BOSTON — As the women's basketball season kicks off, several top stories are likely to rivet basketball fans around the country. The Tennessee Lady Vols have a chance to win their fourth consecutive NCAA championship; Pat Summit has entered her 25th season as Louisiana Tech's head coach and is riding a 54-game winning streak; and Purdue just ended Tennessee's 46-game winning streak on Sunday. So much drama all at once - and the season has only just begun!
Q: How did women's basketball develop?
A: In 1891, one year after the invention of basketball, Senda Berenson Abbott, a Lithuanian-born physical education teacher, introduced the game to women at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Back then, the court was divided into three equal sections and players were required to stay in the assigned area; players were prohibited from stealing the ball from another player and from dribbling the ball more than three times.
Q: How have the rules been refined?
A: Major changes occurred during the 1960s when unlimited dribbling became legal and the five-player, full-court game was adopted. Except for playing with a smaller basketball and using a 30-second shot clock, women's basketball is now played with the same rules and regulations as men's basketball.
Q: When did women's college tournaments begin?
A: In 1971 the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women was founded and started a national championship for women.
Q: Which team has a chance to set an unprecedented record this year?
A: The Tennessee Lady Vols have a chance to win a fourth-consecutive NCAA championship (no other team has won more than two in a row) and a record seventh overall.
Q: Which player is the one to watch?
A: Forward Chamique Holdsclaw. Not surprisingly, she plays for Tennessee. Now a senior, Holdsclaw has won championships in each of her three seasons in Knoxville.
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