What Are the Positions on a Girls' Basketball Team?

Woman playing basketball

Since the debut of the WNBA in 1997, women’s basketball has grown in popularity by leaps and bounds. This action-packed game is dramatic to watch and requires great athleticism to play. Just like in men’s basketball, there are several types of athletes making up the five starting positions on the court. It is important to understand their individual roles to fully appreciate the game.

Running the Point

Often considered the most demanding to play, the point guard position requires a unique combination of skills. She must excel in dribbling and passing; scoring is the secondary option to assists. She must also have a cool head and a good eye. The point guard is responsible for bringing the ball up the court and directing her offense. She must be patient as everyone gets into position for each play, quick and observant to take advantage of openings and assist in the score.

Shooting Guard

This player is your outside threat that the defense does not want to make the mistake of leaving open. She is tall and an accurate shooter, which makes her dangerous from the outside. She is generally the best shooter on the team and must be able to find scoring opportunities when no one else can. With the importance of the three-point shot in today’s game, her role is essential to getting the win. In addition to being a sharp shooter, she must have excellent ball-handling skills and be great defensively.

Small Forward

Don’t let the name of this key position fool you. While this player is generally a bit smaller in stature than some of her teammates, her role in their success is huge. This player is often the most athletic on the team, larger than the guards but smaller than the other frontcourt players, and is responsible for putting up a great number of points. Her size and speed allows her to move around defenders close to the basket and score on the inside. She must demonstrate overall athleticism that makes her a good ball-handler, passer, defender and shooter.

Power Forward

One of the biggest players on the court in stature, her role in the team’s success is just as large. Players in this position are known for their strength and ability to muscle their way to the basket and come up with the rebound. They must defend the ball and also be a good shooter and passer. Because she is not often the first concern of the defense, she can score a very respectable number of points and can be the difference maker in the game.


This position requires a great deal of height and unique skill. The center is usually the tallest player on the court and spends much of her time under the basket both on the defense and offense. Her main job is to block shots and rebound on defense and go head to head with the other center to score on offense. Since she is the last line of defense for her team when the opponent is attempting to score, her role in their success is unmatched. She must exude strength and confidence under the basket and often act as the centerpiece of the team.