December 26, 2022 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Anita Ortega’s impact and legacy on and off the court 

Natalie and Anita Ortega discuss how she got started playing basketball and her time at UCLA — the San Francisco Pioneers

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Natalie Heavren joining WBL trailblazers and former LAPD captain Anita Ortega to discuss how she got started playing basketball and her time at UCLA and the San Francisco Pioneers.

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Anita Ortega talks about when and why she started playing basketball:

“I was about 14 years old. And at that time, there wasn’t a big push for women to be involved in sports. I know my parents didn’t push it. I didn’t see girls playing basketball or baseball; I just didn’t see much of that. So I grew up in a very, very poor area. And our opportunities were extremely limited, right? I didn’t have access to swimming pools didn’t have that access to tennis courts. And I was just intrigued by basketball. I mean, that was available to me. I thought I had the athleticism to do that and started playing when I was 14. And it’s been the most remarkable thing ever. And I’ve been very blessed.”

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Anita Ortega talks about Title IX and what it means to her:

“Title Nine, it changed my perspective and my mission in life. Title Nine, as we know it and as we talk about it, pretty much leveled the playing field; it gave women an opportunity to get involved in sports, to have the same equipment and the same opportunities as our male counterparts and gave us that recognition that we deserve for so many years and is still growing. We’re moving in the right direction. But this started back in what, 1974? And how long does it take to get it right? So we’re still working in that direction. But it was one of the best thing that ever happened not only to women’s sports, but I think it also impacted other areas of my life as well.”

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

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