Women's National Basketball Association
|Country countries||United States|
|Title holder||Washington Mystics (1)|
|Record champions||Houston Comets and Minnesota Lynx (4 each)|
The Women's National Basketball Association ( WNBA ) is the professional basketball league for women in North America that has existed since 1996 and is the name of the sports association (based in New York City ).
The league currently consists of twelve teams, all of which are based in the United States . Of these twelve teams, six each are assigned to the Western and the Eastern Conference . The season winner will be played in the play-offs after a regular season of 34 games. The WNBA is a closed league, there are no promoted and relegated players. New players are distributed to the teams via an annual draft .
In the United States there have been several attempts to set up a successful women's basketball league (the first official women's basketball league in the USA was the WBL), but sooner or later all leagues were dissolved. On April 24, 1996, the WNBA was founded with the help of the National Basketball Association . All of the WNBA's franchises were in cities that already had an NBA team, and they initially belonged to the same owners and used the same venues as these. With the great support of the NBA, there were also great similarities between the logos of the two leagues.
The WNBA began its first season on June 21, 1997. The WNBA's first league game was played in Los Angeles between the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks . Penny Toler scored the first point of the game and thus also of WNBA history. In the first few seasons, the WNBA focused its marketing campaign ("We Got Next") on the stars of the league, such as Rebecca Lobo , Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes . However, only Lobo was able to convince of these players in terms of performance, who led the Liberty into the finals, where they had to admit defeat to the real star of the league, Cynthia Cooper . Due to their good performances, Cooper became more and more the figurehead of the league.
The main competitor of the WNBA was the American Basketball League (ABL), which was dissolved in 1999. Many ABL stars then switched to the WNBA, which further enhanced the level of the entire league. With these many changes, the 1999 WNBA Draft was shaped by players from the ABL. Since the NBA was partially canceled this season because of the lockout, interest in the WNBA increased somewhat. Furthermore, the number of teams increased from ten to twelve by joining the Minnesota Lynx and Orlando Miracle .
In the 2000 season joined the Indiana Fever , Seattle Storm , Miami Sol , and the Portland Fire four other teams of the WNBA, so the WNBA was able to double the number of teams since its inception. The league and its teams were owned by the NBA, which decided in 2002 to sell the individual teams to the NBA teams based in the same city or to third parties. This sale resulted in two teams were relocated to Utah Starzz became the San Antonio Silver Stars and the Orlando Miracle to the Connecticut Sun . The Sun were the first team to be owned by third parties. However, the NBA did not find a new owner for all teams, so two teams were dissolved with the Miami Sol and the Portland Fire.
After the 2003 season , the Cleveland Rockers were the third team to be disbanded. The number of teams decreased, but the level of the league rose from year to year and solo efforts such as Cynthia Cooper and the Houston Comets in the first four seasons were a thing of the past. On October 21, WNBA President Val Ackerman announced her resignation. NBA Commissioner David Stern announced her successor, Donna Orender , on February 15, 2005 . In April she officially took over from Ackerman.
In the 2005 season , the Chicago Sky joined the WNBA again after several years. In the 2006 season , the WNBA celebrated its tenth anniversary, making the WNBA the first professional women's league to crack this hurdle. On the occasion of this anniversary, the WNBA presented the All-Decade Team . In December 2006 the Charlotte Bobcats announced that they would no longer support the Charlotte Sting financially. Since the WNBA did not find a new owner, the team was dissolved and thus the number of teams fell from 14 to 13 before the start of the 2007 season . In the 2008 season , 14 teams again took part in the championship at short notice by joining the Atlanta Dream . However, the Houston Comets stopped their game operations after this season. The 2009 season began in contrast to the previous seasons until 6 June 2009, characterized the players had more time to play in other leagues and prepare with her WNBA team for next season. For the 2009 season, the league decided that the squad of the teams will be reduced from a maximum of 13 to 11, which subsequently led to some player contracts not being extended in order to meet this requirement. In addition, the WNBA was the first of the major US sports leagues to allow jersey advertisements to be worn .
In the 2010 season , with the Sacramento Monarchs, another team stopped playing. The Detroit Shock were also moved to Tulsa . Due to this relocation and dissolution, the Shock were reclassified into the Western Conference so that both Conferences consist of the same number of teams. In 2013, after years of stagnating audience numbers, the league changed its marketing strategies by redesigning design elements that were previously closely related to the NBA, such as the logo, and placing more focus on individual players like Brittney Griner .
Every spring there is a WNBA draft in town that hosts the NCAA Women's Final Four. The draft consists of three rounds, with each team having one vote in each round. The order of the teams that did not reach the playoffs in the previous season will be determined by lottery. The order of the other teams is determined from the balance sheet for the regular season.
The championship round is divided into two phases: the regular season , in which each team plays 34 games, and the play-offs , which in turn are divided into three rounds.
Since its inception, the WNBA has been divided into a Western and an Eastern Conference . At the moment they each have six teams. After 28 season games per team took place at the beginning, the number has now increased to 34. The games are half home and half away. In addition, the teams compete more often against teams from their own conference. The exact division of these games changed regularly due to the different number of games and participating teams.
From 2010 to 2015, the matches in 34 season games and 12 teams were divided as follows: The teams from the two conferences play four times against three teams from the same conference (12 games) and five times against the remaining two teams from the conference ( 10 games). They also play two more times against each team from the other conference (12 games).
Due to the introduction of the cross-conference playoff system for the 2016 season, the distribution of opponents in the regular season was also adjusted. Within their own conference, the teams play against one team a total of four times (4 games) and against the remaining four teams three times (12 games). In addition, each team plays three more games against each team from the other conference (18 games).
In the first season of the WNBA four teams qualified for the playoffs, which were decided in two semi-finals and a final. All duels were decided in one game. As the number of teams in the WNBA increased, so did the number of playoff participants and games. In the 2000 season, the system used until 2015 was used for the first time with eight participants who determine the champions in three rounds, each of which was carried out as the best-of-3 . From 2005 the final was held as the best-of-5.
The four most successful teams of the regular season of both conferences qualify for the playoffs from 2000 to 2015. In the first round the best team play against the fourth and the second against the third placed in a conference. The winners contest the Conference Finals, and their winners ultimately play the WNBA championship. In the playoffs, except in the final, the game is played according to the best of three mode, whereby the team that is worse placed after the end of the regular season has home rights in the first playoff game and the better in games 2 and 3. The final is played according to the best of five mode, with the team better placed at the end of the regular season having home rights in the first two and in the last game.
On January 28, 2016, the league announced a significantly revised playoff system. The eight teams in the league with the most successes in the regular season then start in the playoff. These are set from one to eight according to the balance sheet. In the first round, which was also introduced, the number 5 receives the number 8 and the number 6 receives the number 7 each in a decisive game. The top four have a bye this round. In the second round, number 3 receives the lower seeded winner from the first round and number 4 receives the higher seeded winner from the first round. This round will also be decided in a one game and the two top teams also have a bye. In the third round (semifinals) number 1 meets the lower seeded winner from the second round and number 2 the higher seeded winner from the second round. The winner of this playoff series will reach the WNBA finals. The semi-finals and the final are played in the best-of-five mode, which means that a team needs three wins to be successful. The team with the better record always has the home advantage in all duels. For games that are tied after the regular playing time of 40 minutes, overtime follows. The quarters continue to last ten minutes and play continues until one team has scored more points than the opposing team at the end of an overtime. The playoffs usually last from the end of August to the end of September.
An all-star game is played in a city owned by a WNBA team in July of each season. Star players from the Eastern Conference meet star players from the Western Conference . The fans can vote in a vote which WNBA player should take part in this friendly game. For the 2008 season, the All-Star game was removed from the calendar so that the WNBA players can take part in the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The WNBA started in 1997 with 8 teams. After two new teams in each of the next two seasons, the year 2000 saw the largest expansion from four to 16 teams. In the 2000–2002 seasons, the WNBA had mostly participants with 16 teams. In the following years the size was reduced by 6 departures and 2 additions ( Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream ) to 12 teams. This size has not changed since the 2010 season . Since then there have only been two team moves. The Tulsa Shock became the Dallas Wings and the San Antonio Stars became the Las Vegas Aces .
|1997 Los Angeles Sparks||Los Angeles Sparks|
|1997 New York Liberty||New York Liberty|
|1997 Phoenix Mercury||Phoenix Mercury|
|1997 Utah Starzz 2002||2003 San Antonio Silver Stars 2013||2014 San Ant. Stars 2017||2018 LVA||Las Vegas Aces|
|1998 Washington Mystics||Washington Mystics|
|1998 Detroit Shock 2009||2010 Tulsa Shock 2015||2016 Dallas Wings||Dallas Wings|
|1999 Minnesota Lynx||Minnesota Lynx|
|1999 Orlando Miracle 2002||2003 Connecticut Sun||Connecticut Sun|
|2000 Indiana Fever||Indiana Fever|
|2000 Seattle Storm||Seattle Storm|
|2006 Chicago Sky||Chicago Sky|
|2008 Atlanta Dream||Atlanta Dream|
|1997 Sacramento Monarchs 2009||Sacramento Monarchs|
|1997 Houston Comets 2008||Houston Comets|
|1997 Charlotte Sting 2006||Charlotte Sting|
|1997 Cleveland Rockers 2003||Cleveland Rockers|
|2000-2002||Miami Sol||Miami Sol|
|2000-2002||Portland Fire||Portland Fire|
- The Indiana Fever will play at Hinkle Fieldhouse for the entire 2020 and 2021 season and at least part of the 2022 season during the Bankers Life Fieldhouse renovation .
- The Phoenix Mercury will play at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the 2020 season due to the renovation of the Talking Stick Resort Arena .
- The Seattle Storm played for the 2019 season at the University of Washington's Alaska Airlines Arena and the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. This rule is expected to remain in place until the KeyArena renovation is complete.
- Sacramento Monarchs - 1997-2009
- Houston Comets - 1997-2008
- Charlotte Sting - 1997-2007
- Cleveland Rockers - 1997-2003
- Miami Sol - 2000-2002
- Portland Fire - 2000-2002
Master of the WNBA
Overview of the play-off successes
|Los Angeles Sparks||16||3||1||6th||6th||29||16||13||75||40||35|
|Shock / wings||9||3||1||1||4th||18th||12||6th||51||30th||21st|
|including Detroit Shock||8th||3||1||1||3||17th||12||5||49||30th||19th|
|including Tulsa Shock||1||1||1||0||1||2||0||2|
|of which Dallas Wings||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|New York Liberty||14th||4th||5||5||25th||11||14th||62||27||35|
|Miracle / Sun||9||2||3||4th||16||7th||9||41||21st||20th|
|including Orlando Miracle||1||1||1||0||1||3||1||2|
|of which Connecticut Sun||8th||2||3||3||15th||7th||8th||38||20th||18th|
|Starzz / Silver Stars / Stars / Aces||9||1||2||6th||13||4th||9||33||10||23|
|thereof Utah Starzz||2||1||1||3||1||2||7th||2||5|
|including San Antonio Silver Stars||6th||1||1||4th||9||3||6th||24||8th||16|
|including San Antonio Stars||1||1||1||0||1||2||0||2|
|Breakdown of Franchise Achievements||current franchise|
Status: after the 2016 season
Players and head coaches
With Tina Thompson , the last player finished 2013 her WNBA career that had already participated in the first season of the league. At that time she was also the record holder for the games played and the points scored, but has since been surpassed by DeLisha Milton-Jones (games) and Diana Taurasi (points). Another player scored more than 7,000 points with Tamika Catchings , she is also the record holder for rebounds . Four other players have achieved more than 6,000 points to date, with a total of 17 players surpassing the 5,000 point mark. Sue Bird holds the record for most assists in the WNBA .
At 50, Nancy Lieberman was the oldest player in the history of the WNBA to play an official league game.
Awards from the Women's National Basketball Association
As in all American professional leagues, it is also customary in the WNBA that individual awards are given to the players every year. The following awards are currently being presented:
Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award
The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award is an award given annually by the Women's National Basketball Association to the player who has shown the best athletic behavior throughout the season. Previously known as the WNBA Sportsmanship Award, it was later named after the Houston Comets player Kim Perrot, who died in 1999 of complications from lung cancer.
WNBA Coach of the Year Award
The WNBA Coach of the Year Award is an annual award for the best coach (English: Head Coach) of the WNBA. The winner of this award is determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters.
WNBA Community Assist Award
The WNBA Community Assist Award has been an annual award of the NBA Cares program for charitable work since 2017 .
WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award
The WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is an annual award given to the WNBA player who demonstrated the best defensive performance during the regular season. The winner of this award will be determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters.
WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award
The WNBA Finals MVP Award is a major basketball award in the league. It is awarded annually to the most valuable player in the final series. The award will be presented immediately after the last game in the final series. Usually the award goes to a player on the winning team.
WNBA Most Valuable Player Award
The WNBA Most Valuable Player Award is an annual award of the North American women's basketball professional league for the most valuable player (English: Most Valuable Player, MVP for short) of the regular season. The winner of this award will be determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters. Usually the MVP award is given during the playoffs of the respective year.
WNBA Most Improved Player Award
The WNBA Most Improved Player Award has only been given since the 2000 season to a player who has improved the most compared to the previous season. The winner of this award is determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters.
WNBA Peak Performers
The WNBA Peak Performer award is currently given to those players who have the best points, rebound and assist cut of the respective WNBA season.
Since the introduction of the award in 1997, the award modalities have been changed several times: In the 1997 season, this trophy was awarded to the players with the most points from the two conferences. From the 1998 season to the 2001 season, this award was given to the players with the best throwing rate on the field and the players with the best free throwing rate. From the 2002 season to the 2006 season, the players with the best points and rebound cut received this award. As of the 2007 season, the player with the highest assists cut will also receive this award.
WNBA Rookie of the Year Award
The WNBA Rookie of the Year Award is an annual award for the best young female player (English: rookie) of the WNBA. The winner of this award is determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters. This award has only been given since 1998.
WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award
The WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award is an award from the WNBA for the most valuable substitute player. Only players who are on the bench more often than in the starting line-up at the start of the season are awarded. The winner of this award will be determined by a vote among sports journalists and television reporters. The award has only been given since the 2007 season.
In addition to these individual honors, the WNBA puts together a team after each season, the All-WNBA First Team , with the best players of the WNBA season. In addition, an all-WNBA second team will be selected.
WNBA All-Defensive Team
Since the 2005 season , the WNBA also has the WNBA All-Defensive First Team , with the best female defenders of the WNBA season. As with the All-WNBA Team, there is also a WNBA All-Defensive Second Team
WNBA All-Rookie Team
Since the 2005 season , the WNBA has also created the WNBA All-Rookie Team , with the best newcomers of the WNBA season.
In addition to these regular awards, the WNBA has also given additional honors on special occasions.
WNBA All-Decade Team
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the WNBA in 2006, fans, media representatives, current players and coaches chose the ten players who had the greatest influence on the success of the WNBA. The following ten players ( plus five other Honorable Mentions ) were selected from a list of 30 names:
WNBA All-Decade Team
|Sue Bird||Seattle Storm (since 2002)|
|Tamika catchings||Indiana Fever (since 2001)|
|Cynthia Cooper||Houston Comets (1997-2000, 2003)|
|Yolanda Griffith||Sacramento Monarchs (1999-2007), Seattle Storm (2008), Indiana Fever (2009)|
|Lauren Jackson||Seattle Storm (since 2001)|
|Lisa Leslie||Los Angeles Sparks (1997-2009)|
|Katie Smith||Minnesota Lynx (1999–2005), Detroit Shock (2005–2009), Washington Mystics (2010), Seattle Storm (since 2011)|
|Dawn Staley||Charlotte Sting (1999-2005), Houston Comets (2005)|
|Sheryl Swoopes||Houston Comets (1997-2007), Seattle Storm (2008)|
|Tina Thompson||Houston Comets (1997-2008), Los Angeles Sparks (since 2009)|
All ten have won Olympic medals: Jackson won silver with Australia and the rest gold for the US . Seven of them won the WNBA championship (Swoopes, Cooper and Thompson with Houston, Leslie with Los Angeles, Bird and Jackson with Seattle and Griffith with Sacramento).
|Ruthie Bolton||Sacramento Monarchs (1997-2004)|
|Chamique Holdsclaw||Washington Mystics (1999–2004), Los Angeles Sparks (2005–2007), Atlanta Dream (2009), San Antonio Silver Stars (since 2010)|
|Ticha Penicheiro||Sacramento Monarchs (1998–2009), Los Angeles Sparks (since 2010)|
|Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury (since 2004)|
|Teresa Weatherspoon||New York Liberty (1997-2003), Los Angeles Sparks (2004)|
WNBA's Top 15 Players of All Time
A list of the 15 most important players was drawn up for the league's 15th anniversary. In addition to the ten players of the All-Decade Team with Ticha Penicheiro, Diana Taurasi and Teresa Weatherspoon, it included three players honored as an “Honorable Mention” as well as Becky Hammon and Cappie Pondexter as newcomers .
Numbers, facts and finances
- Val Ackerman - 1997-2005
- Donna Orender - 2005-2010
- Laurel J. Richie - 2011-2015
- Lisa Borders - 2016–2018
- Cathy Engelbert - since 2019
All WNBA franchises had to spend between $ 819,000 and $ 852,000 on player salaries in the 2011 season. The salary of players without WNBA experience had to be at least $ 36,570. For players who have already completed a season in the WNBA, the minimum salary is $ 37,301 and players with three years of experience or more receive a minimum salary of $ 53,000. However, there is an exception here for players selected in the first four positions in the WNBA Draft , who are entitled to a fixed salary of $ 46,708. In addition to minimum salaries, the WNBA also has maximum salaries, so players with experience of under six years of age may not earn more than $ 101,000 and players with experience of six or more WNBA seasons are entitled to a maximum salary of $ 103,000.
The players get a bonus for achieving certain successes. A player who wins a league award will receive a bonus of $ 5,000. The player who was voted MVP of the season will receive a bonus of $ 15,000. There is also a bonus for every player on a team that has reached the playoffs. Every player on the team who won the championship will receive a bonus of $ 10,500.
The league saw the best average attendance in its second season, when an average of 11,000 spectators attended each WNBA game. After this season, the average attendance fell slightly from season to season and reached the preliminary low point in the history of the league in the 2006 season with an average attendance of under 7,500 visitors per game. Since this season, the WNBA's average audience figures have fluctuated between 7,500 and 8,000. In the 2015 season the lowest average in the history of the league was achieved with 7,318 visitors. This negative record is mainly due to the temporary relocation of the San Antonio Stars , otherwise the cut would be in the usual range. In the 2016 season , the highest average since 2011 was achieved after the stars returned. A significantly higher average is regularly achieved in the playoffs.
|WNBA average attendance per game|
|WNBA average attendance per game|
|Atlanta Dream||8,468||7.102||6,293||6,487||5,453||5,853||5,864||6.122||5,614||Philips Arena|
|Chicago Sky||3,915||3,656||3,933||4,292||5,536||5,573||6,601||6,685||6,894||7.009||Allstate Arena 1|
|Connecticut Sun||7,970||7,644||6,794||7,486||7,056||7,266||6,548||5,980||5,557||5,837||Mohegan Sun Arena at Uncasville|
|Shock / Dallas Wings||9,749||9,569||8,011||4,812||4,828||5,203||5,474||5,566||5,167||5,298||College Park Center 4|
|Indiana Fever||7,032||7,702||7,939||8,265||8,054||7,582||8,164||7,900||7,485||8,575||Bankers Life Fieldhouse|
|Los Angeles Sparks||8,695||9,492||10,387||9,468||10,320||10.176||9,869||8,288||9,065||9,638||Staples Center|
|Minnesota Lynx||7.119||7,057||7,537||7,622||8,447||9,683||9,381||9,333||9,364||9,266||Target Center|
|New York Liberty||8,698||9,045||9,800||11,069||7,702||6,762||7,189||8,949||9,159||9,724||Madison Square Garden 2|
|Phoenix Mercury||7,737||8,522||8,523||8,982||9,167||7,814||8,557||9,557||9,946||10,351||US Airways Center|
|San Antonio (Silver) Stars||7,569||7,984||7,527||8,042||8,751||7,850||7.914||7,719||4,831||6,385||AT&T Center 3|
|Washington Mystics||7,739||9.096||11,338||9,357||10,449||8,639||7,838||8,377||7,714||6,929||Verizon Center|
|Eastern Conference||7,517||7,861||7,845||7,795||7,547||6,879||7,032||7,293||7.155||7,281||Eastern Conference|
|Western Conference||7,950||8.002||8,265||7,874||8,362||8,035||8,029||7,863||7,482||8,028||Western Conference|
|WNBA total||7,742||7,952||8,039||7,834||7,955||7,457||7,531||7,578||7,318||7,644||WNBA total|
|1 The Sky played in the UIC Pavilion until 2009 .|
|2 The Liberty played at the Prudential Center (Newark, NJ) from 2011-2013|
|3 The Stars played at the Freeman Coliseum in 2015|
|4 The Wings played as Shock until 2009 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit and from 2010 to 2015 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.|
Older visitor numbers can be found in the articles of the individual teams.
- Annika Krempel: What the women's soccer Bundesliga can learn from the NBA. In: time online. Die Zeit, August 18, 2011, accessed on April 27, 2014 .
- Richard Sandomir: In WNBA, Jersey Sponsorship Could Set New Standard. The New York Times , May 31, 2009, accessed September 13, 2014 .
- Nate Taylor: Griner and Other Rookies Rejuvenate WNBA The New York Times , September 13, 2013, accessed September 13, 2014 .
- All Time Leaders. WNBA, accessed September 6, 2017 . As of September 6, 2017
- WNBA Announces All-Decade Team. WNBA, June 13, 2006, accessed January 5, 2011 .
- WNBA Honors Top 15 Players in League History. WNBA, July 23, 2011, accessed February 29, 2016 .
- Joe Dorish: How much money do WNBA players make in salary? ( Memento of July 27, 2014 on Internet Archive ) Archived from: Yahoo website; New York, NY, June 9, 2011 (in English).
- Joe Dorish: See WNBA Salaries for the 2017 Season. On: Joe Dorish Sports website; April 27, 2017. Accessed November 4, 2017.