Hall of Fame Inductee
Gail Henderson’s basketball playing prowess led her into Queensland junior and senior representative teams, representing Australia as an Opal and playing the greatest number of games played by a Queenslander in the Women’s National Basketball League, but prior to that she was one of Queensland’s most outstanding athletes, being both state shot-put champion and discus champion.
Gail Henderson represented Metropolitan Zone at Queensland senior women’s state championships from 1976 until the championships were discontinued in the mid-1980s. In 1978, the excellence of Gail’s play at this level resulted in her being identified as a member of the newly created Queensland Basketball’s All-Star First Five.
Gail represented Queensland at four senior women’s Australian Championships: 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1983 in Adelaide where Queensland won the silver medal, runners-up to Victoria. This was the only male or female senior Australian championship at which Queensland made the final.
In late December 1979 and January 1979, Gail was also a member of the first overseas playing tour undertaken by a senior women’s Queensland representative team, travelling to Canada and Hawaii. During the tour, Gail Henderson was the team’s top rebounder and the team’s top scorer, scoring 116 points at an average of 11.6.per game.
Either representing Mayne (1979), Brisbane (1984) or the Brisbane Bullets (1986 and 1990) Gail Henderson also represented Queensland teams at the Australian Women’s Club Championships, which showcased the best women’s basketball clubs in the country.
Gail earned her place as a member of the Opals squad from 1982 until 1985. Her 18-game career included winning the bronze medal in the R. William Jones Cup in 1982 in Taiwan, playing against China in their 1982 tour of Australia and winning the gold medal after an undefeated tournament in the 1983 Commonwealth Championships.
In 1982, Gail Henderson was a foundation member of the Brisbane Lady Bullets in the Women’s National Basketball League which had been inaugurated the previous year. Gail played for Brisbane (renamed the Brisbane Blazers in 1991) in the WNBL for 11 years until 1992, playing 195 games for the Lady Bullets / Blazers, more than any other player in the team’s history.
From 1993 until 1998 Gail played for Sydney in the WNBL helping Sydney to win the title in 1993 and 1997. During her 17 years in the league, Gail played 293 WNBL games. At the time of her retirement from playing, this was one of the highest numbers of games played by an individual Queensland player in the WNBL.
Gail Henderson’s extraordinary contributions as an Opal, as a player within the Women’s National Basketball League and as a state representative player at senior Australian championships were exceptional. She is a most worthy inductee to the Queensland Basketball Hall of Fame.