During March Madness earlier this year, when Texas Tech fell short in the title game, some media reported that Texas Western (now The University of Texas-El Paso) remained the only team in the state to have won a national championship in college basketball. There was no mention of Baylor University’s women’s team, which won titles in 2005, 2012, and again in 2019.
The truth is, women’s basketball has a storied past in North Texas. Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman, the first female to coach a professional men’s basketball team (Frisco’s Texas Legends), got her start as a player in 1980 with the Dallas Diamonds, a team that folded in 1984. Professional women’s basketball returned to the region three years ago, when the Tulsa Shock moved here from Oklahoma. The team now known as the Dallas Wings has led the league in season tickets sold for two consecutive years. It’s home opener is tomorrow night at College Park Center in Arlington.
During a recent talk with fans, Wings’ President and CEO Greg Bibb said one of the reasons he got into professional women’s basketball is because he thought it would be good for his young daughter. “I thought it would help her understand what she can become, if she chooses to,” he said. “But I have figured out along the way that it is far more valuable for my son.”
Bibb said his son recently asked him who would win if NBA players Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and Grant Hill were matched up against the WNBA’s Skylar Diggins-Smith, Liz Cambage, and Allisha Gray. “He was 100 percent honest in not knowing the answer—not because he doesn’t know sports, but because in his mind, he values women’s basketball at the exact same level as the NBA,” Bibb said. “He sees no difference.”
Beliefs like these, and attitudes I’ve seen from my own 20-something sons, give me faith that gender discrimination will continue to dissipate—and one day disappear.