Women’s Basketball 1975: The First Nationally Televised Game – Immaculata vs Maryland

On January 26, 1975, the United States witnessed something it had never seen before: a nationally televised women’s basketball game. The visitors were the Mighty Macs from Immaculata versus the Terrapins of Maryland. Immaculata came in as the three-time AIAW Division-I champions (women’s basketball wouldn’t be acquired by the NCAA until 1982). It was less than three years since the passage of Title IX.

Despite the text attached to the video on YouTube, this doesn’t look to me like it came from the televised footage. First, it’s clearly on film. It was taken from the Cole Field House press box and the numerous cuts suggests that this was scouting footage. [I could be wrong.]

A few other notes:

  • Obviously this isn’t at normal speed. The physics are clearly off.
  • The run of play in 1975 doesn’t much resemble the pace the game is now played at. Remember, it wasn’t until 1971 when 5-on-5 full court rules were adopted for the women’s game. It takes time, and opportunity, to work out the kinks and attain virtuosity.
  • No backcourt violations.
  • No 3-point line.
  • 30 second clock.
  • Sleeves on the jerseys.
  • This was the first year where the Immaculata team wore shorts instead of skirts.
  • The refs wore skirts.
  • Dottie McKnight was in her final year as Maryland’s head coach. Her assistant, Chris Weller, would take over in the next season.
  • Immaculata was coached by Cathy Rush. They won the first three AIAW championships and were in the finals for the next three.
  • The final score is a bit hard to pin down. Most accounts (including Maryland’s) list the score as 80-48. Immaculata lists it as 86-65. Another account says 80-45. Suffice it to say, on this day Maryland was blown out by the Mighty Macs.
Photo credit: unknown

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