PHILADELPHIA -- Sandhi Ortiz-DelValle became the first woman in history to officiate a men's professional basketball game Monday night when she called the Philadelphia Spirits' 110-104 victory over the New Haven Skyhawks in a United States Basketball League game at Holy Family College.
'I officiate because I love the game and while I don't know if I'm breaking down doors or opening minds, I do want to be recognized as a qualified referee first and not just because I'm a female,' said the 40-year-old Ortiz-DelValle, whose whistle and jersey from the historic game were requested for display by the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
An official in the Greater New York and Los Angeles Pro-Am Leagues since 1984, Ortiz-DelValle officiated the Pro-Am National Championship game this year prior to becoming a USBL official.
USBL Chief of Referees Terry Fiorito scouted Ortiz-DelValle in a Pro- Am game and subsequently offered her a position on the USBL staff.
Pro-Am summer leagues are the circuit traveled by prospective NBA officials who hope to reach the next level.
Ortiz-DelValle will coach her second USBL game between New Haven and the Long Island Surf at the University of New Haven Thursday night.