Mar 12, 2024

Dordt women's basketball 50th anniversary: celebrating tenacity and success

Earlier this spring, Dordt University Women’s Basketball celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program by hosting more than 220 people for a reunion.

Earlier this spring, Dordt University Women’s Basketball celebrated the 50th anniversary of the program by hosting more than 220 people for a reunion. This included former and current women’s basketball players, former and current coaches, family members of players and coaches, and more. Five former women’s basketball coaches were able to participate.

The schedule featured an informal reception in the Recreation Center, campus tours, a chance to practice with the current women’s basketball team, and recognition of former coaches and players during halftime at the Defender men’s basketball game against Doane University.

For Women’s Basketball Coach Bill Harmsen, one highlight of the 50th anniversary celebration was inviting the program alumni into the team’s pregame talk. “To have previous generations of women’s basketball players standing alongside our current team and giving them all high fives was really neat. That made an impact on our team.”

Beginning the Dordt women’s basketball program was a hard-fought battle 50 years ago, says Alumni and Signature Events Coordinator Becky Ringsby. “It started out with a couple women wanting to start a program but not having the resources, so they bought their own jerseys, arranged their own game schedule, and paid for their own transportation. Today, the women’s team is one of the top NAIA teams in the nation. I think that’s worth celebrating.”

Many of the former players hadn’t set foot on Dordt’s campus since they graduated, says Harmsen. “It was good to give them a reason to come back and to remember what they loved about this place. The celebration reminded me of God’s faithfulness through the generations. He is blessing Dordt University, and it was wonderful to share that with our former players.”

Dordt University's women's basketball program is a competitive force within the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). The team's dedication and hard work have led to recent successes, such as laying claim to the program’s first GPAC tournament title on March 5 against Concordia University (Nebraska) and clinching back-to-back GPAC regular season titles in 2023 and 2024.

With a focus on teamwork, skill development, and a strong coaching staff, the Dordt Defenders women's basketball team continues to make waves in collegiate sports, while also providing a supportive environment for student-athletes to grow both on and off the court. To learn more, visit

About Dordt University

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report,, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.

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