Texas Longhorns women's basketball

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Texas Longhorns
2015–16 Texas Longhorns women's basketball team
Texas Longhorns athletic logo
University The University of Texas at Austin
Conference Big 12
South Division
Location Austin, TX
Head coach Karen Aston (4th year)
Arena Frank Erwin Center
(Capacity: 16,755)
Nickname Longhorns

Burnt Orange and White

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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
NCAA/AIAW Tournament champions
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Final Four
1982, 1986, 1987, 2003
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Elite Eight
1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2003
NCAA/AIAW Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2015
NCAA/AIAW Tournament appearances
1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015
Conference tournament champions

1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1994

Big 12
Conference regular season champions

1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1996

Big 12
2003, 2004

The Texas Longhorns women's basketball team represents The University of Texas at Austin in NCAA Division I intercollegiate women's basketball competition. The Longhorns currently compete in the Big 12 Conference.

The team has long been a national power in women's basketball. Under head coach Jody Conradt, the second NCAA Division I basketball coach to win 900 career games (after Tennessee's Pat Summitt), the Longhorns won the 1986 national championship. Conradt retired after the 2006–07 season, and was replaced by Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors. Goestenkors resigned after five seasons as head coach and was replaced by current head coach Karen Aston following the end of the 2011–12 season.

Since 1977, Texas women's basketball has played its home games in the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, where the team has compiled a 399–76 (.840) record as of March 5, 2008.


The University of Texas held its first basketball competition in 1900, six years before Magnus Mainland started the men's team at Texas. The games in the first few years were intramural. By 1906, the school was playing other institutions, although only home games, not off-campus.[1] Full varsity intercollegiate competition in women's basketball began in 1974. The Longhorns rank fifth in both total victories and all-time win percentage among all NCAA Division I women's college basketball programs, with an all-time win-loss record of 843–275 (.754).[2][3]

The Longhorns have won 22 total conference championships (12 regular-season conference titles and 10 conference tournament titles) in women's basketball and have made 22 total appearances in the NCAA Tournament (32–21 overall record), reaching the NCAA Final Four three times (1986, 1987, 2003) and the NCAA Regional Finals (Elite Eight) eight times. Texas won the 1986 NCAA Championship to finish the 1985–86 season with a win-loss record of 34–0. As of April 2007, Texas ranks eleventh with Virginia for all-time NCAA Tournament victories (32), trailing Tennessee (104), Connecticut (65), Louisiana Tech (65), Stanford (52), Georgia (48), Duke (39), North Carolina (38), Purdue (38), Old Dominion (34), and Vanderbilt (34).[2][3]

Early years (1900–1966)[edit]

The very first women's basketball games occurred in 1892, at Smith College, under the direction of Senda Berenson Abbott. Shortly thereafter, Clara Baer brought the game to Louisiana. The details of how the game came to Texas is not known for certain, but in 1900, Eleanore Norvell organized the first basketball game at the University of Texas. Norvell was originally from Oklahoma, and came to Texas to direct the physical education department. She has been at Texas for less than a year when she introduced basketball to students at the school. The first recorded game occurred on Saturday January 13, 1900. The teams played four ten-minute quarters—the final score of that first game was 3–2.[1]

Although the men's game and women's game both had their roots in the Naismith rules, the first set of rules left a lot to be specified, and the rules for the women's game developed differently than for the men. Both Senda Berensen and Clara Baer used Naismith's rules as an inspiration, but developed their own set of rules, including marked areas on the court limiting the movement of players to their respective sections. Some of these rules were motivated by the prevailing assumptions of "female frailty and dependence".[4]

Texas would play limited intercollegiate basketball between 1903 and 1921. Eunice Aden was captain of the basketball team in 1903, took over coaching duties in 1905 and became director of physical education in 1911. Opportunities in basketball grew, but only in a limited way. Intercollegiate play existed, but the school did not allow off-campus games. When Aden retired in 1921, she was replaced by Anna Hiss, who would run the physical education department until 1957. While she was called a visionary for her role in directing physical education and intramurals, she was "dead-set against intercollegiate athletics for women". The limited intercollegiate play under Aden came to an end, with basketball now limited to intramurals and interclass play.[1]

The ascension of Hiss to the head of the department roughly coincided with the influence of Lou Henry Hoover, First Lady of the United States. In 1923, Hoover was head of the Girl Scouts of the United States. Although Hoover was an advocate of sports, she felt that highly competitive sports were detrimental.[5] Hoover helped to found the Women's Division of the National Amateur Athletic Foundation (WDNAAF). This foundation passed a resolution in 1925 banning extramural competition.[5] The following year, Hiss formed an organization which voted "condemn intercollegiate competition for women, and to endorse the intramural/interclass model".[1]

Hiss supported many activities, including tennis, golf, archery, swimming and interpretive dance, but was opposed to team sports. In general, "artistry was favored over athleticism".[1] She led an unsuccessful protest against American woman participation in the Olympics of 1928, 1932, and 1936. She was the driving force behind the construction of a Women's Gymnasium (named in her honor after her death). While it was a substantial resource for women's athletics, it was designed to fit her beliefs—the courts were too small for a proper basketball game, and had no room for spectators and the swimming pool was deliberately shorter than Olympic length.[1]

While basketball was not officially supported as a school-sponsored sport in the 1920s and 30s, it was still played by many groups. The interclass games were de-emphasized, but fraternities and sororities played the game, as well as organizations such as the YWCA, industrial leagues and AAU teams.[1]

Intermediate years (1967–1974)[edit]

After Hiss's departure, basketball at Texas began to grow, although it would be almost a decade until it became a full varsity sport. The University of Texas Sports Association (UTSA) a predecessor to the athletic department, organized the sports available for women. Basketball was not one of the club sports offered until a student, Mary Neikirk, organized a petition which was presented to the administration. The school agreed to add basketball as a club sport under the auspices of the UTSA.[6]

The first year's budget was $100. A team was formed, and the team played under the girl's rules of the era—six players on a team, two of whom stayed at the defensive end, two of whom stayed in the offensive end and two, called "rovers" who could play both ends. These rules were used until 1971, at which time they switched to "boy's rules".[6]

In 1973, the team practiced and played in the annex of Gregory Gymnasium. Rod Page, who had some experience as a women's basketball assistant coach, was a referee at one of the games. When the current coach of the team quit, Page was hired. The Texas team, in Pages' first year, compiled a record of 7–11.[6]

The 1974 season was a season of transition, with a mixture of firsts and lasts. This year's team was the first to play their games in Gregory Gymnasium itself, rather than the annex. This was the first year the team had trainers, and it was the first year that the Longhorn Band and cheerleaders performed for the team. It was their last year under the auspices of the UTSA. It was the last year before the sport attained the status of a full varsity sport.[6]

Title IX was passed in 1972, with a provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. At the time it was passed, it was unknown what impact it would have on sports, including whether it even applied to intercollegiate sports.[7] Two years, later, in 1974, the issue wasn't yet settled, with the Tower Amendment specifically excluding revenue-producing sports,[8] but shortly thereafter, the Tower Amendment was eliminated.[9] It was becoming clear that universities would have to respond sooner or later, but Texas responded in 1974. Shortly after the conclusion of the 1974 basketball season, Stephen Spurr, the University president, announced that a women's athletic department would be started, complete with offices, staff and a budget of $50,000.[6]

Rod Page years (1974–1976)[edit]

Some schools waited for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to provide specific regulations covering Title IX. These regulations would not be published until 1975. In 1974, Texas began offering varsity sports opportunities to female students in seven sports.[10] In some ways, the University of Texas program became the envy of women at other schools, but the initial progress was relative. Two-thirds of the male athletes at Texas were on scholarship, while only one in fifteen female students were on scholarship. There were 21 male coach positions, almost all full-time, but seven women's coaches who were all part-time.[7]

Under Pages' leadership, the team improved upon their prior year results, with a record of 17–10. The team started out strong, winning their first five games, including an overtime win against Houston 63–62, before running into Baylor, who won easily 116–62. Some of the games were played as preliminaries to the men's games, but others were stand-alone games.[10]

They would also lose their next game to Southwest Texas, on a night when fundraiser was held, with an exhibition match between UT All-Stars and the All American Red Heads Team, a barnstorming team of female basketball players. The team earned an invitation to the Texas AIAW post season tournament, as a second seed behind Southwest Texas. The tournament schedule required five games in three days. The Texas team did well, except against Southwest Texas, ending up with 17 victories against 10 losses, five of which were to Southwest Texas.[10]

The following season, Texas team would achieve even more. The basketball team added Retha Swindell, a 6' 2" rebounder with defensive skills. The school also hired Donna Lopiano, who started what would become a 17-year stint as women's athletic director. She "vowed to have every Longhorn women's team in the top 10 and at least one national title within five years".[11] While the school was expressing a commitment to women's varsity sports, not everyone was supportive. The football coach, Darrell Royal, had told President Ford that "Title IX might be the death of big-time college football.".[11] Despite that concern, she managed to convince him to support her during her interview.

The team's first game was against Southwest Texas, the team that had defeated Texas five times in the previous season. This time, Texas would prevail 57–47 in a game held at their arena. The team lost three in a row as a result of sickness and injury, then responded with a twelve-game winning streak. The team would go on to a 21–7 season record.[11]

Under Rod Page, the team had improved materially, so it was a surprise that when the Longhorns completed their regular season, and prepared for the post-season tournament, athletic director Lopiano announced he would not be continuing as coach of the team. The news came as a shock to Page and the team. The reason given was that the position was a head coach of basketball and volleyball—Page did not have volleyball experience. However, Lopiano had her eye on another coach, one she felt could lead the team to become a national contender.[11]

Jody Conradt, head coach from 1976 to 2007

Jody Conradt era (1976–2007)[edit]

The Texas team, in front of the main tower, lit up with #1

Lopiano's choice was Jody Conradt, who was garnering national attention as the head coach at the University of Texas at Arlington. She turned a losing program around, and the 1975–76 team would compile a 23–11 record, despite materially strengthening their schedule of opponents at the same time.[12] Two days after announcing that Page would not be returning, Lopiano announced that Conradt would be the coach starting with the next season. Conradt wasn't surprised that the team felt loyalty to Page, but she asked them to "have an open mind".[13]

The first season under Conradt had a schedule of 46 games. The schedule included games in northeast USA, the first out-of-state trip for the team, and the first airplane ride for many of the players. To save money, the team stayed at the home of Lopiano's parents in Stamford Connecticut. Texas lost badly to Queens College, then ranked #15 in the nation, but went on to the Penn State Invitational where they beat Penn State and Southern Connecticut, at that time a national power.[13] Mel Greenberg, the organizer of the first top 25 women's poll, was in attendance. By the time the team returned to Austin, they learned of their first national ranking at #14. The team would complete their first season under Conradt with a record of 36–10.[13]

Annette Smith and Jody Conradt with the National Championship tropy

Conradt coached both basketball and volleyball, but would give up volleyball duties after two seasons.[14] The team would go on to become the dominant women's basketball team on the 1980s, ranked in the AP top ten all but one year between 1979 and 1990.[12]

Texas would end the 1984[15] and 1985[16] seasons with the number one ranking according to the AP ranking service, but failed to win the national championship both years. In 1984, they suffered injuries, in 1985, they went 28–3, but were upset in the NCAA tournament by Western Kentucky.[17] 1986 would end differently. Again they achieved the AP #1 ranking,[18] but they also went on to win every single game, achieving a record of 34–0, and posting the first undefeated season in women's basketball during the NCAA era (since 1982) and the fourth undefeated season in women's college basketball overall.[12]

Gail Goestenkors years (2007–2012)[edit]

Karen Aston era (2012–present)[edit]


Gregory Gymnasium[edit]

Originally built in 1930, Gregory Gymnasium was named after its main advocate and planner, Thomas Watt Gregory. An alumnus of the University, Gregory served on the University's Board of Regents and as United States Attorney General (1914–19) before the gym was built.[19][20] Gregory Gymnasium is located on the UT central campus, a short distance southeast of the UT Main Building, Tower, and Main Mall and facing west onto Speedway Avenue, the campus's central north-south street.

Front façade of Gregory Gymnasium

The Texas women's basketball team played home games in the Gregory Gymnasium annex in the 1972–73 season and then in the Gymnasium itself beginning with the 1973–74 season until moving into the Special Events Center (later renamed the Frank Erwin Center) for the 1977–78 season.

Frank Erwin Center[edit]

The Texas women's basketball team opened the Frank Erwin Center on November 29, 1977 with a 67–64 victory over Temple College.[21]

The Frank Erwin Center

Built for a total cost of $34 million, the building is named for former UT alumnus and Board of Regents member Frank Erwin.[22][23] Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1981 to honor Erwin, who had died earlier that year.[24] The Erwin Center is located at the southeastern corner of the UT central campus and is bounded on the east by Interstate 35.

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) currently accommodates up to 16,540 spectators for basketball games. UT undertook extensive renovations of the facility from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $55 million, adding, among other things, new and renovated seating, new video and sound systems, new lighting, and 28 suites. As part of the project, UT constructed the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion, a state-of-the-art practice and training facility that sits adjacent to the Erwin Center.[23][25]

The master plan released in 2013 for the University's new Dell Medical School indicated that the Erwin Center would be demolished in a later phase of construction within six to fifteen years. No decisions have yet been made as to the location and layout of the arena that will replace the Erwin Center.[26][27][28]

Denton A. Cooley Pavilion[edit]

Built during the final phase of the renovation of the Erwin Center, the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion opened in the fall of 2003.[25] The two-level, 44,000-square-foot building sits adjacent to the Erwin Center and serves as a state-of-the-art practice and training facility for the Texas men's and women's basketball teams. The Pavilion is named for Dr. Denton A. Cooley, a UT alumnus, basketball letterman (1939–41), and pioneering heart surgeon.[29][30]

The Texas men's and women's basketball teams have separate 9,000-square-foot practice court areas, each consisting of one full-court and one half-court practice area with seven basket stations. The practice facility also includes a locker room with a players' lounge, an instructional film theater, a 4,100-square-foot strength and conditioning area, an athletic training and hydrotherapy area, an academic resource and activity center, and a coaches' lounge and locker room.[29][30]

The Cooley Pavilion will be demolished and replaced during the same phase of construction of the Dell Medical School as the Erwin Center. As with the Erwin Center, no decisions have been made as to the location or features of the replacement basketball practice and training facility.[26][27][28]

Year-by-year results[edit]

Conference tournament winners noted with # Source [31]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason Coaches' poll AP poll
Rod Page (Independent) (1975–1977)
1974–75 Rod Page 17–10 Texas AIAW
1975–76 Rod Page 21–7 Texas AIAW
Rod Page: 38–17
Jody Conradt (Independent, Southwest, Big 12) (1976–2007)
1976–77 Jody Conradt 36–10 AIAW Region 4 Tournament
1977–78 Jody Conradt 29–10 NWIT Second Place 15
1978–79 Jody Conradt 37–4 AIAW Region 4 Tournament 4
1979–80 Jody Conradt 33–4 AIAW Sixteen (Play-In) 7
1980–81 Jody Conradt 28–8 AIAW First Round 16
1981–82 Jody Conradt 35–4 AIAW Finals 5
1982–83 Jody Conradt 30–3 8–0 1st# (Southwest) NCAA Quarterfinals 3
1983–84 Jody Conradt 32–3 16–0 1st# NCAA Quarterfinals 1
1984–85 Jody Conradt 28–3 16–0 1st# NCAA Sixteen 1
1985–86 Jody Conradt 34–0 16–0 1st# NCAA Champions 1 1
1986–87 Jody Conradt 31–2 16–0 1st# NCAA Semifinals 3 1
1987–88 Jody Conradt 32–3 16–0 1st# NCAA Quarterfinals 5 4
1988–89 Jody Conradt 27–5 16–0 1st# NCAA Quarterfinals 6 6
1989–90 Jody Conradt 27–5 15–1 T-1st# NCAA Quarterfinals 6 8
1990–91 Jody Conradt 21–9 14–2 2nd NCAA First Round 25 16
1991–92 Jody Conradt 21–10 11–3 3rd NCAA Second Round (Bye) 23 19
1992–93 Jody Conradt 22–8 13–1 T-1st NCAA Second Round (Bye) 19 16
1993–94 Jody Conradt 22–9 10–4 3rd# NCAA Second Round 23 25
1994–95 Jody Conradt 12–16 7–7 T-4th
1995–96 Jody Conradt 21–9 13–1 T-1st NCAA Second Round 25
1996–97 Jody Conradt 22–8 12–4 T-2nd (Big 12) NCAA Second Round 18 14
1997–98 Jody Conradt 12–15 7–9 7th
1998–99 Jody Conradt 16–12 10–6 4th NCAA First Round
1999–2000 Jody Conradt 21–13 9–7 6th NCAA First Round
2000–01 Jody Conradt 20–13 7–9 7th NCAA First Round
2001–02 Jody Conradt 22–10 10–6 5th NCAA Sixteen 13 14
2002–03 Jody Conradt 29–6 15–1 1st# NCAA Semifinals 3 5
2003–04 Jody Conradt 30–5 14–2 T-1st NCAA Sixteen 10 4
2004–05 Jody Conradt 22–9 13–3 2nd NCAA Second Round 17 13
2005–06 Jody Conradt 13–15 7–9 T-8th
2006–07 Jody Conradt 18–14 6–10 T-7th
Jody Conradt: 783–245 297–85
Gail Goestenkors (Big 12) (2007–2012)
2007–08 Gail Goestenkors 22–13 7–9 T-7th NCAA Second Round
2008–09 Gail Goestenkors 21–12 8–8 6th NCAA First Round 25
2009–10 Gail Goestenkors 22–11 10–6 T-4th NCAA First Round 25 17
2010–11 Gail Goestenkors 19–14 7–9 7th NCAA First Round
2011–12 Gail Goestenkors 18–14 8–10 T-6th NCAA First Round
Gail Goestenkors: 102–64 40–42
Karen Aston (Big 12) (2012–present)
2012–13 Karen Aston 12–18 5–13 T-8th
2013–14 Karen Aston 22–12 11–7 3rd NCAA Second Round
2014–15 Karen Aston 24–11 9–9 T-3rd NCAA Sweet Sixteen 22
Karen Aston: 58–41 25–29
Total: 957–356

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

All-time series records against Big 12 members[edit]

Notable players[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Pennington pp. 269–274
  2. ^ a b "Texas Longhorns Women's Basketball Quick Facts" (PDF). texassports.com. Retrieved 2008-03-18. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "NCAA 2008 Women's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). ncaasports.com. Retrieved 2008-03-18. [dead link]
  4. ^ Shackleford and Grundy p. 15
  5. ^ a b Lannin pp. 40–41
  6. ^ a b c d e Pennington pp. 274–277
  7. ^ a b Festle p. 112
  8. ^ "Legislative History of Title IX". 22 June 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Shackleford and Grundy p. 150
  10. ^ a b c Pennington pp. 277–280
  11. ^ a b c d Pennington pp. 280–282
  12. ^ a b c Porter pp. 86–87
  13. ^ a b c Pennington pp. 282–286
  14. ^ Pennington pp. 286–289
  15. ^ "1984 Final AP Women's Basketball Poll – AP Poll Archive – Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". Retrieved 19 June 2010. [dead link]
  16. ^ "1985 Final AP Women's Basketball Poll – AP Poll Archive – Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". Retrieved 19 June 2010. [dead link]
  17. ^ Cain, Joy (20 November 1985). "The Best Little Scorehouse In...". SI.com. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  18. ^ "1986 Final AP Women's Basketball Poll – AP Poll Archive – Historical College Football and Basketball Polls and Rankings". Retrieved 19 June 2010. [dead link]
  19. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online: Gregory, Thomas Watt". tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Gregory Gym History". utrecsports.org. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ "2014–15 Texas Women's Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). texassports.com. p. 98. Retrieved May 21, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Frank C. Erwin, Jr., Special Events Center". TexasSports.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b "About the Erwin Center". uterwincenter.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Celebrating 35 Years". uterwincenter.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Come Early. Be Loud. Cash In.". texasmonthly.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Medical District Master Plan" (PDF). utexas.edu. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Dell Medical School Construction Plans Unveiled". utexas.edu. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  28. ^ a b "With Frank Erwin Center’s days limited, many questions remain about venue’s future". dailytexanonline.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "Denton A. Cooley Pavilion". TexasSports.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  30. ^ a b "Longhorns' lap of luxury". espn.com. Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  31. ^ a b "Big 12 Women's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). big12sports.com. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 


  • Festle, Mary Jo (1996). Playing nice: politics and apologies in women's sports. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10162-7. 
  • Susan Shackelford; Grundy, Pamela (2005). Shattering the Glass: The Dazzling History of Women's Basketball from the Turn of the Century to the Present. New York: New Press. ISBN 1-56584-822-5. 
  • Lannin, Joanne (2000). A history of basketball for girls and women: from bloomers to big leagues. Minneapolis: Lerner Sports. ISBN 0-8225-9863-9. 
  • Pennington, Richard (1998). Longhorn hoops: the history of Texas basketball. United States: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-76585-1. 
  • Porter, David (2005). Basketball: a biographical dictionary. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-30952-3. 

External links[edit]