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Why She Plays: The World of Women's Basketball

Bison Books 2008

Have you ever had a conversation with a coach or a player and listened to them describe the passion and love of the sport for which they coach or play? Christine A. Baker captures the passion and growth of women's basketball.

Christine Baker combines two rare traits: a true passion for the game of basketball, tattooed into her soul at an early age; and the ability to describe that passion with the gritty feel of the ball on a sweaty palm and the confident assurance of a born writer.

Clay Kallam

Women's Basketball Magazine

A Non-Fiction Look at Women's Basketball with Foreword by Becky Hammon

About the Book

Why does she play basketball? Since the enactment of Title IX in 1972, that question has come to be asked of more girls and women—and answered in more ways—than ever before. Christine Baker, a former player, and coach, pursued an answer through the ranks of the sport, from youth basketball to the WNBA. Baker set the stage with a quick look at current statistics and trends in women’s basketball nationwide, noting the profound changes in the last thirty-five years. A series of exclusive interviews then takes the reader into the heart and soul of the sport. Her subjects were players and coaches, from neophytes to stars such as Dawn Staley and Nancy Lieberman; from legendary coaches such as Jody Conradt to the masterminds of USA Basketball and the 1996 Women’s Dream Team; from Donna Lopiano, former CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation, to tomorrow’s Olympic athletes. A richly detailed, all-encompassing portrait of the sport, these interviews offered a wealth of insight into the game, American sports culture, and, indeed, why Baker played.


Keri Mikulski,

Why She Plays is a modern women’s basketball bible with an exclusive pass into the world of the elite female athlete. Baker covers more floor in the basketball world than Candace Parker covers on game day. If you’re a fan of women’s athletics, a current or former basketball player, or a parent of a child navigating the world of youth sports, pick up Why She Plays.

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Kendra Hunter, Journal of Sport History

I recommend this book for those interested in reading about women’s basketball from the perspective of someone whose passion stems from her own experiences as a player, a coach, and a journalist. Her writing also serves as a reminder of the immense potential for growth in this sport, and the responsibility we have as players, coaches, and fans to move forward with delicate balance.


Stephanie Bennett, Ph.D.
Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal

From Title IX, to the birth of the WNBA, to Sports Marketing, to comparisons of USA Basketball versus basketball in other countries, Christine Baker does a great job of combining her love for the game of basketball and her journalistic abilities to provide the reader with a well-rounded visual rendering of women's basketball.

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