Basketball players

How Wisconsin’s Former Women’s Basketball Players Used Transportation Back In The Early Title Era IX | Middle School

JAKE KOCOROWSKI

The early-to-mid-1970s modes of transportation described by former University of Wisconsin female basketball players paint a starkly different picture of planes and coaches than today’s college programs and their female students- athletes can use.

“We had fleet cars,” said former UW player Kristi Austin (née: Condon), who also later added that vans were another option.

Austin, a Brodhead native who led the team in scoring and rebounds during the 1975-76 season and is a former president of the W Clubrecalled how three people were allowed to drive these fleet cars, including the coach and a former player, Tasha Bolton, and one other person.

“We were literally taking off later in the day, driving at night,” Austin said. “So I was always standing with Tasha, and we could just pull the breeze back and forth.”

UW Women’s Basketball register states that the program began “intercollegiate play” on December 6, 1974, when the Badgers defeated Minnesota 55-45 in Iowa City, Iowa, but there were teams that organized and played before that 1974 season- 75.

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The State Journal spoke to three former players – Austin (1974-76), Sandi Skubal (1969-73), Kim Bertagnoli (1974-75) – about their experiences on UW basketball teams before, during, and after Title IX passed for nearly an hour on a June afternoon inside the Kohl Center.

Skubal played before that “intercollegiate” first team of 1974-75, training and playing at Lathrop Hall. Skubal, who became a physical education teacher and coach of basketball, track and volleyball at Middleton High School, remembered that she needed to get behind the wheel, literally, to get better. sure to get to a game.

“There was a time when we didn’t have anyone to drive, so I think that was my last year, I drove to a game and then I played,” Skubal said. “So you just did what you had to do, because we just wanted to play and it was great.”

Bertagnoli only played one season for the UW women’s basketball program, but she also played three seasons for the women’s volleyball team. She thinks it was in 1975 that this group of badgers learned they were taking a new route.

“My second year in volleyball, I believe it was my second year,” Bertagnoli said. “It was towards the end of the season, a big volleyball tournament, and we managed to get a steal.”

Bertagnoli recalled being in the old Natatorium building, which she described as having two basketball courts side by side. She will never forget how the team walked around the gym and performed warm-ups.

“And that day when we found out,” she said, “we were pretending to be airplanes running around like children do with our arms outstretched, because we were so excited to be able to fly somewhere.”

Writer’s note: Be sure to watch the five videos the State Journal has compiled of various clips from the chat.