What began as an idea has blossomed into legitimate women’s basketball competition set to the soundtrack of squealing high-tops this summer at the Baxter YMCA.
By introducing an Adult Women’s Basketball League, the Baxter location, a staple of Southside fitness pursuits since 1950, managed to add yet another selection to its adult activity schedule.
A total of 25 players ranging in age from 19 to 35 — the league is and will continue to be open to older players — made it possible for there to be four teams once the inaugural season began July 23.
Regular-season games already have been played Wednesday evenings in Baxter’s North Gym. Postseason competition starts this week with championship and consolation games scheduled for Sept. 10.
The experience has been nothing but positive for all parties involved.
“My sister, Molly Lauck, played at Center Grove and Marian University. She needed another person for this league, so that’s what got me into it,” said Lindsay Richichi, 31, a 2001 Roncalli High School graduate who had stopped playing competitively following her freshman season.
“It’s been a lot of fun just because there are women with different basketball abilities.”
A 5-foot-11 forward, Lauck graduated from Center Grove in 2006. She went on to play two seasons at St. Joseph’s College before transferring to Marian for her junior and senior school years.
The Baxter YMCA’s is one of three women’s basketball leagues Lauck participates in. Most aspiring players are just happy to locate one.
“I like being able to play in an all-women’s league. I don’t mind playing coed basketball, but sometimes I think that intimidates people,” said Whiteland resident Brandi Jolliff, 25, a former 5-11 forward at Franklin County High School who is employed as a physical education/health teacher at Waldron High School.
“It’s a good atmosphere where there are moms who want to get some exercise, and there is that competitiveness, too.”
Baxter YMCA sports director Joel Hudson is the one who turned an appealing concept into reality. Hudson would like to see the women’s basketball league grow in number of players and teams.
“I’m excited about it. Being the first time and having enough players to have four teams is just awesome. Getting more participants is the primary thing I would like to see. Getting more members into the league, because right now it’s majority nonmembers,” Hudson said.
“The Y’s goal is to provide a community need. As far as I had heard there’s not any women’s basketball leagues here on the Southside.”
In these early stages the entire process within the league is rather uncomplicated – six regular-season games followed by a single-elimination postseason with members of the championship team receiving T-shirts.
The league allows Richichi to team with her younger sibling the way it has Jolliff and her roommate, one-time Austin High School guard Brittany Bolden, to put on one of the Y’s reversible jerseys for the same squad.
“Even though there are only four teams in the league, it’s fun to play against some familiar faces from the Indianapolis and southside area that I used to play against in high school. Hopefully for the next session, there will be more interest in the league regarding more teams and the league itself will grow more competitive,” said Lauck, 27.
“It’s very convenient having the league at the Y in Greenwood. It’s easy to get to for friends and family, and games usually run on time. The Wednesday night league is definitely something my friends and I look forward to each week.”