Flying Queen

1972-75

Brenda Moeller Niebuhr

I’m Brenda Moeller Niebuhr and I played on the Queens from 1972-1975. I grew up on a dairy farm in Iowa, the youngest of four children.  We were all a hard working bunch with everyone contributing to the running of the farm.

I decided to go to Wayland after my freshman year of college. I was at a tryout camp for the World University Games and met many players. I had considered Wayland out of high school, but my parents thought it was too far away.  I had only been out of Iowa twice in my life and had never been in a plane. I attended Parsons College my freshman year and played against the Queens and was very impressed. The Queens had so much tradition. They were truly a class act.

I arrived two weeks after classes had started because of the tryouts. The campus was nice and everyone was very accepting of me being there.  I had never seen the campus before.  Going to Dr. McCoy’s Calculus class my first day was quite intimidating.  She told me I could not go on the first road trip because I would miss class. She made me make up time in her office when we traveled.

Going to Wayland and playing basketball there was a true highlight of my life. My teammates were great, and traveling in the three planes, and experiencing the culture of Texas was all a bonus. Coach Redin and the Hutcherson’s were tremendous and we were a family. We were expected to present ourselves well on campus and when we were out in the community. I was involved in one scary incident when we had to make an emergency landing and I cranked the landing gear down by hand.

Some highlights of my basketball career at Wayland include, winning the National AAU Tournament twice and being named AAU All-American twice. Winning the National Women’s Invitational three times and being named to the NWIT All- Collegiate American team three times. Winning the Gold Coast Classic three times and being named to All Tournament team three times, once as the MVP. In 1975, I was named to the first Kodak All-American team and I was a Street & Smith Pre-season All-American that same year. In my sophomore year, I played for Coach Redin and the next two years for Coach Weese. In my two years under coach Weese we won the Southwest Regional AIAW Champions and qualified for the AIAW National Tournament twice. We had a good chance of winning that tournament in 1973-74 but entered our first game without Carolyn Bush who was injured in the NWIT Tournament. We were upset in round one by three points by Indiana and had to settle for consolation. Immaculata took home its 3rd AIAW crown. In 1974-75 we had an even better chance of winning the National AIAW tournament. Our regular season schedule included teams like UCLA and University of Texas and we finished the season 34-1. Our only loss was in the second round of the National AIAW Tournament. Though Immaculata won the game, we basically beat ourselves with mistakes. Immaculata lost to Delta State in finals of the tournament.

Another highlight was getting to play international teams. In August of 1973, I, along with my Flying Queen teammate Janice Beach, got to play in the World University Games in Moscow. I also made the 1974 USA All-Star Team. We were coached by Harley Redin and played in several US cities. During the 1973-74 season, the Flying Queens played Mexican National Team twice, a team from the Republic of China once, and the Russian National Team once. We won the first three but the Russians creamed us. The picture I submitted shows the height differential. I am guarding Uleyama Semenova who was 7 feet tall and weighed 245 pounds. The rest of Russia’s starting lineup looked like this: Skirolova, six foot six, 194 pounds; Shukharnova, six four, 198 pounds; OvChinnikova, six two, 170 pounds; Shuvaiva, five seven, 132 pounds. Our tallest player was Carolyn Bush at six foot two.

In life after Wayland, I married Kraig Niebuhr and we had three sons.  Our middle son was killed in a car accident at the age of 16.  A bench in his honor is outside the gym and was donated by Harley and Wilda Redin. I taught high school math in Iowa and Minnesota, taking off 12 years to be home with my kids.  I retired two and a half
years ago.

Not being from the Texas-Oklahoma area I have not seen many of my teammates since graduation. I attended the Wall of Honor ceremony twice, once when I was inducted and also when Caroline Bush was inducted. I am looking forward reading the stories of other Queens.

I would love to reconnect with former Queens and supporters.

Brenda Moeller Niebuhr

Wayland Grad 1975

Flying Queen Forever!