HBO Sports and Bill Simmons’ Ringer Films have partnered with Triple Threat TV to debut the documentary film WOMEN OF TROY, an illuminating tale of the historic and transcendent USC women’s basketball team of the 1980s, it was announced today by Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports.
Directed by acclaimed feature-film director Alison Ellwood (“History of the Eagles,” “American Jihad”) and produced by Gary Cohen of Triple Threat TV, the film explores how the Cheryl Miller-led Trojans changed women’s basketball forever with their up-tempo style and superior athleticism en route to winning consecutive national championships, and ultimately influencing the establishment of the WNBA. WOMEN OF TROY debuts TUESDAY, MARCH 10 (9:00–10:00 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO, as the world of college basketball prepares to tip-off the whirlwind frenzy of the NCAA’s “March Madness.”
The documentary will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners’ streaming platforms.
“Women’s basketball has evolved from a sport to a movement over the past few decades,” says Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports. “Cheryl Miller and her team at USC played a significant role in the rise of women’s basketball, and their landmark contribution merits recognition and deeper reflection. We are excited that filmmaker Alison Elwood chose to direct this illuminating film.”
At a time when Title IX’s impact on women’s sports was first emerging, the Women of Troy arrived at USC. Their remarkable skills, fierce competitiveness and ability to overcome adversity both on and off the court led them to national prominence, two national titles and a visit to Ronald Reagan’s White House — the first collegiate women’s team to ever do so. Cheryl Miller, Pam McGee, Paula McGee, Cynthia Cooper, Juliette Robinson, and Rhonda Windham, along with head coach Linda Sharp, took to the court with a level of skill and confidence that brought their sport into the mainstream and the eventual development of the WNBA.
“I’m always drawn to stories about pioneers and this is a quintessential example,” says Bill Simmons, founder of Ringer Films. “The impact of Cheryl’s USC teams was on par with what Julius Erving did with the ABA — they took a sport that wasn’t on the map, reinvented in and paved the way for all the successes that women’s college basketball is enjoying now. And Cheryl was just iconic. I’m so excited that she finally gets her just due in this film.”
“These women were trailblazers whose talent and charisma created new possibilities for women in basketball and in countless other pursuits,” says Alison Ellwood, director of Women of Troy. “Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper and their teammates left the game of the past behind and created the game we know and love today.”
Through first-person interviews and archival film footage and photographs, the special pivots on the 1983 championship showdown between the upstart Trojans against then-reigning champion Louisiana Tech, and explores how this transformative moment in sports history has forever impacted the lives of the participants and shaped generations to come. More than thirty years later, the Women of Troy, some as professional basketball players in the WNBA, reflect on their remarkable accomplishments and the magical journey each of them took.
At the heart of the story is Miller, often called the greatest player in the history of the women’s game, and whose name is embroidered on the award given each year to the top small forward in women’s college basketball. Two NCAA championship titles, an Olympic gold medal, a broadcasting career at Turner Sports, and head coaching stints at her alma mater and the Phoenix Mercury are just part of her illustrious resume.
Interviews include USC all-time greats Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper, Paula and Pam McGee, Trojan standouts Juliette Robinson and Rhonda Windham; USC coaches Linda Sharp and Fred Williams; renowned ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke; women’s coaching legends Sonja Hogg, Geno Auriemma and Kim Mulkey; Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman; legendary players Candace Parker and Rebecca Lobo; journalist Jackie MacMullan; plus UCLA all-time greats and Basketball Hall of Fame inductees Ann Meyers and Reggie Miller. Both McGee sisters, Miller and Cooper had their uniform numbers retired by USC.
Women of Troy is an HBO Sports presentation of a Triple Threat TV production in association with Ringer Films. Simmons’ first feature-length documentary project with HBO was the acclaimed 2018 biography on wrestling icon Andre the Giant that generated the highest viewership ever for an HBO Sports documentary. The executive producers of WOMEN OF TROY are Bill Simmons, Peter Nelson and Rick Bernstein; produced by Gary Cohen, Matt McDonald and Branson Wright; directed by Alison Ellwood; edited by Ross Hockrow; music composed by Wendy Blackstone.