NBA Game Officiated by 2 Female Refs for 2nd Time in League History

Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling and Ashley Moyer-Gleich

Getty The Miami Heat game against the Washington Wizards will be officiated by Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling (L) and Ashley Moyer Gleich on February 5, 2021.

Florida is making history for all the right reasons when it comes to women officiating NBA games this season. For the second time ever in NBA history, two female referees will officiate the same game as the Washington Wizards take on the Miami Heat at the AmericanAirlines Arena on February 5.

Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling and Ashley Moyer-Gleich were revealed as the officiating crew for Friday’s game by Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang via Twitter.

The first time NBA game with two female referees also took place in Florida. On January 25, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder officiated Orlando Magic’s home game against the Charlotte Hornets.

The NBA first started hiring female referees in 1997, but until last month, there has never been a game in which more than one woman was assigned to the same game. The first two full-time female referees were hired by the NBA in 1997 — Violet Palmer and Dee Katner — the latter of whom was fired in 2002. Palmer then served as the NBA’s only female referee for the following 12 seasons.


Holtkamp-Sterling Became the First Mother to Ever Officiate an NBA Game in 2019

GettyNBA official Lauren Holtkamp watches a play during the game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center on February 8, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

Holtkamp-Sterling, 40, who’s married to fellow NBA referee Jonathon Sterling, is a working mom. The couple welcomed a daughter name Stoan in 2019, according to The Oakland Press, which made Holtkamp-Sterling the first mother to officiate an NBA game.

After giving birth, Holtkamp-Sterling told the outlet, “I think in navigating this, what it means to be a married couple who are parents and NBA referees together — together and apart, right? — there’s just such an opportunity to figure it out and be creative.”

“I don’t want to overuse the word innovative, but I really think that is what it’s about … being able to find a path that works,” she continued. “It’s really a privilege to be part of that process and on the front end of it.”

“If you think about what all this means for family planning, that’s a unique challenge,” said Holtkamp-Sterling. “We’re traveling all over the United States and our work happens at night, which creates so many more questions. And as this process, knowing we have the support of our league and our union, goes along we’re just going to keep moving forward and see what happens.”

GettyReferee Ashley Moyer-Gleich #75 officiates the game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Pepsi Center on January 12, 2020 in Denver, Colorado.

Moyer-Gleich, 33, who used to play basketball at Millersville University before earning a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in sports management, is also married to a referee husband, Penn Live reported.


There Have Only Been 7 Full-Time Female Referees In NBA History

GettyGoran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat speaks to referee Ashley Moyer-Gleich #13 after being called for a foul against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first quarter of the home opener at Target Center on October 27, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Making Holtkamp-Sterling and Moyer-Gleich’s ref tandem assignment for the Heat’s matchup on Friday all the more rare, the fact that there are only 5 women currently working as full-time refs in the NBA. According to CBS Sports, there have only been seven full-time female refs throughout the entirety of the NBA’s history.

Holtkamp-Sterling became the league’s third-ever female referee in 2014, NBC Sports reported. Moyer Gleich became the fourth-ever female referee in 2018, according to Penn Live.

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