The University of California's first basketball contest against another opponent occurred on November 18, 1892 when Berkeley's women defeated nearby Miss Head's School. The game had been created by James Naismith in 1891 at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. Within a short time women at nearby Smith College had adopted it.
Walter Magee (Associate in Physical Culture at UC) observed the game and introduced it to female students at Berkeley. Basketball quickly became the nation's most popular team sport for women and girls. Initially teams consisted of nine players, each confined to her section of the court; there was no dribbling. The first intercollegiate women's game on the West Coast took place on April 4, 1896 when UC met Stanford at San Francisco's Page Street Armory. Five hundred spectators cheered their favorites; the only man permitted inside was the referee.
Men also were playing basketball by the early 1900's, but it was not considered a major sport within men's intercollegiate athletic programs for several decades. For many years Berkeley's Department of Physical Education sponsored "weight teams" (e. g., 130 pound; 150 pound) for male students and offered many classes for the general student. During the 1960's television made the game one of the nation's most popular and lucrative intercollegiate sports. The enactment of Title IX (1972) elevated basketball (and other sports) to prommence in intercollegiate programs for women.