WNBA History/Timeline

April 24, 1996: Women’s basketball announces “We Got Next” as the NBA Board of Governors approves the concept of a WNBA.

August 7, 1996: Val Ackerman is named first president of the WNBA.

October 23, 1996 Houston Comets forward Sheryl Swoopes becomes the first player signed by the WNBA.

October 30, 1996 WNBA announces eight teams to compete in the inaugural season – Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah.

January 22, 1997 The league’s first 16 players are allocated to teams, an elite group comprised of Olympians and collegiate stars.

April 19, 1997 WNBA and Spalding introduce the league’s official orange-and-oatmeal game ball during WNBA Pre-Draft Camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.

April 28, 1997 Tina Thompson is the first No. 1 draft pick, selected by the Houston Comets in the inaugural WNBA Draft.

June 21, 1997 The New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks tip-off the first WNBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. Sparks guard Penny Toler scores the league’s first basket at 19:01. New York wins 67-57.

June 23, 1997 Utah Starzz becomes first team to pass the 100-point mark in a 102-89 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks.

July 2, 1997 New York Liberty center Rebecca Lobo wins her 100th consecutive personal victory when the Liberty defeat the Houston Comets 70-67. Winning streak comprises Lobo’s 35-0 senior season at the University of Connecticut, 60-0 as member of U.S. Olympic Team and 5-0 as a member of the Liberty. The streak ends at 102.

August 30, 1997 The Houston Comets become the first WNBA Champions, employing the unstoppable Cynthia Cooper and a suffocating defense for a 65-51 victory over the New York Liberty at The Summit.

October 1, 1997 The WNBA announces that franchises in Detroit and Washington will join the fold as expansion teams for the 1998 season.

April 22, 1998 The league announces the addition of expansion teams in Orlando and Minnesota for the 1999 season, bringing the total number of teams to 12.

June 19, 1998 Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie sets a WNBA record by pulling down 21 rebounds in the Sparks’ victory over the New York Liberty.

June 21, 1998 Lisa Leslie notches her seventh-straight double-double, setting a WNBA record.

July 18, 1998 Houston’s Cynthia Cooper becomes the first player to reach 1,000 points during Comets’ 75-44 rout of the Sacramento Monarchs.

July 29, 1998 Sacramento Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro dishes out 16 assists in a 75-67 loss vs. the Cleveland Rockers to set a WNBA record.

August 29, 1998 In Game 2 of the WNBA Finals, the Houston Comets, trailing the Phoenix Mercury 1-0 in the best-of-three series, erases a 12-point deficit in the final 7:24 to force overtime. Houston wins the series and claims its second of four titles.

April 29, 1999 The WNBA and WNBPA reaches final accord as the league’s first Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed.

June 7, 1999 WNBA announces the addition of four expansion teams for the 2000 season – Indiana, Miami, Portland and Seattle. The WNBA family now includes 16 teams.

June 29, 1999 The Sacramento Monarchs and the Minnesota Lynx combine for a WNBA-record 21 three-pointers (10 by Sacramento, 11 by Minnesota) in the Monarchs’ 86-72 victory over the Lynx.

July 14, 1999 Whitney Houston sings the National Anthem in front of an electrified crowd on hand at Madison Square Garden to witness the Inaugural WNBA All-Star Game. The West defeats the East 79-61 and Lisa Leslie is named MVP.

July 27, 1999 Sheryl Swoopes records the WNBA’s first triple-double with 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists in an 85-46 win over Detroit at the Compaq Center.

September 4, 1999 New York Liberty guard Teresa Weatherspoon nails a shot from beyond the midcourt line with 2.4 seconds remaining to give the Liberty a 68-67 victory over the Houston Comets in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals. The shot sends the series to a decisive Game 3, which the Comets win to claim their third straight WNBA title.

June 7, 2000 Cleveland Rockers forward Eva Nemcova ends her record-streak of 66 consecutive free throws with a miss against Orlando. Nemcova did not miss from the foul line from June 14, 1999 to June 5, 2000.

July 17, 2000 The West defeats the East 73-61 at the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game, hosted by the Phoenix Mercury at America West Arena. Houston’s Tina Thompson captures MVP honors.

August 25, 2000 Cleveland Rockers guard Suzie McConnell Serio is named the recipient of the first Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award presented by American General, named in honor of Houston’s Kim Perrot, who died of cancer in 1999.

August 26, 2000 Cynthia Cooper turns in a clutch performance to earn her fourth WNBA Finals MVP as the Houston Comets claim fourth straight title by defeating the New York Liberty. In Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, Cooper converts a crucial three-point play with 25.4 seconds remaining to push the Comets’ lead to five. In Game 2, she scores six of her 25 points in overtime and nine of Houston’s final 18 points. It marks Cooper’s last appearance in the WNBA Finals. She retires as the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader.

June 2, 2001 Houston’s Van Chancellor becomes first WNBA coach to record 100 victories as the Comets defeat the Detroit Shock 74-73.

June 7, 2001 Utah Starzz center Margo Dydek records the WNBA's second triple-double, setting a league record for blocked shots in the process as her 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks leads Utah to an 82-79 win over Orlando.

July 3, 2001 Washington and Seattle battle through quadruple overtime – the longest game in WNBA history – before the Mystics edge the Storm 72-69.

July 7, 2001 Minnesota Lynx guard Katie Smith sets the WNBA single-game scoring record with a 46-point performance, including six three-pointers, in a 100-95 overtime loss to Los Angeles.

July 14, 2001 The West wins the 2001 WNBA All-Star Game in Orlando, defeating the East 80-72. Lisa Leslie earns her second All-Star MVP award.

July 30, 2001 Lisa Leslie scores her 2,538th point to become the WNBA’s career scoring leader, surpassing Cynthia Cooper.

August 10, 2001 Katie Smith scores 22 points in Minnesota’s 65-51 win over Seattle to break the WNBA single-season scoring record of 686 points set by Cynthia Cooper in 1999.

August 11, 2001 Los Angeles becomes the first team to go undefeated at home for an entire season, finishing 16-0 at the STAPLES Center.

August 27, 2001 The Charlotte Sting, after dropping the opener of the Eastern Conference Finals at home, go into Madison Square Garden and take both games against the Liberty to derail New York’s hopes of making a third consecutive trip to the WNBA Finals. Charlotte advances to the Finals after a 1-10 season start.

September 1, 2001 The Los Angeles Sparks claim their first WNBA Championship to give the city of Los Angeles a sweep of professional basketball titles in 2001. Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to capture all three MVP awards in the same season, joining NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan and Willis Reed as the only pro hoopsters to accomplish this feat. . . . Sparks coach Michael Cooper becomes the first person to claim NBA and WNBA titles, having won five championships as a player with the Lakers.

September 1, 2001 The WNBA welcomes its 10 millionth fan prior to Game 2 of the WNBA Finals at the STAPLES Center.

November 13, 2001 The Seattle Storm win the first pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft in the inaugural WNBA Draft Lottery.

June 4, 2002 Katie Smith becomes the WNBA’s all-time career leader for three-pointers (233), surpassing Cynthia Cooper (232).

June 5, 2002 Teresa Weatherspoon becomes the first WNBA player to record 1,000 assists during the Liberty’s 60-59 victory over the Detroit Shock at Madison Square Garden.

June 8, 2002 The Orlando Miracle and the Cleveland Rockers square off for the longest game in WNBA history. The Miracle claims a 103-99 victory in the 2:57 contest that spans three overtime periods.

June 22, 2002 Utah Starzz forward Natalie Williams records the first 20/20 performance in WNBA history when she scores 22 points and grabs 20 rebounds in Utah’s 77-61 win over the Sacramento Monarchs at ARCO Arena.

July 15, 2002 The West earns its fourth straight victory in the 2002 WNBA All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., edging the East 81-76. Lisa Leslie takes All-Star MVP honors for the second straight year and third time in her career.

July 22, 2002 Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to record 3,000 points during the Sparks’ 92-84 victory over Orlando at the STAPLES Center. Leslie records 24 points and 21 rebounds (tying the league record she set on 6/19/98) in the victory.

July 30, 2002 Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to dunk in a game when she throws down a one-handed breakaway layup with 4:44 remaining in the first half in Los Angeles’ 82-73 loss to Miami at the STAPLES Center.

August 9, 2002 Margo Dydek becomes the first WNBA player to record 500 career blocks.

August 15, 2002 Washington Mystics forward Chamique Holdsclaw becomes the first player to lead the league in both scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) in a single season.

August 29, 2002 Los Angeles Sparks rookie guard Nikki Teasley nails the game-winning shot in the waning seconds of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals to give the Sparks their second consecutive WNBA Championship, defeating the New York Liberty. . . Lisa Leslie earns WNBA Finals MVP honors for the second straight year.

October 8, 2002 The NBA Board of Governors votes to restructure the WNBA to allow individual team ownership, to allow teams to be owned by non-NBA owners and to be located in non-NBA markets.

October 21, 2002 The WNBA announces that the Miracle will be relocated from Orlando to a city to be designated by the WNBA.

November 27, 2002 The Miami Heat organization elects not to assume ownership of the Sol.

December 5, 2002 The WNBA announces that the Utah Starzz will relocate to San Antonio for the 2003 season.

December 30, 2002 The Portland Trailblazers organization elects not to assume ownership of the Fire.

January 10, 2003 San Antonio announces “Silver Stars” as its official team name.

January 28, 2003 The Connecticut Sun join the WNBA for 2003, as the Mohegan Tribe of Indians become the first non-NBA owner in league history. The Orlando Miracle become the Connecticut Sun.

April 24, 2003 The WNBA holds the second annual Draft Lottery and a Dispersal Draft to disseminate players from the Miami Sol and Portland Fire. The Cleveland Rockers win the lottery, while the Detroit Shock make Ruth Riley, formerly of the Sol, the first selection in the Dispersal Draft.

April 25, 2003 At 3 a.m., the WNBA and the WNBAPA sign the league’s second Collective Bargaining Agreement. The agreement is for four years, with a league option for a fifth, and gives WNBA players the first free agency rights in the history of women’s professional team sports.

April 25, 2003 The league holds the 2003 WNBA Draft, and Cleveland takes Mississippi State’s LaToya Thomas as the first overall pick.

May 23, 2003 Chamique Holdsclaw breaks the WNBA record for rebounds in a game grabbing 24 in the Washington Mystics season-opening win over the Charlotte Sting. She also added 22 points and become the first WNBA player to record two 20-point, 20-rebound performances in a career.

June 7, 2003 Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson becomes the youngest player in WNBA history to reach the 1,000 point milestone at age 22.

June 10, 2003 Minnesota’s Katie Smith becomes the first WNBA player to record 300 three-point field goals in her career.

July 12, 2003 The West captures its fifth straight WNBA All-Star victory at New York’s Madison Square Garden by defeating the East All-Stars 84-75, while Los Angeles’s Nikki Teasley earns MVP honors.

August 25, 2003 Nikki Teasley finishes the year averaging 11.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.1 rebounds becoming the first player in WNBA history to average more than ten points, five assists, and five rebounds in a season.

September 14, 2003 Seattle’s Lauren Jackson becomes the first international player to win the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award.

September 16, 2003 The Detroit Shock win their first WNBA title against the Los Angeles Sparks in front of a sell-out crowd and record attendance of 22,076. Detroit’s Ruth Riley records a career high 27 points in Game Three and earns the series MVP.

September 23, 2003 Rebecca Lobo, one of three original WNBA players, (together with Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie) signed by the league, retires after a seven-year career.

December 3, 2003 The Phoenix Mercury win the first pick in the WNBA Draft in the 2004 WNBA Draft Lottery.

December 17, 2003 The Board of Governors announces three rules changes. The three-point line moves from 19' 9" to 20' 6¼", and the lane is widened from 12' to the NBA width of 16'. The 30-second shot clock resets to 20 seconds (as opposed to 30 seconds under the previous rule) when a defensive foul or other defensive violation occurs with less than 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock.

January 6, 2004 The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft to disseminate the players from the Cleveland Rockers. The Phoenix Mercury select forward Penny Taylor with the first overall selection.

April 17, 2004 The league holds the 2004 WNBA Draft, and Phoenix takes the University of Connecticut’s Diana Taurasi as the #1 overall pick.

June 17, 2004 Ticha Penicheiro passes Teresa Weatherspoon to take over the number one spot in career assists.

July 29, 2004 Lisa Leslie scores her 4,000th career point and becomes the first WNBA player to reach the milestone.

August 2-31, 2004 The WNBA stops play to give players the opportunity to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

August 5, 2004 USA Basketball defeats the WNBA All-Stars 74-58 as the two teams face-off in the historic game at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The game was a send off for the US Women’s National Team as they prepared to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

September 10, 2004 Lisa Leslie records the WNBA’s third triple-double, tying Margo Dydek’s record for blocked shots in the process as her 29 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocked shots leads Los Angeles to an 81-63 victory over the Detroit Shock.

October 12, 2004 The Seattle Storm win their first WNBA title against the Connecticut Sun before a sell-out crowd of 17,072. For the first time in WNBA history, all three games of the WNBA Finals were sell-outs. . . Seattle guard Betty Lennox averaged 22.3 points for the three games on her way to earning the series MVP.

December 1, 2004 The Charlotte Sting beat the odds to win the first pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft in the fourth annual WNBA Draft Lottery. Charlotte had only a 9.7 percent chance of capturing the first pick.

February 8, 2005 NBA Commissioner David Stern announces that the WNBA will be expanding to Chicago for the 2006 season. The Chicago Sky becomes the second WNBA team to be owned and run by an entity outside of the NBA. In 2003, the Connecticut Sun became the first independently owned and operated WNBA team.

February 15, 2005 Donna Orender is appointed by David Stern as the second president of the WNBA.

April 16, 2005 The league holds the 2005 WNBA Draft, and Charlotte takes the University of Minnesota center Janel McCarville as the #1 overall pick.

May 24, 2005 Sheila Johnson, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television, becomes the WNBA’s first African-American female owner when she joined Ted Leonsis’ Lincoln Holdings LLC, which in turn purchased the Washington Mystics from Washington Wizards’ owner Abe Pollin.

July 13, 2005 Katie Smith becomes the first woman in U.S. basketball history to score 5,000 points in her professional career (WNBA and ABL).

August 18, 2005 Anne Donovan becomes the first female WNBA coach – and fourth overall in the league – to win 100 games.

September 18, 2005 Sheryl Swoopes becomes the first three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player in league history.

September 20, 2005 The Sacramento Monarchs clinch the 2005 WNBA Championship, bringing the city of Sacramento their first basketball title.

October 24, 2005 The Minnesota Lynx beat the odds to win the first pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft in the fifth annual WNBA Draft Lottery. Minnesota had only a 16.7 percent chance of capturing the first pick.

February 1, 2006 The WNBA announces the 2006 WNBA Draft and Pre-Draft Camp will be held in Boston, site of the NCAA Women’s Final Four. The WNBA events will conclude a week-long celebration of women’s basketball emanating from Boston.

April 5, 2006 The league holds the 2006 WNBA Draft, and Minnesota takes the Louisiana State University’s Seimone Augustus as the #1 overall pick.

June 13, 2006 The WNBA All-Decade Team is selected by fans, a panel of national and WNBA-market media and the league’s current players and coaches. The team is comprised of the 10 best and most influential players from its first 10 years of play. Players named were: Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. Van Chancellor, who led the Houston Comets to consecutive WNBA championships in the league’s first four seasons, was named the WNBA’s Coach of Decade.

June 23, 2006 In a game against the San Antonio, Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie scores the 5,000th point in her WNBA career and becomes the first player in WNBA history to reach that milestone.

July 12, 2006 The 2006 WNBA All-Star Game takes place at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Four rookies – Seimone Augustus, Cappie Pondexter, Sophia Young and Candice Dupree – are named All-Stars. The East squad, led by All-Star MVP Katie Douglas of the Connecticut Sun, earns its first–ever victory with a 98-82 decision. Off the court, the inaugural All-Star Salute: Celebrating Inspiration Luncheon is a key highlight of the festivities as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is the keynote speaker.

August 10, 2006 Diana Taurasi scores a WNBA single-game record 47 points in a triple-overtime game against Houston. Taurasi would also finish the 2006 season with new WNBA records for most points in a single-season (860) and highest scoring average in a single season (25.3).

August 30, 2006 As part of the League’s 10th Anniversary season, the WNBA Greatest Moment presented by AOL.com is unveiled during Game 1 of the 2006 WNBA Finals. Fans, who were able to log on to www.aol.com/wnba, voted Teresa Weatherspoon’s half-court, buzzer-beater – a shot that propelled the New York Liberty to victory in Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals and on to a deciding Game 3 against the Houston Comets – as their favorite moment in the WNBA’s 10-year history.

September 3, 2006 Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks is named MVP for the third time in her career after having also earned the honor in 2001 and 2004. Leslie joined the Houston Comets’ Sheryl Swoopes as the only players in WNBA history to capture MVP honors three times.

September 9, 2006 The 2006 WNBA Finals see the Detroit Shock earn their second league championship when they topped the Sacramento Monarchs in the first WNBA Finals match up ever to reach a fifth and deciding game. The historic game featured a sellout crowd of 19,671 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the second highest Finals crowd in WNBA history. Detroit’s Deanna Nolan is named Finals MVP.

October 26, 2006 The Phoenix Mercury wins the sixth annual Draft Lottery and earns the top pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft. It marks the first time that the team whose odds of winning the top pick were mathematically the smallest actually came away with the #1 pick.

November 7, 2006 The WNBA announces the creation of the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award. The award will be presented to the player who best exemplifies the characteristics of a leader in the community and will reflect Staley’s contagious leadership, spirit, charitable efforts and love for the game.

December 7, 2006 The WNBA Board of Governors approves the sale of the Los Angeles Sparks to an investment group led by Katherine E. Goodman and Carla J. Christofferson.

December 13, 2006 The Charlotte Bobcats Organization announces that it will no longer operate the Charlotte Sting.

January 8, 2007 The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft to disseminate the players from the Charlotte Sting. The Chicago Sky select guard Monique Currie with the first overall selection.

January 30, 2007 Rule changes are announced for the 2007 season and include the following: the backcourt rule requires offensive teams to bring the ball across the mid-court line within eight seconds rather than 10 seconds; the timeout rule requires that officials grant requests for a timeout (full or 20-second) by a player in the game or the head coach; and the teams will now be able to designate 11 active players and up to two inactive players on playoff rosters, with the ability to activate any inactive players on a game-by-game basis.

January 31, 2007 The WNBA Board of Governors approves the sale of the Houston Comets to Hilton Koch/Hilton Acquisitions, LLC.

February 16, 2007 Electronic Arts announces that six WNBA players are featured in a new videogame NBA STREET Homecourt. Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Diana Taurasi are the first female professional athletes to ever be featured and go head-to-head with their male counterparts in a videogame.

March 31, 2007 Former University of Texas Head Coach Jody Conradt becomes the inaugural recipient of the WNBA Inspiring Coach Award.

April 4, 2007 The 2007 WNBA Draft presented by adidas takes place in Cleveland, marking the second straight year that the draft was held immediately following the NCAA Women’s Division I Championship Game and conducted in the same city as the Final Four. The Phoenix Mercury make Lindsey Harding the top overall pick before trading her to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Tangela Smith. The fast-paced draft earned a place in league history when Jessica Davenport, the second overall pick, was subsequently traded from San Antonio to New York in exchange for all-star guard Becky Hammon and a future selection. It marked the first time in WNBA history that the top two picks were traded on Draft Day.

July 15, 2007 The 2007 WNBA All-Star Game, the league’s eighth such contest, is played in front of a sellout audience on July 15 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. A crowd of 19,487 fans witnessed the East defeat the West, 103-99, as Cheryl Ford of the Detroit Shock clinched the MVP honors. A key highlight of the All-Star festivities in 2007 was the second annual All-Star Salute: Inspiring Women Luncheon, featuring keynote speaker and Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

July 15, 2007 Signaling a major milestone in its second decade, the WNBA reaches an eight-year agreement with ESPN to have ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 televise games through the 2016 season. The agreement was announced in conjunction with the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game by Donna Orender, WNBA President, and John Skipper, ESPN Executive Vice President, Content. The agreement extends the WNBA’s relationship with ESPN, which began with the league’s inaugural season in 1997, to 20 seasons.

July 24, 2007 Seattle’s Lauren Jackson scores 47 points in a 97-96 overtime loss to the Washington Mystics, tying Diana Taurasi for the WNBA record for most points in a single game.

July 27, 2007 Lauren Jackson scores her 4,000th career point during a 89-75 win over the Indiana Fever, becoming the youngest and fastest player in league history to reach the milestone. Jackson reaches the milestone in 209 games.

September 5, 2007 Lauren Jackson is named MVP of the league for the second time in her career after having also earned the honor in 2003. Jackson led the WNBA in scoring, rebounding and double-doubles and was also named the WNBA’s Player of the Week on five occasions. Jackson joined Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Cynthia Cooper as the only players in WNBA history to capture multiple MVP honors.

September 16, 2007 The 2007 WNBA Finals see the Phoenix Mercury win their first-ever championship behind the play of Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor and Cappie Pondexter, who was named Finals MVP. The Mercury capped the most exciting WNBA season ever by defeating the defending champion Detroit Shock in five games. It marked the first time that a the WNBA Championship has been won on the road, and Mercury head coach Paul Westhead became the first head coach to win both a WNBA title and an NBA title (1980, Los Angeles Lakers). Total attendance for the 2007 WNBA Finals between the Phoenix Mercury and the Detroit Shock was 74,178, establishing a new all-time WNBA Finals record. In addition, Game 5’s crowd of 22,076 at The Palace of Auburn Hills tied the all-time, single-game attendance record for the WNBA Finals (also set on Sept. 16 2003 of the 2003 WNBA Finals, Los Angeles at Detroit).

October 17, 2007 WNBA President Donna Orender announces that the City of Atlanta was awarded a WNBA expansion team for the 2008 season. The new team will be owned and operated by Atlanta businessman J. Ronald Terwilliger.

October 23, 2007 The Los Angeles Sparks win the seventh annual Draft Lottery and earned the top pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. The Sparks won the lottery for the first time in franchise history, after tying the Minnesota Lynx for fewest wins in 2007.

January 23, 2008 The Atlanta expansion franchise unveils their team name, logo and colors. The Atlanta Dream’s color scheme will consist of sky blue and red.

January 28, 2008 The WNBA and the WNBAPA sign the league’s third collective bargaining agreement covering six seasons, commencing with the 2008 season and continuing through 2013.

January 29, 2008 Rule changes are announced for the 2008 season and include the following: the inbounding rule will permit a player to pass the ball anywhere (frontcourt or backcourt) on the court during the final minute of the fourth period and the final minute of any overtime period; players not occupying lane spaces shall now remain behind the three-point line (above the free-throw line extended) during free-throws; and instant-replay rules will now require automatic video reviews by the officiating crew in the case of flagrant fouls that result in ejections and other player altercations.

February 6, 2008 The WNBA holds an Expansion Draft to build the inaugural roster of the Atlanta Dream. The Dream selected one player from each team, including Betty Lennox, Katie Feenstra, Erika DeSouza and Kristin Haynie. The Dream also orchestrated trades for Iziane Castro Marques and Ivory Latta.

February 28, 2008 Force 10 Hoops, L.L.C., the entity owned by Seattle businesswomen and civic leaders Anne Levinson, Ginny Gilder, Lisa Brummel and Dawn Trudeau, purchases the Seattle Storm. Seven WNBA teams now fall under the independent ownership model: the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Connecticut Sun, Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks, Seattle Storm and Washington Mystics.

April 4, 2008 North Carolina State Head Coach Kay Yow is honored with the WNBA’s Inspiring Coach Award during the Women’s Final Four activities in Tampa, Florida.

April 9, 2008 The 2008 WNBA Draft presented by adidas takes place in Tampa, marking the third year that the draft was held immediately following the NCAA Women’s Division I Championship Game and conducted in the same city as the Final Four. Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Candice Wiggins were selected as the top three overall picks.

May 17, 2008 Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks nearly posts a triple-double in her pro debut on vs. Phoenix. She had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Her 34 points broke the record for a rookie in a debut game.

May 29, 2008 On May 29 in a double-overtime loss at Indiana, Candace Parker becomes the first player in WNBA history to record a 5x5, which is total of five or more in five different categories. Parker had 16 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and five steals.

June 6, 2008 Tina Thompson of the Houston Comets becomes just the second player in WNBA history to reach the 5,000 point milestone, joining Lisa Leslie.

June 22& 24, 2008 Candace Parker dunks in back-to-back games, joining Lisa Leslie as the only players to have dunked in a WNBA game.

June 28, 2008 Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks becomes the first WNBA player to record 3,000 career rebounds.

July 30, 2008 Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC News’ Good Morning America, is honored as the recipient of the 2008 WNBA Inspiration Award. Roberts is the keynote speaker at the WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon in San Francisco, an event that also honored the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team and served as a final send-off to the Beijing for the Olympic Games.

July 28-Aug. 27, 2008 The WNBA stops play to give players the opportunity to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team defeated Australia in the gold medal game, while Russia defeated China for the bronze. The United States has now won four consecutive Olympic gold medals.

August 31, 2008 Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock reaches the 5,000 career point milestone, joining Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson.

September 5, 2008 Ticha Penicheiro of the Sacramento Monarchs becomes the first player in WNBA history to record 2,000 career assists.

October 3, 2008 Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker is named the Hanns-G ‘Go Beyond’ Rookie of the Year as well as the WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by T-Mobile. It marks the first time a rookie won both awards in the same year. The top overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft, Parker capped a season in which she also earned All-WNBA First Team honors, two Hanns-G ‘Go Beyond’ Rookie of the Month Awards (May and July), one Player of the Week Award (Aug. 31) and the Peak Performer Rebounding Award.

October 5, 2008 The 2008 WNBA Finals see the Detroit Shock sweep the San Antonio Silver Stars in three games. The Shock earned their third championship in six years. Detroit’s Katie Smith was named Finals MVP.

December 2, 2008 The League announces that the Houston Comets, an original member of the WNBA, would suspend operations.

December 9, 2008 The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft of the Houston Comets players. Teams drafted in inverse order of their regular-season finish in 2008. The Atlanta Dream selected Sancho Lyttle with the first pick, the Washington Mystics chose Matee Ajavon with the second selection and the Chicago Sky took Mistie Williams with the third pick.

December 9, 2008 The Atlanta Dream win the eighth annual WNBA Draft Lottery and earned the top pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. The winning team had 420 chances out of 1,000 to receive the first overall selection. The lottery went exactly according to odds for the first time in WNBA history.

February 5, 2009 The WNBA Board of Governors votes to allow the expanded use of instant replay by game officials. The two modifications will allow referees to use instant replay 1.) to determine at any point during a game whether a field goal was correctly scored as a two- or three-point field goal, and, for the purposes of awarding the correct number of free throws, whether a shooter was fouled while taking a two- or three-point attempt and 2.) when the game clock malfunctions during a play concluding with no time remaining on the clock (0:00) at the end of any quarter or overtime period.

April 7, 2009 University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summit is named the recipient of the WNBA’s Inspiring Coach Award.

April 9, 2009 The 2009 WNBA Draft presented by adidas takes place at the NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, NJ. Angel McCoughtry, Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver were selected as the top three overall picks.

May 13, 2009 WNBA LiveAccess, a new feature on WNBA.com that provides fans with free access to more than 200 live game Webcasts, is launched and allows fans around the world to access live game Webcasts on individual team Web sites.

June 1, 2009 The Phoenix Mercury announces a groundbreaking marquee partnership with LifeLock to launch the first-ever branded jersey in WNBA or NBA history. The LifeLock name will appear on the front of Phoenix Mercury player jerseys and on warm-up suits through the 2011 season.

June 5, 2009 The Los Angeles Sparks reach an agreement with the Farmer’s Insurance Group of Companies to become the second team to secure a marquee partnership and wear branded jerseys. The Farmer’s Insurance Group of Companies name and logo will appear on player jerseys.

June 14, 2009 Tamika Raymond is named the recipient of the 2009 Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award.

July 17, 2009 Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm reaches the 3,000-point plateau, becoming just the third player in league history to score 3,000 points and hand out 1,000 career assists. (Shannon Johnson and Vickie Johnson)

July 29, 2009 Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News, senior news analyst for NPR News, and bestselling author, is honored as the recipient of the 2009 WNBA Inspiration Award. Roberts served as the keynote speaker at the WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon in Chicago.

August 10, 2009 Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks becomes the first player in WNBA history to record 6,000 career points.

August 15, 2009 Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm scores her 5,000th point against the Atlanta Dream, becoming the youngest and fastest player in league history to reach the milestone. Jackson joins Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson and Katie Smith as the WNBA’s 5,000 point scorers.

September 5, 2009 Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury scores her 4,000th point, eclipsing Lauren Jackson as the youngest and fastest player in league history to reach the milestone. Taurasi accomplishes the feat in 197 games.

September 26, 2009 Lisa Leslie tallies 22 points and 9 rebounds in the final game of her WNBA career as the Los Angeles Sparks are defeated by the Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals. Leslie had previously announced that 2009 would be her final season, and retires as the all-time WNBA leader in points (6,263) and rebounds (3,307).

September 29, 2009 The Mercury’s Diana Taurasi wins the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award presented by Kia Motors, marking the first MVP honor of her professional career. Taurasi tallied 20.4 points per game and recorded 20+ points in 20 games in 2009.

October 9, 2009 The Phoenix Mercury defeats the Indiana Fever to clinch the WNBA Championship for the second time in three years. Finals MVP Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor led the Mercury and held off a late rally by the tenacious Indiana Fever for a 94-86 victory in the deciding Game 5. The 2009 WNBA Finals also featured three sellouts plus the highest total attendance figure (82,018) in WNBA Finals history. Overall, average attendance for the 2009 WNBA Playoffs increased 18.5% over 2008 (9,979 vs. 8,420).

October 20, 2009 The Detroit Shock relocates to Tulsa, Oklahoma under the ownership of Bill Cameron, David Box and Tulsa Pro Hoops, LLC. Nolan Richardson is named the team’s general manager and head coach.

October 29, 2009 Kathy Betty becomes managing partner of the Atlanta Dream after the investment group Dream Too, LLC purchases the team from Terwilliger.

November 5, 2009 The Minnesota Lynx win the ninth annual WNBA Draft Lottery and earned the top pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft. Minnesota had 428 chances out of 1,000 to receive the first overall selection by virtue of owning New York’s combinations (261) in addition to its own (167).

November 20, 2009 The Maloof Family announces that they will no longer operate the Sacramento Monarchs.

December 4, 2009 The WNBA Competition Committee and Board of Governors approves the expanded use of instant replay by game officials in the following situations: 1.) To determine at any point during the game whether a 24-second shot clock violation occurred prior to the release of a successful field goal attempt or prior to a foul being committed and 2.) To determine during the last minute of regulation play and the last minute of any overtime period which player last touched the ball prior to it going out-of-bounds or whether the ball was last touched simultaneously by two opponents.

December 14, 2009 The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft of the Sacramento Monarchs players. The New York Liberty selected Nicole Powell with the first pick while the Minnesota Lynx chose Rebekkah Brunson second and the Connecticut Sun took DeMya Walker with the third selection. The Chicago Sky selected Courtney Paris and the San Antonio Silver Stars took Laura Harper to round out the top five picks. Teams drafted in inverse order of their regular-season finish in 2009.

January 23, 2010 The Tulsa franchise, with new ownership that brought the team from its former home in Detroit, announces it will keep the name “Shock,” and unveils a new logo and color scheme featuring black, red and gold.

April 8, 2010 The 2010 WNBA Draft presented by adidas takes place at the NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, NJ. Tina Charles, Monica Wright, Kelsey Griffin, Epiphanny Prince and Jayne Appel, respectively, were the top five selections.

May 15, 2010 The newly relocated Shock – complete with new ownership, a new head coach in Nolan Richardson, new colors and a new logo – tip-off their first game in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

August 8, 2010 Tina Thompson surpasses Lisa Leslie’s WNBA career scoring mark of 6,263, making her the highest scoring player in league history.

August 13, 2010 Phoenix’s Tangela Smith plays in her 411th career game, breaking Vickie Johnson’s previous record for most career games played.

August 15, 2010 In a game against Indiana, rookie Tina Charles of the Connecticut Sun sets WNBA single-season records for most double-doubles and total rebounds in a single season.

September 7, 2010 Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry scores a WNBA Playoffs record 42 points in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals, a 105-93 victory over the New York Liberty. In that same game, New York’s Cappie Pondexter tallies 36 points. Their combined total of 78 points set a WNBA record for most total points by two players in the same post-season game.

September 16, 2010 The Seattle Storm won the 2010 WNBA championship by defeating the Atlanta Dream 87-84 in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals in Atlanta's Philips Arena. The Storm swept the Dream 3-0 in the best-of-five series and Seattle center Lauren Jackson, the league’s regular season MVP, was named MVP of The Finals. It is the Storm’s second championship and first since 2004.

December 3, 2010 Donna Orender steps down as WNBA President to launch her own marketing, media and strategy company.

February 28, 2011 As part of WNBA Live - Manchester 2011 – a new, multiyear partnership between the Manchester (Eng.) City Council and the NBA, WNBA and USA Basketball – it is announced that the Atlanta Dream will participate in the first WNBA game played in Europe. The game is set for May 29, 2011 vs. Standard Life Team GB (Great Britain’s national team) at Manchester Evening News Arena. The partnership will promote women in sport and encourage participation in team sports.

March 3, 2011 At a press conference at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, the WNBA announces that the Silver Stars will host the 2011 All-Star Game for the first time in franchise history. The contest, set for Saturday, July 23, is to be the second WNBA All-Star Game played in a Western Conference venue and the first since the 2000 game was held in Phoenix.

March 8, 2011 In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the WNBA officially announced plans to celebrate its 15th season. Among those would be the selection of the Top 15 Players and the Top 15 Moments in league history. Key among other planned celebrations would be a nationally televised game (ESPN2) in which the New York Liberty would visit the Los Angeles Sparks on June 21, fifteen years to the date of the league’s inaugural game in 1997 featuring those same two teams.

March 28, 2011 Sheryl Swoopes, 40, returns to the WNBA, signing to play with the Tulsa Shock after a two-year hiatus. An inaugural member of the WNBA and a member of the league’s All-Decade Team selected in 2006, Swoopes resume includes four WNBA championships as a member of the Houston Comets (1997-2000), three league MVP awards (2000, ‘02, ‘05) and three Defensive Player of the Year honors (2000, ‘02, ‘03).

April 7, 2011 The Washington Mystics sign a marquee partnership with Inova Health System, becoming the fifth WNBA team to have such a partnership. Players will wear Inova Hospital System’s name and logo on the front of their home and away jerseys during the 2011 WNBA season.

April 7, 2011 The WNBA and partner adidas unveiled new uniforms for all 12 teams featuring Revolution 30 technology and women’s basketball specific TECHFIT base layers.

April 11, 2011 The WNBA becomes the first professional sports league to conduct its annual Draft at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. The Minnesota Lynx made Maya Moore the top overall selection of the 2011 WNBA Draft presented by adidas. Australian native Elizabeth Cambage, selected second by the Tulsa Shock, and Courtney Vandersloot, tapped third by the Chicago Sky, rounded out the top three picks.

April 21, 2011 Laurel J. Richie, a veteran of more than three decades in consumer marketing, corporate branding, public relations and corporate management, is appointed President of the WNBA, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced. Laurel leaves her post as Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Girl Scouts of the USA to join the WNBA.

June 21, 2011 The Los Angeles Sparks host the New York Liberty at STAPLES Center in the WNBA’s 15th Anniversary Game, played 15 years to the day of the league’s inaugural matchup between the same two teams in LA. The Sparks win, 96-91.

July 23, 2011 In honor of the WNBA’s 15th season, the league unveiled its “Top 15 Players of All Time” during a halftime ceremony live on ABC at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game presented by adidas. With consideration given to on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship, and community service, as well as to contributions to team success and women’s basketball, voting was conducted by fans, select national and WNBA-market media, and by current players and coaches. The players named were: Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Becky Hammon, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Ticha Penicheiro, Cappie Pondexter, Katie Smith, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, Diana Taurasi, Tina Thompson, and Teresa Weatherspoon.

August 9, 2011 In a road game at the Phoenix Mercury, Minnesota Lynx all-stars Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus become the 35th and 36th players to to surpass the 3,000-point mark for their respective careers, but the first pair of teammates to eclipse the mark in the same game. In the process, Augustus also tied the Mercury's Diana Taurasi as the fastest player in WNBA history to reach 3,000 (151 games).

August 22, 2011 The WNBA and Boost Mobile, an industry leader in no-contract wireless service, announced a landmark multiyear marketing partnership that made Boost Mobile the first league-wide marquee partner of the WNBA. As part of the deal, the Boost Mobile brand logo was subsequently featured on the front of the game jerseys of 10 of the WNBA’s 12 teams. It marked the first time the WNBA had a league partner with jersey branding for multiple teams throughout the season other than adidas, the league's official outfitter.

October 2, 2011 Despite falling to the host Minnesota Lynx in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry set Finals records for points in a quarter (19 in the third), points in a half (27 in the second), and consecutive points (14 from late in the first half into the third quarter).

October 5, 2011 The Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry surpasses the WNBA Finals record (set by her in 2010) for most points in a single game with 38 in a loss to the host Minnesota Lynx.

October 7, 2011 In a celebration of its 15th season, the WNBA and partner Boost Mobile unveiled the Top 15 Moments in league history as voted by fans. The top moment was Teresa Weatherspoon’s half-court shot at the buzzer to win Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals for the New York Liberty and send that series to a decisive third game. Ranking second was the WNBA’s first ever game (NY Liberty at LA Sparks, June 21, 1997); third was Sparks’ center Lisa Leslie throwing down the first dunk in WNBA history in the first half of a game vs. the Miami Sol.

October 7, 2011 The Minnesota Lynx captured their first WNBA title with a 73-67 win over the Atlanta Dream. Lynx guard/forward Seimone Augustus was named Finals MVP after leading the Lynx to a sweep in the best-of-five series. Augustus posted 22 points and seven assists in Game 1 and had a franchise-playoff record 36 points in Game 2, including 15 in the fourth quarter.

April 16, 2012 The 2012 WNBA Draft presented by Boost Mobile takes place at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, CT, marking the second straight year that the draft was held on the campus of the league’s broadcast partner. Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Sparks), Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen (Storm), Notre Dame’s Devereaux Peters (Lynx), Tennessee’s Glory Johnson (Shock), and Miami’s Shenise Johnson (Silver Stars) are the top five picks.

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