The first woman in the Basketball Hall of Fame is not an Olympic gold medalist. She is not a national champion, or an all-time leading scorer. In fact, she never played at a high level. There was no high level.
Senda Berenson Abbott invented women's basketball. Alright, perhaps "invented" is not the exact word. In writing "The Official Basket Ball Guide For Women", she adapted the rules of basketball to her gender. This was in 1899. The rules pretty much stayed intact for 60 years.
Senda was born with the surname Valvrozhenskaya in what is now Lithuania and immigrated to the US as a young age, where the name got transformed into Berenson. (The "Abbott" part came through marriage, which doesn't seem like an appropriate name for a Jew, but what can one do.) She became a physical education teacher at all-women's Smith College in 1892, and introduced "basket ball" to make exercises more fun for her pupils. With time, she wrote the rules, and women's basketball, based on those rules, slowly started to take off throughout America.
If you look at pictures from those days, you will see women in full-length dresses trying to throw balls into wastebaskets. So, yes, the game has changed... but who knows where it would have been without Berenson.