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In 1891, James Naismith, a physical education instructor, was thinking about new ways to improve exercise. He nailed peach baskets onto the balconies at either end of a gymnasium and challenged his student to throw a soccer ball into them. This was the start of modern basketball.
Women's basketball took off in the U.S. in 1892 when gymnastics instructor Senda Abbott adapted James Naismith's basketball rules for women and introduced the game to her students at Smith College. In the same year the first inter-institutional contest was held between the University of California and Miss Head's School. Then, on April 4, 1896 the first women's intercollegiate basketball game took place. Women's basketball has grown a lot since 1896. Today the U.S is home to the WNBA, the first professional women's basketball team.