkeley team, the game took place before an all-female crowd. In a comedic intermission, two male workers came out to repair a basket; in Laurel and Hardy-like fashion, one stared so much, he almost knocked the other off a ladder. Playing guard, Agnes wondered how she could prevent her taller opponents from scoring and found herself in an intense struggle. With the players confined to rigid sections of the court, the game hinged on the outcome of two foul shots. Collins’s colorful, exuberant digital illustrations capture all the high-spirited drama and fun. Macy adds authenticity with a fact-filled author’s note. This excellent book offers plenty of teaching possibilities, and it should delight a wide audience.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Lesson
This book could be used to kick off a research project on the topic of famous firsts. Students could choose from a list of famous firsts and begin finding informational books about their topic. Students could create a topic web to highlight the important facts about their famous first.

1 Comment

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One response to “Module 11: Basketball Belles- How Two Teams and One Scrappy Player Put Women’s Hoops on the Map

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