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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Athletics April 28, 2023

Smith Icon Honored by Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Berenson Trophy at Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
A 17-foot bronze sculpture, rising from the center of the entrance to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been named in honor of Smith educator and founding mother of the game, Senda Berenson.

Designed by artist Elizabeth MacQueen, the sculpture, now called The Berenson, depicts three figures: a player from the 1890s, a player in a contemporary uniform, and a young girl representing the future of the sport.

Berenson, a physical education teacher at Smith, is credited with adapting the new game of basketball for women and teaching it to her students beginning in 1892. Today, 130 years after the first game, women’s basketball is surging in popularity. Smith’s team, the Pioneers, recently celebrated a historic season that took them to the Final Four.

At this year's induction ceremony on April 29, the hall of fame presented trophy replicas of The Berenson to new honorees—a tradition that will continue.

Smith College President Kathleen McCartney said naming the sculpture in honor of Berenson is a wonderful tribute to her legacy and Smith’s place in the history of the sport. “From its very beginning, the game of basketball has been an important part of the Smith experience,” McCartney said. “We are very proud to partner with the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, an organization that shares our passion for the sport and its players.”

Smith coach Lynn Hersey, WBCA NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year, said Berenson’s legacy is about boldness. "You have to be pretty bold to bring an entire sport to a women’s college and to be the one who starts it for the rest of the world,” Hersey said.