San Antonio Will Become New Home To Utah Starzz
SS&E was granted a WNBA franchise on Nov. 13, 2002, after securing 6,300 Season Ticket deposits through a nine-month campaign � more than the 6,000 required by the WNBA to secure a franchise in San Antonio.
�The Starzz bring championship potential as well as community commitment to our city � two things that we all value,� said Peter Holt, SS&E Chairman and CEO. �And considering that the Starzz beat the Houston Comets in the first round of the WNBA playoffs last year, we can look forward to an exciting intrastate rivalry between the two teams.�
As one of the league�s charter franchises, the Utah Starzz entered the WNBA on Oct. 30, 1996. They made their on-court debut June 21, 1997 as they hosted the Sacramento Monarchs at the Delta Center. The Starzz ended their inaugural season in last place with a 7-21 record, but the 2002 season saw the organization reach new heights and establish themselves as one of the top teams in the league. The Starzz went on two four-game winning streaks during the season, helping propel them to their first 20-win season in franchise history. The Starzz also tied the franchise record for most wins at home, going 12-4 at the Delta Center. The Starzz concluded their historic 2002 season on August 12 at home with an 81-79 win over the Sacramento Monarchs, ending with a 20-12 record. Finishing the season in third place in the Western Conference, the Starzz went on to defeat the four-time WNBA Champion Houston Comets in the first round of the playoffs, sending them to the Western Conference Finals for the first time. The Los Angeles Sparks clinched the series in L.A., defeating the Starzz on Aug. 24.
The Starzz starting lineup boasts three WNBA All-Stars � Adrienne Goodson, Marie Ferdinand, and Natalie Williams � as well as 7-2 Margo Dydek, the tallest player in WNBA history. In addition, point guard Jennifer Azzi � the 1990 Naismith College Player of the Year � is recognized as one of the top playmakers in the history of women�s basketball.
The 6-0 Goodson led the Starzz in scoring during the 2002 season, averaging 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34.4 minutes while starting all 32 games. The Starzz�s balanced offensive attack was also paced by the 5-9 Ferdinand, who also started all 32 games and averaged 15.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.59 steals in 33.3 minutes. The two ranked 10th and 11th in the WNBA in scoring.
Williams � a member of the 2000 USA Olympic Team � has been named to the All-WNBA First Team in three of her four seasons. During the 2002 season she averaged 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 31 games while becoming the first player in league history to post a 20-20 game (finishing with 22 points and 20 rebounds at Sacramento on 6/22).
A native of Poland who speaks five languages (Polish, French, Spanish, English and Russian) Dydek has led the WNBA in blocks each of the last five seasons. During the 2002 campaign she averaged 13.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3.57 blocks in 30 games.
Rounding out the team�s starting lineup is Azzi. A two-time All-American at Stanford and a member of the 1996 USA Olympic Team, she made her WNBA debut in 1999 after starting her professional career overseas and the ABL. For the 2002 season she started all 32 games and averaged 9.6 points, 4.9 assists and 2.2 rebounds in 36.0 minutes. In her four WNBA seasons Azzi has twice led the league in three-point field goal percentage and has a career mark of .480 from beyond the arc.
San Antonio WNBA fans will be able to tune in and listen to San Antonio�s 2003 WNBA games on Clear Channel radio stations KSJL 810 AM and KSJL 92.5 FM.