Becky Hammon became the first woman to lead an NBA team after the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Popovich put assistant coach Hammon in charge after he was removed in the second quarter of the Spurs’ 121-107 defeat by the Lakers in Texas.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 26 points on his 36th birthday.
“Obviously it’s a big deal, a substantial moment,” said Hammon, who joined the Spurs in 2014.
“I try not to think of the huge picture and huge aspect of it because it can be overwhelming.”
Former WNBA star Hammon, who was the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff, said she did not know she would take charge if Popovich were to be sent off until he pointed at her and said: “You got ‘em.”
Popovich was thrown out by official Tony Brown after shouting and entering the court when he felt a foul was incorrectly not called.
James scored double figures for a 1,000th consecutive game, extending his own NBA record.
“It’s a beautiful thing just to hear her barking out calls, barking out sets,” said James. “Congratulations to her and congratulations for our league.”