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1975: Immaculata Beats Maryland in First Nationally Televised Women's Game


On January 26, 1975 the Mighty Macs of Immaculata defeated the Maryland Terrapins 80-48 in College Park, Maryland at the Cole Field House in the first nationally televised women's basketball game in the United States.

The game was shown on the Mizlou Television Network to over 100 stations.  According to a Salon article, Rene Portland remembered that "that was the first year we wore shorts" (the Mighty Macs had worn skirts the season before).  Note that the referees are wearing skirts.

Immaculata moved to 5-1 on the season with the win and forced the Terrapins into 29 turnovers.  Freshman guard Helen Canuso scored 19 points, shooting 9-for-15 and scoring 15 of Immaculata's first 25 points.  Cathy Rush, head coach of Immaculata, was unsatisfied.  "We played a sloppy game, and when people see us do that, they figure other teams must be a lot worse.  We represent all of women's basketball, not just Immaculata."

But what was the score, and what were the other facts?  Immaculata says it was 86-65, whereas contemporary accounts have it as 80-48.  (This is the score listed in the Maryland women's basketball media guide.)  Immaculata has the date as January 27th.  One account has the score at 80-45.  Furthermore, the YouTube clip above claims that the entire game was not shown, as it was interrupted by a showing of the movie Heidi.  (This was six years after the infamous Heidi Game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders.)

Carol Anderson of the Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia) spoke to Mariam Greenburg, the chairman of the department of health and physical education at Mary Washington College.  Greenburg's impression was that the announcers weren't too patronizing but questioned an announcer asking Maryland women's basketball coach Dottie McKnight if her players were still interested in boys.  "Can you imagine him asking Lefty [Driesell, Maryland men's basketball coach] if his players are still interested in girls?"

Anderson states that the game was taken off the air with two minutes to play, with Mizlou asking Maryland officials to run some time off the clock in the second half.  (The request was denied.)  Furthermore, the announcers were supposedly told to end the game after two hours of television time, regardless of if the game was over.  Those watching the game would have to wait to find out the final score, but with the Mighty Macs up by thirty-plus the conclusion was foregone.

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