March Madness has come to mean women's basketball almost as much as men's college hoops. So it's difficult to remember that women's basketball in Illinois schools was virtually unknown 40 years ago. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is introducing an oral history project that chronicles the growth of girls and womens basketball in the state. It's called "What About the Character of the Girls? Girls' and Women's Basketball in Illinois, 1968-1977." It includes 18 interviews with more to come. They include Jill Hutchinson, Illinois State University's most successful women's coach, and Lorene Ramsey, who once coached at Illinois Central College. Ellyn Bartges conducted the interviews. She is a pioneer Illinois high school player and coach, and is now college affirmative action administrator.
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