Georgeann Wells

Elkins Inter-Mountain
August 1, 2002

Before Lisa Leslie, There was Wells

First Slam Dunk by a Female was in Elkins

By Joey Kittle
Staff Writer

It was a cold December night back in 1984 when basketball history was made.

It wasn't in front of a jam-packed crowd in Los Angeles or New York, or even inside a gymnasium on a major college campus.

It occurred in Elkins.

The National Guard Armory was the setting for the Mountaineer Christmas Classic. Among the teams competing was West Virginia University, which featured a freshman from Elkins named Alexis Basil.

It was a homecoming for Basil who was a two-time all-stater at Elkins High School and eventually a four-year starter at WVU.

But on this night, one of Basil's teammates stole the show.

Georgeann Wells had came [sic] to Morgantown with a history of being able to dunk a basketball - unheard of in women's basketball at the time.

But with 11:18 remaining in the contest, the Lady Mountaineers' 6-7 center took a full-court pass from Lisa Ribble and went in for a one-handed dunk.

In an instant second, history was made.

"There wasn't a real big crowd there that night," recalled Davis & Elkins College women's basketball coach Jay Dailer. "I remember it was on the far end of the court away from the doors. I think everyone was shocked after she did it."

Dailer, who coached Basil during her career at EHS, said it was exciting to be in the stands for the accomplishment.

"It was pretty cool to see something so historic in person," Dailer said. "I've heard they have a picture of the dunk in the (Naismith) Basketball Hall of Fame, but they have the game being played at Davis & Elkins."

Wells' achievement became a nationwide story. She was mentioned on network television and articles appeared in several publications.

Wells also was inducted into Houston's Phi Slamma Jama dunking fraternity, which includes the likes of Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.

The next dunk by a woman in a college basketball [sic] came in 1994 by North Carolina's Charlotte Smith. Tennessee's Michelle Snow also accomplished the feat three times during her career.

On Tuesday night at the Staples Center, home of the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, Lisa Leslie became the first woman to dunk in a professional game. Leslie's dunk stirred memories of the first dunk, nearly 18 years ago on a gym floor in small-town Elkins, W. Va.