Barnstorming America, Stories from the Pioneers of Women's Basketball

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Only 16 years after women won the right to vote,  a women’s basketball team out of Cassville, Missouri jumped into a car and began a tour of America, playing basketball against men by their rules and breaking every social rule that had been set for them. The team was the All American Red Heads, a team that would barnstorm the country for 50 years. 

The Red Heads were successful and spawned other women’s barnstorming teams that spread the word across the fruited plain that women can play basketball too.
This fall, a very special book will be published that tells the stories of the women who played on those barnstorming teams, breaking down gender barriers and stereotypes while compiling astounding records against teams of men.

Barnstorming America—Stories from the Pioneers of Women’s Basketball features stories from many players from the Hall of Fame Red Heads as well as other teams such as the Arkansas Travelers, Ozark Hillbillies, Shooting Stars, Arkansas Gems and others. Also included are stories from performers in the first professional leagues—the WBL and WBA—forerunners of today’s WNBA.

Also included in
Barnstorming America are stories about—  

·     The first women to ever play in the NCAA, many years before the NCAA had women’s basketball teams.


·     Donna Orender, a WBL All-Star, member of the U.S. National Team and later commissioner of the WNBA.


·     The barnstorming team that had to leave the Philippines on a cattle boat, led by a mine sweeper, prior to the invasion by Japan during World War II.


·     The team that played a game at a military base and had to use helicopters in a hangar as dressing rooms.


·     Life on the road, with grueling schedules—often featuring eight games a week—and the adventures that accompany traveling thousands of miles a week.


·     Players who felt a need to pack a revolver in their purse for protection.   


So come along for the ride as we Barnstorm America with over 80 women who helped bring women’s basketball into the mainstream culture.

Watch video on the barnstorming All American Red Heads by clicking here

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One of the greatest ever, Jolene Ammons

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Becky Harp of the Red Heads shoots foul shot while on her knees

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Fran "Goose" Garoutteo of Arkansas Travelers

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Sandy Mann signing autographs

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Brenda Brooks and Lynn Holst doing halftime show

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The Southern Belles

New York Times article on Red Heads induction 9-10-2012