Women's Athletics
Women’s athletics at North Dakota Agricultural College/North Dakota State University (AC/SU) dates back to the late 19th century. On May 5, 1897, there was an Athletic Field Day (track and field contests) at the AC to determine which students would be sent to the Intercollegiate meet to be held in Wahepton, N.D. on June 5, 1897. For the women, three contests were held: 50 yard dash, 1/4 mile bicycle race and baseball throw. (The Spectrum, June 1, 1897, p. 5)

The first mention of women’s basketball is found on page 8 in the March 1, 1898 issue of the student newspaper, The Spectrum,: “The girls of the Basket Ball team now shine in a new costume that is very becoming.” The December 15, 1899 issue of The Spectrum, noted on page 39 that “The ladies have organized a basket-ball and are practicing daily.” The first mention of an actual game is found on page 73 of the February 15, 1900 issue of (The Spectrum: “While the ladies played good ball, they were out-played by the seniors and professors and made most of their points on fouls. Score 6 to 14 in favor of the ‘All Stars’.” Although not particularly clear, it seems as though the women played competitive intercollegiate basketball in 1901. “One thing our institution stands supreme in, and that is an undefeated ladies’ basket-ball team. It has successfully met on the field of athletic honor every form and shape of feminine aspirants for athletic laurels and to them all has it left naught but defeat. Their final game with the Moorhead Normal [Minnesota State University Moorhead] was a crushing defeat for the Pedagogues, for they were outclassed in every feature of the game, especially so in the skill of manipulating the ball. The game, instead of consisting of two halves of 20 minutes each was played in quarters. The final score was 20 to 1.” (The Spectrum, April 15, 1901, p. 104).

In 1920 the women organized the Women’s Athletic Association which continued in existence through 1981. March of 1927 marked a turning point for women’s athletics when Nil Desperandum (Never Despair) was organized. In April of 1927, the Women’s Athletic Association petitioned to become affiliated with the national physical education sorority, Delta Psi Kappa. The local chapter at NDAC was established on June 2, 1927.

With the implementation of Title IX in 1972, women’s athletics at North Dakota State took off and has been a force to reckon with since. NDSU’s women’s intercollegiate sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track and field, and volleyball) have taken championships at the conference, regional and national levels.
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