When Baptists Were the Queens of … Basketball

The University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is on the verge of usurping U.C.L.A.’s streak of 88 consecutive victories. Yet neither UConn or U.C.L.A. own bragging rights for the greatest basketball team in history. That distinction, by far, belongs to Wayland Baptist University.

At the same time that Southern Baptists reached their pinnacle, the Wayland Baptist girl’s basketball team reached heights never before achieved, and likely never to be equaled, in the history of basketball. From 1953 to 1958, the Flying Queens won 131 straight games.

Their success garnered widespread recognition for the small Baptist school on the high plains of West Texas. As they approached 100 consecutive wins in 1957, the accomplishments of the Flying Queens made the pages of the New York Times. Yet a Baptist Press feature story on Texas Baptists in 1958 barely mentioned Wayland Baptist, and said not a word about the school’s girl’s basketball team.

Wayland’s streak began before Southern Baptists were forced to confront, in the face the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, their cultural legacy of racism. By the time the streak ended, Southern Baptist Convention growth had peaked, never to recover. 

For more information on the amazing story of a group of Baptist girls, mostly Texans, who in the 1950s lived incredible lives for young women in Baptist life at that time, read this article from the New York Times.

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