Women Win in Columbus

Women's sports have always been big in Columbus. From the youth and high school level through college and international competitions, women win here. As early as 1897 - just six years after it was invented - high school girls were playing organized basketball in Columbus. Columbus also has a founding team in the new Pro Volleyball Federation, the Fury, that begins play in early 2024 at Nationwide Arena.

Here are a few notable teams, events and people across women's sports history in Columbus. Check out our Title IX Podcast to dive deeper on local women's sports.


  • Columbus-born Georgeann Wells was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game. She did it for West Virginia on Dec. 21, 1984.
  • The Columbus Pacesetters were one of the founding teams of the first professional women's football league, the NWFL in 1974. The players and staff went on to buy their team in 1977. 
  • The Columbus Quest won both championships in the American Basketball League (ABL) before it disbanded when players left to join the newly founded WNBA.


Since 2016, Columbus has hosted ten NCAA women’s championships across all three divisions and national collegiate. Two others were scheduled but canceled due to COVID-19. 

  • 2024 NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Championship
  • 2023 NCAA DI Women's March Madness First & Second Rounds
  • 2022 NCAA Women's Bowling Championship
  • 2021 NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Championship
  • 2021 NCAA DII Women's Basketball Elite Eight
  • 2019 NCAA DII Women's Basketball Elite Eight
  • 2018 NCAA DI Women's Final Four
  • 2018 NCAA DI Women's Swimming & Diving Championship
  • 2016 NCAA DI Women's Volleyball Championship
  • 2017 NCAA DII Women's Basketball Elite Eight


For as long as the Sports Commission has been around, we've sought to elevate women's sports in new ways. We believe in women's sports and the power they have to inspire young girls to be what they see.

  • Columbus was the first city to wrap team buses in school branding for both the Women's Final Four (2018) and the DI Women's Volleyball Championship (2021)
  • The 2018 Women's Final Four was an advance sellout, featuring three incredible games highlighted by a title-winning buzzer-beater
  • The NCAA Women's Final Four returns to Columbus in 2027
  • Columbus set the then-record attendance figure with 18,755 fans at the 2021 DI Women's Volleyball Championship Final



The list of Buckeye women's sports accolades is too long to list here. From Phyliss Bailey and Stephanie Hightower to Katie Smith and Sophie Jaques to name a few, history-making athletes and coaches have competed here. Most recently, the women's hockey team won its first national championship in 2022 and the women's basketball team made it to the Elite Eight in 2023.


There's no doubt about it - the Columbus Quest were the best American Basketball League team of all time. The league lasted two full seasons before giving way to the WNBA and the Quest won both titles. 


Our city's newest women's team is the Columbus Fury of the Pro Volleyball Federation. The inaugural season kicks off at Nationwide Arena in February 2024. Additionally, Columbus is home to pro, semi-pro and amateur women's teams in a variety of sports.



The USWNT has played in Columbus 11 times, going 9-1-1 across all competitions including the FIFA Women's World Cup, SheBelieves Cup and friendlies. They'll be back to bolster that stellar record on April 9 for the SheBelieves Cup Championship and 3rd Place matches at Lower.com Field.


Since 2018, Columbus has hosted 39 girls state championships across ten sports. Three more were scheduled but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Columbus hosts more state championships than nearly every city in the country. The first girls wrestling state championship was held here in 2023.


Columbus support for women extends off the field of play. The Columbus Women’s Commission’s goal is to dismantle barriers and reduce gender-based inequities to improve the economic position of women in the community. That includes focus areas of health, housing, gender equity in the workplace and workforce development. More than 250 companies have signed the Commission’s pay equity pledge.