Chicago Hustle

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Chicago Hustle
Chicago Hustle logo
Division Midwest (1978–1980)
Central (1980–1981)
League Women's Professional Basketball League
Founded 1978
Folded 1981
History Chicago Hustle
1978–1981
Arena Alumni Hall (1978-1981)
Location Chicago, IL
Team colors Red, sky blue, white
              
Head coach Doug Bruno (1978–1980)
Bill Gleason (1980–1981)
Championships 0
Conference titles 0
Division titles 1 (1978–1979)

The Chicago Hustle was a team in the Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL) from 1978-1981. The team's colors were red and blue.

History[edit]

The Hustle played in all three WBL seasons and led the league in attendance each year. The WBL's inaugural game was played on Dec. 9, 1978 in Milwaukee, with the Hustle defeating the Milwaukee Does 92-87 before a crowd of 7,824.

In their first season, the Hustle tied the Iowa Cornets for the Midwest Division title, but Iowa had home-court advantage for the playoffs and won the series 2 games to 1. Rita Easterling was the WBL's Most Valuable Player that first year and led the league in assists. Debbie Waddy-Rossow (cousin of Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Billy Waddy) was the league's leading scorer. Easterling was voted MVP of the league's first All-Star Game in 1979, which was played at Madison Square Garden.

In their second year, the Hustle missed the playoffs. Coach Doug Bruno left to become an assistant to Gene Sullivan for Loyola University of Chicago's men's team and is now the DePaul women's team coach.

In the third and final season, the Hustle added Inge Nissen from Old Dominion University and veteran Donna Geils (now Orender), who from 2005-10 served as president of the WNBA. The team's play-by-play announcer for all three seasons was Les Grobstein, who is now is the radio voice of the WNBA's Chicago Sky.

End of WBL[edit]

The WBL disbanded in 1981 because of financial problems throughout the league, mostly due to owners who did not pay their bills and who bounced several payroll checks to players and other employees.[citation needed] In 1981, the Minnesota Fillies players who were promised paychecks by Commissioner Sherwin Fischer, only to have him not follow through, walked off the court in Chicago ten minutes before a scheduled game with the Hustle. The game was not played despite a full house at DePaul Alumni Hall, and before long it became clear that the WBL was doomed.[citation needed]