ODU Celebrates Women’s Sports Teams on National Girls & Women in Sports Day


Women's Sports Foundation

National Girls & Women in Sports Day logo via the Women’s Sports Foundation.

By Kat Monnin and Benjamin Draper

February 1, 2023 will be the 37th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day since the day was established in 1987.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, National Girls & Women in Sports Day has become “an event to acknowledge the accomplishments of girls and women in sports, the positive influence of sports participation and the continuing struggle for equality for women in sports.”

The Women’s Sports Foundation states that “[t]he confidence, strength and character gained through sports participation are the very tools girls and women need to become strong leaders in sports and life.”

ODU has been and still is home to many phenomenal female athletes, such as two-time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA All-Star, and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee DeLisha Milton-Jones (an interview with whom can be found here), coach of the ODU women’s basketball team.

In 2022, the ODU women’s soccer team won both the regular season title and the conference tournament title. Also in 2022, four members of the ODU women’s volleyball team were named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC, formerly CoSIDA) Academic All-District team.

ODU’s women’s sports teams are still going strong in 2023. Three players on ODU’s women’s field hockey team were named to the VaSID All- State Field Hockey team. Also, the women’s swimming team emerged victorious over American University in Washington, D.C..

Historically, women’s sports at Old Dominion have played a prominent role in the University’s athletic success. The ODU Monarchs field hockey team is tied with the North Carolina Tar Heels for being the winningest NCAA college field hockey program with nine national titles. From 1996 to 2003, the team won 17 regular season conference titles and 15 conference tournament titles with eight straight CAA regular season and tournament titles through those years. From the years 1990 to 1993, the Monarchs won 66 straight games including three national championships.

The Old Dominion Lady Monarchs basketball team have brought ODU three national championships, which is one of the few in the trophy case. In 1979 and 1980, the Lady Monarchs were crowned AIAW National Champions. In 1985, they won the NCAA Division I National Championship after defeating the Georgia Lady Bulldogs 70–65 in Austin, TX. In addition, the Lady Monarchs won five Sun Belt conference championship titles (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1990) and 17 CAA championship titles (1992–2008).

In honor of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day, ODU Recreation and Wellness is collaborating with The Women and Gender Equity Center to host “*Women in Sports Day Gym-timidation Chat & Workout.” This event will take place on Feb. 1 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

The session will begin with a half-hour conversation facilitated by Ericka Harrison-Bey of WEC on the topic of “gym-timidation.” The phenomena of “gym-timidation,” which refers to discomfort and insecurity felt at the gym, can affect everyone, but women are especially likely to be made to feel that they don’t belong in the realm of sports and fitness. After the conversation, an interactive workout session will be held.

National Girls & Women in Sports Day serves as a reminder of the appreciation due to the hardworking and dedicated female athletes at ODU and beyond.