May & Malone Girls
The May & Malone Girls, a women’s amateur basketball team that played in the Chicago and the Midwest for about eight years, from 1925 to 1932. The team’s sponsor was the May & Malone wholesale and retail store, which had a big sporting goods department and the team was a typical industrial team from the period.
The first couple of years the May & Malone Girls were in the lower tier of AAU amateur teams in the city, and rarely competed against the major teams, such as the Brownies, Jewish People's Institute Girls, and Taylor Trunks. In 1927, they won two-thirds of their games, and in 1928 about 80 percent of their games.
The Malone & May Girls built a career playing preliminary games to men’s professional and amateur contests. In January 1927, they beat the Western Electric Installation, 15-5, prior to a Cleveland Rosenblums-Chicago Bruins American Basketball League game at the Broadway Armory. But they were regularly beat up by the Taylor Trunk Girls in these preliminary games.
In January 1928, in the preliminary game before the Bruins and Celtics game, the Malone & May Girls were smashed by the Taylor Trunk team 24-4. In January of 1929, in an opening match before the Fort Wayne Hoosiers and Bruins, the girls gave the Taylor Trunks a scare, closely losing to them 17-12. However, in March the same year they lost two games to the Trunks by embarrassing scores of 20-6 and 11-3.
When the Bruins played for the first time on the south side, at White City, in February of 1929, the crowd did not appreciate the May & Malone-Taylor Trunk preliminary game, showing a prejudice against the women's game that was not that common. A letter to the Chicago Tribune said, “The spectators at White City continually razzed and booed the girls, and much questionably language was used by the supposedly clever wise-crackers. This is never true of the north side audience at the Broadway Armory.”
Steps Up in Competition
In December 1929, May & Malone Girls stepped up in the competition by completely revamping their team by bringing in players from more powerful teams—namely two Taylor Trunk girls and six Brownies—and keeping only one player from the 1929 squad. With Francis Lambert the holdover, the new members were Betty Barratt, Inza Teague, Helen Teague, Teddy Teichmann, Marion Ryan, Alice Lindeman, Jo Copeland, and Sue Teichmann. The team felt it was now competitive with the Taylor Trunks and the Brownies.
The team improved in the early 1930s, and in 1932 the girls reached the apex of their success. The team at this time included Evelyn Krubaeck (sister Violet was not on the team), plus Madge Kline, Betty Reidl, and the Williams sisters (Daisy and Jackie). They entered the Central AAU Women's Basketball Championships having achieved a 16-game winning streak during the year--having earlier won the American Tournament--and swept away all the competition to take their first and only Central AAU title. In their march to the title game, they first beat two old powerhouses, bearly getting by the Brownies 13-12 and overwhelming the Jewish People's Institute Girls 39-15. In the championship game they edged the Cooperators of Waukegan, 16-15.
Losing Their Sponsor
After the 1932 season, the May & Malone Girls apparently lost their sponsor, and in the 1933 season the same team essentially competed as the Six Point Co-eds. With the Krubaeck sisters, Madge Kline, Betty Reidl, and the Williams sisters. The Six Point Co-eds lost to the Spencer Coals in both the American Tournament open class finals and the Central AAU finals. The one consolation was that Co-eds prevailed over the Coals in the finals of the Central States AAU championships.
In 1933-34 season, the Six Point Co-eds became the Rickett's Restaurant Girls (with new player Ruth McCracken) and won the American Tournament open title. In October of 1933, the Rickett's team traveled to Edmonton to play the Edmonton Grads for the Underwood Trophy. The team that made the trip consisted of Madge Kline, Daisy Williams, Diana Wilson, Betty Reidl, Ruth McCracken, Evelyn Krubaeck, and Julia Stluka. The team played as the Red Devils, the third ad hoc team that competed against the Grads (the other two Red Devils teams competed in May of 1932 and May of 1933). The team was probably coached by Harry Wilson, as his wife, Dena Schaper competed on the team. Like most Chicago teams that previously made the trip to Edmonton, the Rickett's Girls lost, in three straight games, 75-35, 54-29, and 54-38.
In 1935 the ever-changing team was now the Andy Frain Usherettes, and won both the American Tournament and Central AAU major titles. In October of 1935, the Usherettes made the requisite trip to Edmonton to contest the Underwood Trophy, and lost two games, 54-36 and 42-27. In 1936, many members of the team played under the name T. J. Courtneys and captured the American Tournament's free-lance title. In 1937, the Krubaeck sisters and Ruth McCracken anchored the Alamo Theater Co-eds team, leading them to the American Tourney championship. From 1938 through 1940, the Krubaeck sisters and Ruth McCracken were members of the Queen Anne Aces had helped lead them to three consecutive American Tournament free-lance titles.