Minnesota Fillies

The Minnesota Fillies were an American women's professional basketball team based in Minnesota that competed in the Women's Professional Basketball League from 1978 to 1981. The Fillies were one of three teams to play in all three of the league's seasons.[1] The Met Center served as the team's home court during their first two seasons. In the team's last season, they played home games at the Minneapolis Auditorium.[2]

Minnesota Fillies
Minnesota Fillies logo
DivisionEastern (1978–1979)
Midwest (1979–1980)
Central (1980–1981)
LeagueWomen's Professional Basketball League
HistoryMinnesota Fillies
ArenaMet Center (1978–1980)
Williams Arena (1980)
Minneapolis Auditorium (1980-1981)
LocationMinneapolis, MN
Team colorsRoyal blue, golden yellow, white
Team managerJ. Gordon Nevers
Head coachJulia Yeater (1978–1979)
Terry Kunze (1979–1981)
Lynnette Sjoquist (1981)
OwnershipJ. Gordon Nevers
Conference titles0
Division titles0

The Women's Professional Basketball League disbanded in 1981 due to financial problems. Most of these problems were attributed to owners defaulting on creditors and outstanding payroll entitlements to players and other employees.[3] In 1981, Commissioner Sherwin Fischer promised that the Minnesota Fillies players would receive their entitlements. When the Commissioner failed to deliver on this promise, the Fillies walked off the court in Chicago ten minutes before a scheduled game against the Chicago Hustle.[4] Despite a full house at De Paul Alumni Hall, the game was forfeited. The Fillies finished out the final games of the 1980–1981 season with replacement players.[1]

Season-by-season recordsEdit

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Win–Loss %

Season W L % Playoffs Results
Minnesota Fillies
1978-79 17 17 .500
1979-80 22 12 .647 Won quarterfinals
Lost semi-finals
2–1 New Orleans
1–2 Iowa
1980-81 7 28 .200
Totals 46 57 .447
Playoffs 3 3 .500


Julia Yeater was hired to coach the Fillies in 1978. She had been the head coach of the women's basketball team at Western Kentucky University for two seasons, with a record of 45 wins and 17 losses. Yeater reflected that she joined the team because she wanted to see more female head coaches in the newly established WBL.[5] Yeater received her master's degree from University of Kansas.[6]

Women also played in the Semi Pro League sponsored by Steve and Dave Winfield, professional baseball players. These women included Janelle D. Gibson, who was studying at Minneapolis Community College at the time, and Kathy Burks, a 19-year-old attending the University of Minnesota.

The president and general manager of the team was J. Gordon Nevers.[6]


  1. ^ a b Hugunin, Marc (2006). Minnesota Hoops: Basketball in the North Star State. United States: Minnesota Historical Society. p. 280. ISBN 9780873515740.
  2. ^ Rippel, Joel A (2006). Minnesota Sports Almanac: 125 Glorious Years. United States: Minnesota Historical Society. pp. 384. ISBN 9780873515580.
  3. ^ "Women's Professional Basketball League (1978-1981) • Fun While It Lasted".
  4. ^ Porter, Karra (2006). Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women's Professional Basketball League, 1978-1981. United States: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 352. ISBN 9780803287891.
  5. ^ "Minnesota Fillies". milkeespress.com. Retrieved 2016-01-21.
  6. ^ a b Minnesota Fillies 1978-1979 Season Yearbook