Since its program started in 1977 with the first class of females on campus, St. Thomas has been synonymous with women’s basketball excellence both on the conference and national scene.
An early highlight came in 1991 when the Tommies won the NCAA Division III national championship under then Coach Ted Riverso. That was the first of six Final Four trips for St. Thomas, which also placed third nationally in 1995, 1996, 2000, 2012 and 2017.
In fact, St. Thomas is among a select group of NCAA basketball programs (all levels, both genders) to have three different head coaches qualify teams to a Final Four. The Toms also have received more than 20 All-America honors.
St. Thomas posted the best record in Division III women’s hoops during the 1990s. UST ranks near the top again over the last nine seasons, with an overall record of 223-44 (.835).
St. Thomas women’s basketball has won 19 or more games in 29 of the last 37 seasons. That includes a 68-33 postseason record. From 1990-92, led by an NCAA champion team, Tommie women's hoops won 40 consecutive games, including the first 27 of 1991-92. The Tommies' all-time NCAA tournament record is 51-25 in 25 appearances since 1984.
St. Thomas has played in the postseason in 30 of the last 31 years. The Toms have a 23-9 all-time record in the conference postseason playoffs, which began in 2001.
St. Thomas won either the regular-season or playoff title in the MIAC in each of the last eight seasons. The Toms won the MIAC playoff title as the No. 5 seed in 2009-10, the 2012-13 playoff championship as the No. 2 seed, and took 2014’s championship as the third seed. UST won the conference regular-season championships in 2010-11, 2011-12. The Tommies won both the regular-season and the playoff title each of thr last four seasons. The 2017-18 senior class finished 114-9 for the best four-year record in program history.
St. Thomas has won 17 of a possible 36 MIAC regular-season championships in women's hoops, which breaks the record for the most by a conference institution. The Toms are 174-16 against conference opponents since January 2010. Over the last 37 seasons, St. Thomas has posted 31 top-three MIAC finishes.
Former Tommie player Ruth Opatz Sinn was hired as head coach in May 2005. In her 13 seasons as coach, the Tommies have won eight MIAC regular-season championships and eight MIAC playoff championships. They have also played in nine NCAA Tournaments, making it to the Final Four in 2012 and 2017, where they finished third in the nation each time.
The 2011-12 St. Thomas team won 30 consecutive games, including a 24-0 slate against MIAC opponents, and set a school record for most victories in a season with 31. The 31 victories were the most by any conference basketball team in the last 30 seasons. Maggie Weiers was selected to the Final Four All-Tournament team and Taylor Young made All-America. The 2016-17 team started 31-0 -- another first in MIAC men's or women's history.
As a first-year starter as a junior in 2017-18, center Hannah Spaulding made the 10-player first-team All-America team.
Senior Kaitlin Langer was named National Player of the Year in 2016-17 after leading her team to a 57-5 record in her two seasons as a starter.
Tommie Laurie Trow was the 1993 National Player of the Year. Trow is the only basketball player in NCAA history to score in double figures in every game in her career (113 games). During her tenure at St. Thomas, UST won 43 consecutive home games and also had a then-Division III record 40-game win streak.
From January 1995-Febuary 2005, St. Thomas went 193-43 against MIAC opponents and 115-22 in home games.
The 1999-2000 Tommies became the first MIAC basketball team to finish 22-0. The squad went on to post a 28-2 overall mark and took third place in the national tournament. Molly Hayden was selected a Kodak Division III All-American.
The 2000-01 Tommies came back to repeat as conference champions and reached the NCAA round of 16. In 2001-02, St. Thomas shared the MIAC championship and finished 21-5.
Guard Missy Pederson was selected as a Kodak All-American in 2000-01 and 2001-02. Pederson broke a 15-year-old record NCAA Division III record for career free-throw percentage as she converted 300-of-358 foul shots in her four seasons for a .8379 clip. Pederson became the first MIAC women's player to surpass 1,500 points, 300 assists and 300 steals.
In a 12-year span from 1991-2002, UST had 10 Kodak All-Americans and had the conference Player of the Year nine times.
The Tommies also boast an outstanding academic record and are regularly listed in the top-50 nationally.
They play games in the 1,800-seat Schoenecker Arena in the state-of-the-art Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on campus. They face a challenging schedule to prepare for NCAA tournament play, and take an annual trip to locations like California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado or Boston. Approximately 25 players try out for the varsity and junior-varsity teams.