Considered the “Mother of Women’s Basketball”, Senda Berenson was a pioneer of women’s sports. Senda Valvrojenski was born March 19, 1868 in Lithuania. The family changed their name to Berenson when they immigrated to Boston in 1875. Senda was a frail child whose poor health constantly interfered with her education so her family sent her to Boston Normal School of Gymnastics. Her health greatly improved with sports and exercise. She became a physical education teacher for Smith College in 1892. Basketball had just been invented in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts and Berenson thought it might be a great game to adapt for women. She wrote the rules that would become the standard for women’s basketball for the next 70 years. She also introduced field hockey to Smith College in 1901. In 1985, Berenson became the first woman inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Back to Top