Women's basketall was approved as a new women's varsity sport by Florida in March 1972, but began play in 1973 as a club team. In 1975, the Lady Gators debuted as a varsity program under head coach Dr. Paula Welch. The Gators made local headlines in 1976 by winning the "state championship," beating the other three women's college teams located in the state at that time.
While traditionally being overshadowed by conference and national basketball powers Tennessee and Georgia, the Lady Gators have made several NCAA Tournament appearances and sent players to the WNBA, including DeLisha Milton-Jones. The winningest women's basketball coach in Florida's history is Carol Ross, who guided the team for twelve seasons from 1991 to 2003, but left to accept the head coaching job at her alma mater, Ole Miss.
From 2002 through 2006, the women's basketball team was coached by Carolyn Peck, a former WNBA coach who won a national title with Purdue. Peck was fired midway through the 2006 season (though allowed to finish the season) after enduring the worst losing streak of any Gator sport.
Former Gator player and previous Charlotte coach Amanda Butler was named the new women's basketball coach on April 13, 2007. During the 2008–2009 season, the Lady Gators received an NCAA tournament bid, and won a first-round game before being defeated by eventual tournament champion Connecticut in the second round.
The Gators women's basketball team plays its home games in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.