Bill Rand Girls
Bill Rand Girls, a women's amateur basketball team from Chicago in the late 1930s. The Brill Rand Girls were sponsored by a notable boxing promoter, Bill Rand, who also sponsored bowling, girls softball, and baseball teams through his Bill Rand Athletic Club.
The Bill Rand Girls played in the women’s division of the Windy City League, the most prominent amateur basketball circuit in Chicago in the 1930s. The team first played in the 1937-38 season and competed against such teams as the I. C. Co-Eds, the Turner Clothiers, and the formidable Queen Anne Aces of Hammond, Indiana. The team was built with some of the top female talent in Chicago, and included Anne Goldstein (now married as Anne Gomberg), Marion and Mercedes DeSutter, Lorraine "Babe" Sisk, Ruby Ryba, and Natalie Young. The core of their talent came from the disbanded Alamo Theater Co-eds, from which came the DeSutter sisters, Sisk, and Young. Most of the games the Rands played that year were preliminary contests in the Windy City League to the male contests. In January of 1938, the Bill Rand Girls participated in something of a novelty game, playing the Queen Anne Aces on the stage of the Norshore Theater, on the city’s north side.
At the end of the 1938-39 season, four of the Bill Rand Girls--the DeSutter twins, Natalie Young, and Anne Goldstein--were recruited for the Chicago All-Stars, which went up to Ontario, Canada, and lost a three-game match series against the Edmonton Grads for the Underwood Trophy.
During 1938-39, the Windy City League conducted regular league competition for the female division, and through most of the season a women’s game invariably preceded every men’s contest. Most of the games they played were against the Queen Anne Aces and the legendary Taylor Trunks, usually beating the Taylor Trunks but losing to the Queen Anne Aces. The team was considerably augmented that year with the addition of the DeSutter twins (Mercedes and Marion) and Natalie Young, the three having help lead the Alamo Theater Co-eds to the American Tournament championship in 1937. Other players on the teams were veterans Anne Goldstein, Madge Kline, Ann Solloway, and Catherine Rutherford Fellmeth, the latter two recruited from the Fellmeth Paints.
The Bill Rand Girls besides its competition in the Windy City League also competed in the American Tournament in 1939, and took second to the Queen Anne Aces for the women's free-lance championship, 18-14. The Rand Girls proved their mettle in the Windy City League, however, winning the championship by defeating the Taylor Trunks in the title game as part of the Central AAU tournament that year, 25-23. Earlier in the year they beat the legendary Trunks in several games, one notably on January 23, 35-22. Other teams the Bill Rand Girls played that year included the Sappanos, the Alderman Daleys, and Olympic Women’s Athletic Club team.
The Bill Rand Girls apparently disbanded after only two seasons, but their legacy is that of a formidable name in women’s amateur basketball in Chicago in the late 1930s.