Famous female firsts

From Manon Rheaume to Ila Borders to Katie Hnida, these women ventured into the male sports domain and to achieve a feat no woman had before.

• Kelly Kulick, Jan. 23, 2010: First female to win a Professional Bowlers Association tour title (45th Tournament of Champions).

• Lesley Visser, 1976: First female NFL beat writer, covered the New England Patriots for the Boston Globe.

• Manon Rheaume, Sept. 23, 1992: First female to play in an NHL game. She was in goal for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a preseason game against the St. Louis Blues.

• Babe Zaharias, Jan. 7, 1938: First female to play on the PGA Tour in the Los Angeles Open. She shot 81-84 and missed the cut. She gave the tournament another try in 1945. This time she made the cut with scores of 76-81, but failed to qualify for the final round after a 79 in the third.

• Diane Crump, May 2, 1970: First female jockey to ride in the Kentucky Derby aboard Fathom. She finished 15th.

• Julie Krone, 1991, '93: First female jockey to ride in the Belmont (1991) and to win a Triple Crown event -- the 1993 Belmont on 13-1 long shot Colonial Affair.

• Violet Palmer, 1997: First female to officiate an NBA game.

• Sarah Thomas, 2007, '09: First female to referee a major college football game (Football Bowl Subdivision) in a Nov. 17, 2007 game between Memphis and Jackson State. She was also the first female to referee a bowl game in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26, 2009, between Ohio and Marshall.

• Jenny Higgs, 2010: First female chief umpire at Wimbledon.

• Ila Borders, July 24, 1998: First woman to win a men's pro baseball game in Duluth, Minn. She pitched six shutout innings for the minor-league Duluth Dukes in a 3-1 victory over the Sioux Falls Canaries.

• Nancy Lieberman, June 10, 1986: First woman to play men's professional basketball in Springfield, Mass. Five days after playing the second and fourth quarters and scoring 10 points for Springfield in a United States Basketball League exhibition, Lieberman entered the season-opener in the second quarter. She was double-teamed every time she got the ball and did not take a shot.

• Hayley Wickenheiser, Feb. 1, 2003: First woman to score a goal playing on a men's professional hockey team in Helsinki, Finland. A former Canadian Olympian, she played for the Kirkkonummen Salamat team in the Finnish Elite League. She scored on her backhand with 7:37 gone in the first period against Titaanit and picked up her second assist of the season later in the game. She had four shots on goal in just over 13 minutes of ice time and won 13 of 17 face-offs.

• Janet Guthrie, May 29, 1977: First woman to drive in the Indy 500. She finished 29th as a rookie in 1977 because of mechanical problems. She was ninth the next year.

• Shirley Muldowney, Oct. 9, 1977: First woman to win a national drag racing championship in Ontario, Calif. She won the Winston World Points Championship that year and again in 1980 and '82, making her the first driver, man or woman, to win the sport's most prestigious title three times.

• Katie Hnida, Dec. 25, 2002: First woman to play Division I football in the Las Vegas Bowl. Hnida, a walk-on junior kicker for New Mexico, attempted an extra point in a 27-13 loss to UCLA. The kick was blocked.

• Libby Riddles, March 20, 1985: First woman to win the Iditarod dog sled race in Nome, Alaska. She and her 13 dogs left Shaktoolik, plunging into a blizzard no other racer would challenge. She took an insurmountable lead and three days later won.

• Ann Meyers, 1979: First woman to sign and go to training camp with an NBA team, the Indiana Pacers. She did not make the roster.

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