Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder Make History as First Female NBA Referees to Officiate Same Game

Gabrielle Chung
·2-min read

Fernando Medina/Getty Images (From left to right) Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder

Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder have made NBA history as the first female referees to work on the same court.

Sago, 31, and Schroeder, 35, were two of the three people on the officiating crew that oversaw the game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Orlando Magic on Monday.

Sean Wright rounded out the trio as crew chief, according to referee assignments posted on the NBA website.

Fernando Medina/Getty Images (From left to right) Jenna Schroeder, Sean Wright, Natalie Sago

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Prior to Monday's historic game, Sago had officiated 63 games in two NBA seasons.

She previously officiated four seasons in the NBA G League and three seasons in the WNBA. She also worked the NBA G League International Challenge at NBA All-Star 2018 in Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Schroeder, who started on staff in the 2019-20 season, had refereed 27 regular season games.

In addition, she officiated three seasons in the NBA G League and two seasons in the WNBA.

Jenna Schroeder

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"This is a big deal," Schroeder told ESPN ahead of the game. "It's like my feminist dreams come true, that like my personal values are colliding with my professional values and it's awesome."

"It's so cool," Sago added. "All of us, we're so happy and excited to work together. We just have a good group of females, we're all close, we have great relationships and we share these moments."

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The NBA welcomed its first female referees in 1997, with Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner joining the ranks.

Since then, seven women have worked as full-time NBA referees.

There are currently five women — Sago, Schroeder, Simone Jelks, Lauren Holtkamp-Sterling and Ashley Moyer-Gleich — working full-time as NBA referees, according to the league's 2020-21 officiating staff roster.