WNBA Timeline - By Date
The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft to disseminate the players from the Cleveland franchise. The Phoenix Mercury select forward Penny Taylor with the first overall selection.
January 10, 2003
San Antonio announces “Silver Stars” as its official team name.
January 22, 1997
The league’s first 16 players are allocated to teams, an elite group comprised of Olympians and college stars.
January 28, 2003
The Connecticut Sun were awarded the Orlando Miracle franchise and join the WNBA for 2003, as the Mohegan Tribe of Indians becomes the first non-NBA owner in league history.
February 2, 2004
Two Phoenix area business women bought 25% of the Phoenix Mercury becoming the first outside investors to become partners with an NBA team in ownership of a WNBA team, and the first individual women to hold an ownership interest in a WNBA team.
February 9, 2009
Lisa Leslie announces that the 2009 season will be her last
April 1, 2005
Donna Orender becomes the second president in WNBA history.
April 6, 2006
Seimone Augustus is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2006 WNBA Draft, selected by the Minnesota Lynx.
April 8, 2010
The Connecticut Sun select Tina Charles with the No. 1 pick in the 2010 Draft.
April 9, 2008
Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) and Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx) are selected as the top three overall picks in the 2008 WNBA Draft.
April 9, 2009
The Atlanta Dream selects Angel McCoughtry first overall in the 2009 WNBA Draft.
April 11, 2011
The Minnesota Lynx select Maya Moore first overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft.
April 16, 2004
Diana Taurasi is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, selected by the Phoenix Mercury
April 19, 1997
WNBA and Spalding introduce the league’s official orange-and-oatmeal game ball at the WNBA Pre-Draft Camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.
April 19, 2002
Sue Bird is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft, selected by the Seattle Storm.
April 20, 2001
Lauren Jackson is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft, selected by the Seattle Storm.
April 21, 2011
Laurel J. Richie is named the third president in WNBA history.
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.
April 24, 1996
Women’s basketball announces “We Got Next” as the NBA Board of Governors approves the concept of a WNBA.
April 24, 2003
The Cleveland Rockers get the first overall selection in the 2003 WNBA Draft via the WNBA Draft Lottery.
April 24, 2003
The WNBA holds a Dispersal Draft to disseminate the players from the Miami and Portland franchises. The Detroit Shock select former Miami center Ruth Riley with the first overall selection.
April 25, 2000
Ann Wauters is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2000 WNBA Draft, selected by the Cleveland Rockers.
April 25, 2003
The WNBA and the WNBAPA announced the signing of a new collective bargaining agreement that covers four seasons with a league option for a fifth year. The agreement introduces the first free agency system in women’s professional sports.
April 25, 2003
LaToya Thomas is the No. 1 draft pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft, selected by the Cleveland Rockers.
April 28, 1997
Tina Thompson is the first No. 1 draft pick, selected by the Houston Comets in the inaugural WNBA Draft.
April 29, 1998
Margo Dydek is the No. 1 draft pick in the 1998 WNBA Draft, selected by the Utah Starzz.
April 29, 1999
The WNBA and WNBPA reach final accord as the league’s first collective bargaining agreement is signed.
May 4, 1999
Chamique Holdsclaw is the No. 1 draft pick in the 1999 WNBA Draft, selected by the Washington Mystics.
May 15, 2010
The Tulsa Shock tips off its inaugural home opener.
May 17, 2008
Rookie Candace Parker makes her much heralded regular season debut as she posts 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists as her Los Angeles Sparks top the defending champion Phoenix Mercury 99-94.
May 23, 2003
The Washington Mystics Chamique Holdsclaw breaks the WNBA record for rebounds in a game grabbing 24 in a 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.
May 23, 2008
The Atlanta Dream lose their franchise home debut 88-76 to the Detroit Shock in front of a sell-out crowd of 11,609 at Philips Arena.
May 31, 2003
The Washington Mystics Chamique Holdsclaw becomes the third fastest player to 2,000 points and the fourth fastest player to 1,000 rebounds, passing both milestones in a 71-60 loss at Indiana
June 2, 2001
Van Chancellor becomes first WNBA coach to record 100 victories as the Houston Comets defeat the Detroit Shock 74-73.
June 4, 2002
Minnesota Lynx guard Katie Smith becomes the WNBA’s all-time career leader for three-pointers made, surpassing Cynthia Cooper (232). Smith sets the mark during the Lynx’s 78-68 loss to the Seattle Storm.
June 5, 2002
New York Liberty guard 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 7, 1999
WNBA announces the addition of four expansion teams to begin play in 2000 – Indiana, Miami, Portland and Seattle. The WNBA family now includes 16 teams.
June 7, 2000
Cleveland Rockers forward Eva Nemcova ends her record-streak of 66 consecutive free throws made with a miss against Orlando. Nemcova did not miss from the foul line from June 14, 1999 to June 5, 2000.
June 7, 2001
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.
June 7, 2003
Lauren Jackson of the Seattle Storm becomes the youngest player in WNBA history to reach the 1,000 point plateau at 22 years and 27 days old.
June 8, 2002
The Orlando Miracle and Cleveland Rockers squared off for the longest game in WNBA history, in regard to time. The Miracle claimed a 103-99 victory in the 2:57 contest that spanned three overtime periods.
June 10, 2003
The Minnesota Lynx Katie Smith becomes the first WNBA player to record 300 three-point field goals in her career.
June 10, 2003
New York’s Becky Hammon scores 28 points off the bench in 73-65 win over Cleveland establishing a new WNBA record for points in a game by a reserve in the process.
June 14, 2003
Los Angeles ties the WNBA record for consecutive wins at the start of the season with a 67-60 win at Madison Square Garden over the New York Liberty, running its record to 9-0. The win is also the 100th career regular season victory for Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper.
June 19, 1998
Lisa Leslie sets a then WNBA record by pulling down 21 rebounds in the Sparks’ victory over New York.
June 21, 1997
New York Liberty and Los Angeles tip off 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 21, 1998
Leslie notches her seventh-straight double-double, setting a WNBA record.
June 22, 2002
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 over Sacramento at ARCO Arena.
June 22, 2008
Candace Parker becomes the second player to dunk in a WNBA game as the Sparks beat the Fever 77-63. Parker takes a pass from teammate Raffaella Masciadri, dribbles the length of the court and dunks with her right hand with 29 seconds to play.
June 23, 1997
Utah Starzz become first team to pass the 100-point mark in 102-89 victory over Los Angeles.
June 25, 2006
Lisa Leslie scored a career-high 41 points and became the first player to reach 5,000 career points in a 105-80 victory over San Antonio.
June 29, 1999
Sacramento and Minnesota let the threes rain down as the two teams combine for a WNBA-record 21 three-pointers (10 by Sacramento, 11 by Minnesota) in the Monarchs’ 86-72 victory.
July 2, 1997
New York’s Rebecca Lobo wins her 100th consecutive game when Liberty defeat Houston 70-67. The wining streak comprised Lobo’s 35-0 senior season at UConn, 60-0 as member of U.S. Olympic Team and 5-0 as a member of the Liberty. The streak ends at 102.
July 3, 2001
Washington and Seattle battle through four overtime periods – the most periods played in WNBA history – before the Mystics edge the Storm 72-69.
July 7, 2001
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 12, 2003
The West All-Stars captures its fifth straight WNBA All-Star game in New York’s Madison Square Garden by defeating the East All-Stars 84-75, while Sparks guard, Nikki Teasley earns the MVP award.
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 WBNA All-Star Game. The West defeats the East 79-61 as Lisa Leslie is named MVP.
July 14, 2001
The West three-peats at the 2001 WNBA All-Star Game in Orlando, Fla., defeating the East 80-72. Lisa Leslie earns her second nod as All-Star MVP.
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 17, 2000
The West defeats the East 73-61 at the 2000 WNBA All-Star Game, hosted by the Mercury at America West Arena in Phoenix. Houston’s Tina Thompson captures MVP honors.
July 18, 1998
Cynthia Cooper is first player to reach 1,000 points during Comets’ 75-44 rout of Sacramento.
July 19, 2008
The Indiana Fever defeated the New York Liberty 71-55 in the 2008 Liberty Outdoor Classic, the WNBA's first outdoor game, played at Arthur Ashe Stadium on the grounds of the USTA's National Tennis Center in Queens.
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 recorded 24 points and 21 rebounds (tying the league record she set on 6/19/98) in the victory.
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.
July 29, 1998
Ticha Penicheiro dishes out 16 assists in a 75-67 loss vs. Cleveland to set a WNBA record. Penicheiro has led the league in assists every season since joining the WNBA in 1998 as the second overall pick in the draft.
July 30, 2001
Lisa Leslie scores her 2,538th point to become the WNBA’s career scoring leader, surpassing Cynthia Cooper.
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.
July 31, 2003
Seattle Storm forward, Lauren Jackson scores 23 points and pulls down 20 rebounds becoming only the fourth player in WNBA history to record the feat.
August 3, 2002
Ticha Penicheiro joins Teresa Weatherspoon as the only two WNBA players in the 1,000 assist club as she passes the mark in an 81-71 loss to Los Angeles.
August 6, 2003
Seattle Storm guard, Sue Bird records her eighth point-assist double-double of the year adding to her record for most in a season.
August 7, 1996
Val Ackerman named first president of the WNBA.
August 8, 2010
Tina Thompson breaks Lisa Leslie's scoring record, making her the highest scoring player in WNBA history.
August 9, 2002
Margo Dydek becomes the first WNBA player to record 500 career blocks.
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 10, 2006
Diana Taurasi scored a league-record 47 points in a triple-overtime win over the Houston Comets.
August 10, 2009
Lisa Leslie records her 6,000th career point, making her the first player in WNBA history to reach the plateau.
August 11, 2001
Los Angeles becomes first team to go undefeated at home for an entire season, finishing 16-0 at the STAPLES Center.
August 12, 2003
Lauren Jackson extends her streak of consecutive double-doubles in points and rebounds to seven straight games.
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, 2002
Chamique Holdsclaw of the Washington Mystics becomes the first player to lead the league in both scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) in a single season.
August 15, 2009
Lauren Jackson records her 5,000th career point, making her just the fifth player in WNBA history to reach that plateau.
August 15, 2010
Tina Charles breaks record for most double-doubles and rebounds in a single season.
August 23, 2008
The U.S. women's basketball team wins its fourth straight Olympic gold medal, earning a 92-65 victory over Australia in Beijing. The team is made up of 12 WNBA players.
August 24, 2006
Cheryl Ford grabbed a playoff-record 23 rebounds in a 70-59 win in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals.
August 25, 2000
Cleveland point 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 passed away from cancer in 1999.
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 for a season.
August 26, 2000
Cynthia Cooper turns in a clutch performance to earn her fourth Championship MVP as the Houston Comets claim fourth straight title by defeating the New York Liberty. In Game 1 of the Championship Series at Madison Square Garden, Coop 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. She retires following the season as the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader.
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 Championship. Charlotte advances to the championship after beginning the season with a 1-10 start.
August 29, 1998
In Game 2 of the championship, Houston, trailing Phoenix 1-0 in the best-of-three series, erases a 12-point deficit in the final 7:24 to force overtime. Houston would go on to win the series and claim its second of four titles.
August 29, 2002
Rookie Nikki Teasley nails the game-winning shot in the waning seconds of Game 2 of the WNBA Finals to give the Los Angeles Sparks their second consecutive WNBA Championship, defeating the New York Liberty.
August 30, 1997
The Houston Comets become the first WNBA Champion, employing the unstoppable Cynthia Cooper and a suffocating defense for a 65-51 victory over the New York Liberty at The Summit.
September 1, 2001
The Sparks claim their first WNBA Championship to give the city of Los Angeles a sweep of professional basketball titles. Lisa Leslie becomes 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 that 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 Championship at the STAPLES Center.
September 4, 1999
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 Championship. The shot sends the series to a decisive Game 3, which the Comets win to claim their third straight WNBA title.
September 7, 2010
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry scores 42 points in the Eastern Conference Finals, setting a new record for most points in a playoff game.
September 7, 2010
The Seattle Storm wins its second championship in franchise history, defeating the Atlanta Dream 3-0 in a best-of-five series.
September 9, 2006
The Detroit Shock win their second WNBA Championship by defeating the Sacramento Monarchs, 80-75, in Game Five of the 2006 Finals. Deanna Nolan was named M.V.P.
September 14, 2003
The Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson becomes the first international player to win the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player.
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 for the WNBA of 22,076.
September 16, 2010
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry scored 35 points in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, the most points by a single player in a Finals game.
September 20, 2003
The Sacramento Monarchs won the 2005 WNBA title of the Connecticut Sun as Yolanda Griffith was named WNBA Finals MVP.
September 23, 2003
Rebecca Lobo, one of three original WNBA players signed by the league, retires after a seven-year career.
October 1, 1997
The WNBA announces that franchises in Detroit and Washington will join the fold as expansion teams for the 1998 season.
October 3, 2008
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker is named the 2008 WNBA Most Valuable Player, marking the first time in the WNBA's 12 seasons that a rookie has earned the award. Parker also won the Rookie of the Year award earlier in the day.
October 5, 2008
The Detroit Shock win their third title in six seasons, trouncing the San Antonio Silver Stars 76-60 in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. Veteran guard Katie Smith, who averaged 21.7 points per game throughout the series, is named Finals MVP.
October 8, 2002
The NBA Board of Governors votes to restructure the WNBA to allow individual team ownership, and to allow teams to be owned by non-NBA owners and located in non-NBA markets.
October 9, 2009
The Phoenix Mercury wins the WNBA championship in a dramatic five-game series against the Indiana Fever.
October 12, 2004
The Seattle Storm become the fourth team in WNBA history to win a WNBA title, knocking off the Connecticut Sun in Game Three.
October 23, 1996
Sheryl Swoopes becomes the first player signed by the WNBA.
October 23, 2007
The Los Angeles Sparks win the seventh annual WNBA Draft Lottery and earn the top pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft.
October 30, 1996
WNBA announces eight teams to compete in the inaugural season – Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah.
November 13, 2001
The Seattle Storm win the first pick in the 2002 WNBA Draft in the inaugural WNBA Draft Lottery, held in New York.
November 16, 2005
The Chicago Sky announced their roster in the 2005 WNBA Expansion Draft, picking such players as Stacey Dales-Schuman, Brooke Wyckoff, Elaine Powell and Deanna Jackson.
December 2, 2008
WNBA President Donna Orender announces that the Houston Comets will suspend operations for the 2009 season.
December 3, 2003
The Phoenix Mercury wins the first pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft in the third annual WNBA Draft Lottery.
December 3, 2010
Donna Orender steps down as WNBA President to launch independent marketing, media and strategy company.
December 5, 2002
The WNBA announces that the Utah Starzz will relocate to San Antonio for the 2003 season. San Antonio was awarded a WNBA franchise in November after exceeding its season ticket pledge requirement of 6,000 tickets.