Twenty-one years, eight title teams, two four-time champs, two three-time champs, one back-to-back and two single titles.
With the WNBA’s 21st season in the books, take a look back at the league’s history shows multiple periods of dominance over the past two decades. And it all started in Houston.
The Unstoppable: Houston won the league’s first four championships behind the Big Three of Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. The Comets amassed a 98-24 (.803) regular season record and 16-2 (.889) playoff record in those four seasons – a combined mark of 114-26 (.814).
The Breakthrough: After falling to Houston in back-to-back playoffs, the Los Angeles Sparks finally ended the Comets’ reign and went on to win back-to-back titles of their own behind MVP Lisa Leslie and Co. Fifteen years after their first title, the Sparks, led by Candace Parker & Nneka Ogwumike, defeated the Lynx for the teams’s third title.
Worst to First: L.A.’s hope for a three-peat was thwarted by the Detroit Shock, who became the first team in American pro sports to go from having the worst record in the league (9-23 in 2002) to champions the following season. The Shock would go on to win three titles in six years under the leadership of head coach Bill Laimbeer.
The Dynamic Duo: Seattle landed back-to-back No. 1 picks in the draft in 2001 and ’02 and by 2004, the combo of Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird led Seattle to its first of two WNBA titles.
Desert Heat: Of the four teams that have won three titles, the eight-year span between Phoenix’s first title (2007) and most recent (2014) is the largest. The constant for all three titles is the brilliant Diana Taurasi; the first two came alongside Cappie Pondexter and the third with Britney Griner in the middle.
The Final Piece: Tamika Catchings owns one of the greatest resumes in WNBA history – Rookie of the Year, MVP, multiple Defensive Player of the Year, All-WNBA and All-Star honors – but it wasn’t until 2012, in her 11th WNBA season, that she finally captured the WNBA title for Indiana.
Maya Magic: What do you get when you add Rookie of the Year Maya Moore to a team that already has Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen? You get the first of four championships for the Minnesota Lynx, who have won the title in every odd numbered year in the 2010s.
|2017||Minnesota Lynx||Los Angeles Sparks||Sylvia Fowles|
|2016||Los Angeles Sparks||Minnesota Lynx||Candace Parker|
|2015||Minnesota Lynx||Indiana Fever||Sylvia Fowles|
|2014||Phoenix Mercury||Chicago Sky||Diana Taurasi|
|2013||Minnesota Lynx||Atlanta Dream||Maya Moore|
|2012||Indiana Fever||Minnesota Lynx||Tamika Catchings|
|2011||Minnesota Lynx||Atlanta Dream||Seimone Augustus|
|2010||Seattle Storm||Atlanta Dream||Lauren Jackson|
|2009||Phoenix Mercury||Indiana Fever||Diana Taurasi|
|2008||Detroit Shock||San Antonio Silver Stars||Katie Smith|
|2007||Phoenix Mercury||Detroit Shock||Cappie Pondexter|
|2006||Detroit Shock||Sacramento Monarchs||Deanna Nolan|
|2005||Sacramento Monarchs||Connecticut Sun||Yolanda Griffith|
|2004||Seattle Storm||Connecticut Sun||Betty Lennox|
|2003||Detroit Shock||Los Angeles Sparks||Ruth Riley|
|2002||Los Angeles Sparks||New York Liberty||Lisa Leslie|
|2001||Los Angeles Sparks||Charlotte Sting||Lisa Leslie|
|2000||Houston Comets||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|
|1999||Houston Comets||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|
|1998||Houston Comets||Phoenix Mercury||Cynthia Cooper|
|1997||Houston Comets||New York Liberty||Cynthia Cooper|