Women's basketball was started at the school in 1974, under head coach Lark Birdsong. The team finished 5–16 that season, accomplishing their first victory over the University of Minnesota. Birdsong coached at the university until early 1979, which was their first victorious season. Birdsong was subsequently replaced by Judy McMullen, who led the charge for the next four years. McMullen was then succeeded in 1983 by former Cheyney University coach C. Vivian Stringer. Prior to her stay at Iowa, Stringer led the Cheyney Wolves to the 1982 national championships.