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The 17 Best Women’s Basketball Books of All Time

September 26, 2020

The best women’s basketball books provide a behind-the-scenes look into how the game has evolved. They also reveal inspiring ways to triumph over adversity. Plus, provide specific tactics for getting better as a player and person, every day.

From a look at the start of the WNBA, to the complete life stories of some of the most storied WNBA players (such as Elena Delle Donne), coaches (like Pat Summitt), and teams (such as the Gamecocks), we’ve pulled together a special selection to help you find your next great read.

We’ve gone beyond on the popular titles you’ve already heard of, and delved deep into this amazing game with surprising picks. Discover the rivalries of top colleges, high-profile players’ autobiographies, kids books, and even books to improve your own game — all perfect for enjoying yourself or gifting to a friend or family member.

Discover the best women’s basketball books in 2020

Reading is one of the greatest ways to unlock your imagination and expand your definition of all you can achieve in life. Women’s basketball books uncover fascinating stories about some of the most epic sports moments of all time. Check out a few of our favorites.

See the best women’s basketball books to improve your game

Up next, here are some awesome women’s basketball books to help you improve your own basketball skills. Discover the most effective reads for honing your offense, defense, and mindset.

1. The Women’s Basketball Drill Book by Women’s Basketball Coaches Association

This book is ultimate drill collection from basketball’s best to help you develop new skills or fine-tune your game. Discover Tennessee’s Pat Summitt and Texas’ Jody Conradt favorite drills that led to 1,800 victories! Fellow NCAA National Championship head coaches Nancy Fahey and Brenda Frese, combine with 40 other legendary minds, to bring you nearly 200 game-winning strategies.

The Women’s Basketball Drill Book covers drills in a way that less experienced coaches and players can understand and implement. Yet it promotes the fundamental techniques needed to succeed at even the highest levels of play. Part I contains training and conditioning drills; Part II contains offensive drills; and Part III has defensive drills. In this book you’ll discover:

  • Tips for warming up, conditioning, and footwork
  • Effective drills for ball handling, passing, shooting
  • The best ways to set screens, rebound, and defend
  • Perimeter play, post play, and transition play insights
  • Drills to develop new skills or fine-tune your game
  • A drill finder, which is really useful if you want a drill to practice a certain skill

Whether you’re a coach or player, aspiring young hopeful or experienced team leader, you’ll love this resource. It will provide you with the best drills for all aspects of the game.

Get the Women’s Basketball Drill Book here.

2. Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim Grover

“Everything is impossible, until someone does it.” says legendary trainer Tim Grover. For more than two decades, this man has taken the greats and made them better. His success stories include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and hundreds of relentless competitors in sports and business. In this book, he reveals what it takes to achieve total mental and physical dominance to achieve whatever you desire.

Relentless is a direct, blunt, and brutally honest take from Grover. In it he breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable. You keep going when everyone else is giving up; thrive under pressure; never let your emotions make you weak. Grover gives you the same advice he gives his world-class clients such as “don’t think”. In “The Relentless 13,” he details the essential traits shared by achievers. In this book you’ll discover:

  • Ways to trust your instincts and get in the zone
  • Ideas for controlling and adapting to any situation
  • How to find your opponent’s weaknesses and attack
  • The mentality of great basketball players and their daily rituals
  • Previously untold stories and unparalleled insight into the psyches of the most successful and accomplished athletes of our time

As a result, this book is perfect for people who want to perform at top levels.

Get Relentless here.

Read the best women’s basketball books about high-profile players & coaches

Hear from some of the top names in the league. Join along as these incredible women reveal their own stories their way, with this curated selection of the best women’s basketball books.

3. They Better Call Me Sugar: My Journey from the Hood to the Hardwood by Sugar Rodgers

In her new book Sugar Rodgers, a professional basketball player currently playing in the WNBA for the Las Vegas Aces, shares her inspiring story of overcoming tremendous odds to become an all-star in the WNBA.

They Better Call Me Sugar reveals how she grew up in dire poverty in Suffolk, Virginia. While academics wasn’t a high priority for Sugar and many of her friends, athletics always played a prominent role. She mastered her three-point shot on a net her brother put up just outside their home, eventually becoming so good that she could hustle local drug dealers out of money in one-on-one contests. Inside you’ll discover:

  • How her mother’s death when she was fourteen, left Sugar essentially homeless
  • Her high school basketball team performance which led to her recruitment by the Georgetown Hoyas
  • Her experience with the WNBA Draft in 2013, when she was selected by the Minnesota Lynx (who won the WNBA Finals in Sugar’s first year)
  • Her struggles both academically and as well as athletically

Everyone will find hope and inspiration in this story, especially those growing up in economically challenging conditions.

Get They Better Call Me Sugar here.

4. Catch a Star: Shining through Adversity to Become a Champion by Tamika Catchings

This book is an awesome opportunity to learn from one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all-time. Tamika guides readers through her life, beginning as a child with a hearing problem, to becoming a world class athlete and human being.

Catch a Star tells Tamika’s story of overcoming. When all she wanted was to fit in, Tamika Catchings never imagined one day she’d stand out. Catchings faced being set apart by her hearing loss, separation from family, living up to high expectations, and the pain and discouragement of debilitating physical injuries. Yet she reached for the stars with hard work, perseverance, and her faith in God. Inside you’ll discover:

  • How she led the Indiana Fever to its first championship
  • What she did to get named to the WNBA’s All Decade Team
  • The work that went into earning four Olympic gold medals
  • How she founded the Catch the Stars Foundation to help young people achieve their dreams

Any basketball fan will feel encouraged to face their doubts and fears, and reach for their own stars, after this fascinating read.

Get Catch a Star here.

5. My Shot: Balancing It All and Standing Tall by Elena Delle Donne

This book is a great opportunity to learn from one of the most respected and dominant players in the women’s game. Today, Elena Delle Donne has been named the 2015 and 2019 WNBA MVP, earned six WNBA All-Star honors, and was named to the All-WNBA First Team four times. She is also the first WNBA player to join the 50-40-90 club (a group of elite sharp shooters comprised of only eight other NBA players), an Olympic gold medalist, and the WNBA scoring champion in 2015.

In My Shot, Elena reveals how she’s overcome the challenges of competitive sports through balancing hard work and the support of a loving family, and by forging her own path. During her first year of college, she walked away from a scholarship and chance to play for Geno Aurriema at UConn—the most prestigious women’s college basketball program—so she could stay in her home state of Delaware and be close to her older sister, Lizzie. Inside you’ll discover:

  • A look into what a young girl can be subjected to unintentionally by fans of the game
  • What caused her to leave a prestigious school and end up at a much smaller school closer to home
  • How she led the University of Delaware to success
  • What it was like to play for the Chicago Sky with Sylvia Fowles
  • The many obstacles she’s overcome such as burn-out, Lyme disease, Mono, suicide and even a coming out

Elena’s story is relatable for any woman who has played sports. It is an especially good book for parents who have girls struggling because they are “different”!

Get My Shot here.

6. Sum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective by Pat Summitt 

Get motivated to be a better player, worker, colleague, and friend, by Pat’s ideas on what it takes to be a champion. Pat Summitt was only 21 when she became head coach of the Tennessee Vols women’s basketball team, where she coached Candace Parker, among many other greats.

For 38 years, she broke records, winning more games than any NCAA team in basketball history. She coached an undefeated season, co-captained the first women’s Olympic team, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year. Pat’s life took a shocking turn in 2011, when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Yet despite it all, she led the Vols to win their sixteenth SEC championship in March 2012.

In Sum It Up, Pat tells her remarkable story of victory and resilience as well as facing down her greatest challenge: early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Inside this book you’ll discover:

  • Insight into her early life, and how Pat owed her coaching success to her personal struggles and triumphs
  • She has a tough love approach and learned to be tough from her strict, demanding father
  • Motherhood taught her to balance that rigidity with communication and kindness
  • She was a role model for the many women she coached; 74 of her players have become coaches and her players maintained a 100% graduation rate
  • A pioneer to promote women’s basketball in the early days of Title IX, Coach Summitt fought that her players should have the same treatment as their male counterparts
  • An understanding of how someone with so much drive would face such a looming barrier as Alzheimers

“How to sum it up? Perhaps with the realization that makes me happiest: my Tennessee legacy is not some flat, dry record on a piece of paper, but a beautiful tree with living branches.” writes Summitt. This book is part of a huge legacy that every basketball fan needs to know about.

Get Sum It Up here.

7. Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You by Lisa Leslie

Lisa Leslie is a three-time Olympian who led the U.S. team in scoring during the 2004 Olympic Games. She’s also a three-time MVP of the WNBA, and two-time world champion with the Los Angeles Sparks. In short, she’s one of the most iconic women’s basketball players of all time.

In Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You, Lisa shares how she triumphed over adversity to become a world-famous athlete known for her poise, beauty, and tough play. Even if you’re not an LA Sparks fan, you have to give Lisa the credit for the way she’s blazed the trail for all the young talents we see today. Inside this book you’ll discover:

  • A better view of Lisa as a person and her life story
  • What Lisa endured as an athlete
  • How she achieved such high levels of performance
  • Her unbridled insight into her life, her beliefs, and her career

We truly enjoyed the book and recommend it to any WNBA or basketball fan.

Get Don’t Let The Lipstick Fool You here.

8. In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court by Brittney Griner

Get great insights into Brittney Griner, college basketball, and the WNBA. Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, is a once-in-a-generation player, possessing a combination of size and athleticism never before seen in the women’s game. But “the sport’s most transformative figure” (Sports Illustrated) is equally famous for making headlines off the court, for speaking out on issues of gender, sexuality, body image and self-esteem.

In In My Skin, Brittney Griner, the dunking phenom, shares how she found her strength to overcome bullies and to embrace her authentic self. You don’t have to agree with her choices all the time, but you have to admire how she has managed to survive a very difficult life both on and off the court. Inside this book you’ll discover:

  • Ways she dealt with the years of taunting that began in middle school and continues to this day because of her 6’8” height, 88-inch wingspan, and a size 17 men’s shoe
  • How she came to celebrate what makes her unique—and how you can apply those same lessons
  • Incidents that happened while she was at Baylor, including the infamous loss to Louisville during the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2013
  • Her relationship with Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey; there’s a big misconception that their falling out was the result of the Louisville game but actually the main source of tension was Griner’s refusal to remain closeted once she was done with Baylor basketball

Women’s basketball fans and readers curious about Brittney (or even haters!) should read this book. It’s a really quick, easy read. 

Get In My Skin here.

9. The Sixth Man by Andre Iguodala

While this standout memoir from Andre Iguodala is written by an NBA player, it’s a great look into the business of basketball. And gives an invaluable peak at how all the players have to deal with the media. Iguodala is one of the most admired players in the NBA, and off the court he has earned respect, too—for his successful tech investments, his philanthropy, and increasingly for his contributions to the conversation about race.

The Sixth Man traces Andre’s journey from childhood in his Illinois hometown to his Bay Area home court today. On drive, on leadership, on pain, on accomplishment, on the shame of being given a role, and the glory of taking a role on: This is a powerful memoir of life and basketball that reveals new depths to the superstar athlete, and American society today. Inside you’ll discover:

  • His experience of the conflict and racial tension always at hand in a professional league made up largely of African American men
  • Insights into whether and why the athlete owes the total sacrifice of his body
  • The relationship between competition and brotherhood among the players of one of history’s most glorious championship teams
  • And what motivates an athlete to keep striving for more once they’ve already achieved the highest level of play they could have dreamed

This book is a great read for both fans and players of the game, taking you behind the scenes into aspects of the sport you probably don’t consider enough.

Get The Sixth Man here.

Explore the best basketball books for kids

Inspire young girls everywhere with these awesome women’s basketball books for young readers.

10. The Middle School Rules of Skylar Diggins By Sean Jensen

Skylar Diggins is a basketball phenomenon, getting her first letter of interest from a college coach in fifth grade. She is an icon: signing as the first female client of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports. She’s also a four-time All-American, a two-time All Star Starter, WNBA’s 2014 Most Improved Player, and was Named to WNBA’s 2014 First Team.

The Middle School Rules of Skylar Diggins features Skylar’s defining childhood stories and lessons about growing up in a diverse middle-class family. Young readers will learn how Skylar dealt with bullying, struggled to fit in at school, and figured out how to excel in basketball despite never being the tallest, strongest, or fastest player. Inside you’ll discover:

  • Personal anecdotes that helped her become the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year and one of the most decorated collegiate basketball players
  • How she played football and basketball growing up, and what else impacted her during her early years
  • What led her to decide to go to Notre Dame, where she earned the distinction as one of just six NCAA Division 1 players to compile 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, and 300 steals

Any kids of any age that like sports should read this book. In fact, this whole series is well written, clean, and positive.

Get The Middle School Rules here.

11. Teresa Weatherspoon’s Basketball for Girls by Teresa Weatherspoon

Two-time Olympian, two-time winner of the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award, and professional star, Teresa Weatherspoon shares all of her basketball secrets. In this fun and informative book, you’ll get the inside scoop on passing, dribbling, defending, shooting, and all the rules of the game.

Basketball for Girls shares why Spoon believes that unselfishness, hard work, and a positive attitude are as valuable as technical skill. Furthermore, what makes it fascinating are the set-off pieces by Weatherspoon that give an insight into her character. Inside you’ll discover:

  • Instruction and advice, stressing teamwork and encouraging girls to have fun playing the game
  • Exercises for pregame stretches to off-season conditioning
  • Tons of black-and-white action photographs for each exercise, drill, or play under discussion
  • Stories about her family and the sport that she loves, while emphasizing that she has bad days on the court and that every mistake should teach a lesson

This book is aimed at teaching younger players (girls in Grade 5 and up), but has good fundamental advice for players of any age (or gender, for that matter). And it’s an excellent resource for sports collections.

Get Basketball for Girls here.

12. Maya Moore: Basketball Star (Women Sports Stars) by Lori Mortensen

Join along for a fun, early elementary biography of former UConn women’s basketball legend Maya Moore. Maya is one of the country’s best female athletes. Just this year she made her first appearance on Time’s Most Influential People list in the “Pioneers” section. Also, she was the first overall selection in the 2011 WNBA Draft. And, Maya led the Minnesota Lynx to four WNBA titles in her eight seasons. In addition, she won numerous individual awards, including league MVP in 2014. 

Maya Moore the book, provides the inside scoop on her NCAA and WNBA championship wins. Inside you’ll discover:

  • Insights into her childhood
  • The challenges she has overcome
  • Her greatest accomplishments

Discover a story of perseverance and dedication paying off, that will inspire your younger ones.

Get Maya Moore here.

See the best basketball books for the history of the sport and the WNBA

Take a walk down memory lane with some of the best women’s basketball books that reveal the history of the sport. From the nine-year rise of the Gamecocks to the birth of the WNBA, there’s something for every fan and player reader.

13. Bird at the Buzzer: UConn, Notre Dame, and a Women’s Basketball Classic by Jeff Goldberg

As a player and a fan knowing the history of the sport help you to appreciate where the top teams are today. This book takes you behind the scenes into one of women’s basketball powerhouse UConn’s most impactful games ever: the Big East Tournament championship game on March 6, 2001.

Bird at the Buzzer shares a detailed account of the games (catching the real stuff and painting it intriguingly) that led up to—and beyond—the tournament finale. Neither team led by more than eight points at any point during the game. And the match featured five future Olympians and eight first-round WNBA selections. Then, it ended with UConn’s Sue Bird hit a twelve-foot pull-up jumper at the buzzer over national player of the year Ruth Riley. Inside this book you’ll discover:

  • Profiles of the two coaches, UConn’s Geno Auriemma (you’ll love his hilarious insights) and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw;
  • Close-ups of the players (including a younger Sue Bird, and a funny, quippy Diana Taurasi) who made the year so memorable;
  • The moment-by-moment realities of college athletics that made this season a snapshot of sports at its finest (such as Shea Ralph’s in-game injury!);
  • And an in-depth recap of the game worthy of being designated ESPN’s first-ever women’s basketball “Instant Classic.” 

Rabid UConn fans will find a careful preservation of their favorite memories, and even non-UConn fans will find the treatment fair.

Get Bird at the Buzzer here.

14. Here We Go!: Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks and the Road to the Championship by David Cloninger

This is one of the greatest college basketball Cinderella stories of all time. When you understand what worked for Coach Dawn Stanley, you can apply it to the way you think about the game. Basically, she single-handedly dramatically changed the Gamecocks’ women’s basketball team over nine years, culminating in the 2017 national championship.

In Here We Go!, author David Cloninger gives you a detailed look at how the team was built and how their championship season was played, with insights from players, coaches, and industry experts. Beginning from May 10, 2008, when Dawn Stanley stood at a podium and promised to bring national prominence to South Carolina. At that point in time, most thought it would take a miracle. In this book you’ll learn about:

  • The early resistance Dawn encountered, and how she overcame it.
  • See how building on several winning seasons led to stronger recruits.
  • And, finally, discover what it took to earn the only prize she hadn’t yet achieved.

Get Here We Go! here.

15. Playbook for Success: A Hall of Famer’s Business Tactics for Teamwork and Leadership by Nancy Lieberman

There should be more cross-over, in terms of knowledge sharing and support, for women in sport and women in business. Both are blazing new trails, while encountering similar resistance. And this book helps bridge that gap.

No matter what your goal is, whether it’s to succeed in the corporate world or coach your own winning team, this book reveals an inspirational road map to compete and win. In Playbook for Success, Hall of Fame Business Entrepreneur Nancy Lieberman brings her leadership and coaching ability to teach professional women the same rules of success she teaches her players.

This book is a plan to help make success part of your daily routine and teach women that success is not just a title or corner office, but an attitude, belief, and way of life. Inside you’ll discover:

  • A simple playbook (and basketball analogies!) of the top sports-related skills women need to thrive in the corporate world
  • Profiles of women succeeding in business, ways to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, and exercises that can be used in the business world
  • A foreword by Basketball Hall of Famer and business legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson

Get it for all the people into basketball in your life. And also get it if you are interested in a great read, and want to understand Nancy Lieberman and her tactics.

Get Playbook for Success here.

16. WNBA: A Celebration : Commemorating the Birth of a League by Kelly Whiteside

It’s easier to know where women’s basketball is headed, if you know where it’s been. So go back in time to the smash-hit debut year for the WNBA: the most successful by a league in professional sports history.

WNBA: A Celebration presents a must-have pictorial look at the league, from the first moment it was announced to the championship game. Despite all the clamoring that “nobody watches the WNBA“, that was simply untrue, even back at its start, as more than 50 million fans turned in to watch games on NBC, ESPN, and Lifetime. The league averaged nearly 10,000 fans per game after projecting only 4,500 before the season began. Inside you’ll discover:

  • Stories about the players, league officials, and coaches describing the thrill of the most successful first-year league in the history of professional sports
  • A gallery of behind-the-scenes photos featuring some of the best players of all time
  • And a compelling insider glimpse at the competitive aspects of the league

The ultimate collectible, packed with lively anecdotes and the fascinating history of the league, this book is perfect for sports fans of all ages.

Get WNBA: A Celebration here.

17. Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty by Jeff Pearlman

OK, OK, we know this isn’t written about the women’s game. But, it’s about one of the most storied trifectas in the history of basketball. And we can all learn so much from how the top players in the game play and think about basketball. Plus, because of Kobe’s relationship with his daughter Gianna Bryant, he was an integral part in raising the WNBA’s profile in recent years.

Three-Ring Circus covers the story of the Lakers dynasty from 1996 through 2004. During this time Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal combined—and collided—to help bring the Lakers three straight championships and restore the franchise as a powerhouse.

There have never been two high-level teammates who loathed each other the way Shaquille O’Neal loathed Kobe Bryant, and vice versa. From public sniping and sparring, to physical altercations and the repeated threats of trade, it was warfare. Inside you’ll discover:

  • All the big names are here, including an egotistical, widely-disliked by teammates Kobe Bryant, larger than life in every way Shaquille O’Neal, who often couldn’t stand Kobe, and Phil Jackson, the “Zen Master” who had to get two massive egos to co-exist.
  • Insights from the role players and the extras, who provide meaty material such as Samaki Walker nearly punching Kobe in the face, and Mark Madsen’s unique perspective from the bench
  • How despite eight years of infighting and hostility, by turns mediated and encouraged by coach Phil Jackson, the Shaq-Kobe duo resulted in one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history 

This is a great book for any basketball fan that wants to know more about the personalities and politics of the game.

Get Three-Ring Circus here.

Read the best women’s basketball books!

Now you know the best women’s basketball books to add to your reading list. Get insights from players, coaches, and historians, to fine tune your game or learn more about the sport you love. Also, when you purchase books from the links in this post, you help support our website’s reporting, because Amazon sends a few cents from each purchase back our way. Thank you so much!

Up next, learn more about one of the newest women making an impact on the game, Sabrina Ionescu.

Written by Megan Mitzel, youth basketball coach, and Founder of Queen Ballers Club.

Would you be willing to send a $5 tip to our Venmo tip jar because it helps support this site and our reporting? @megsterr.

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