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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Red Heads were the real deal

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It was around 1952 that the professional women's All-American Red Heads basketball team visited Thayer and took on the Thayer independent men's team.

Only by giving it their all did the men prevail.

The all-women's team toured the nation from 1936 until 1985, winning from 50- to 85-percent of their games against male teams, playing by men's rules.

Women at that time played six-on-six rules, with only three players allowed across the center of the court.

Back in those days, there was a concern that playing men's rules could be detrimental to the female body.

The first professional All-American Red Heads team was assembled by Ole Swenson at Cassville, Mo., in 1936.

Whether natural or by courtesy of Miss Clairol, the women all had red hair.

When the Red Heads played at Thayer, Orwell Moore was the coach.

His wife, Lorene, played on the team and scored over 35,000 points in her 12-year career.

He moved the team base to Caraway, Ark., in 1955.

They once practiced at Mammoth Spring for several days.

The Red Heads played almost every night for six to seven months during their heyday.

With their colorful striped uniforms, the highly-talented women put on a halftime show dribbling and shooting trick shots.

One of the ladies shot from the free throw line on her knees, making an unbelievable string of shots before missing.

Unlike the male Globetrotters, the Red Heads played for real.

But they did try to put on a show and entertain the audience at the same time.

The All-American Red Heads had several spinoffs and associated teams.

The novelty of all-women teams were diminished when colleges started affording females equal access to sports.

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