On October 30, 1996 a new era began in the city of Charlotte,
as they were awarded one of the eight franchises in the newly
formed Women�s National Basketball League (WNBA). Work
quickly began to create a team the city could be proud of.
One of the first orders of business was to begin to build a
roster for the fledgling franchise. On January 22, 1997, North
Carolina State�s Andrea Stinson and Maryland�s
Vicky Bullett were allocated to the team, becoming the first
members of the new team.
The team�s identity continued to take shape through
the coming months as a team name, the Charlotte Sting, and
a color scheme, purple and teal were chosen and revealed to
the community on February 12, 1997. The roster continued to
develop as the Sting selected Rhonda Mapp and Michi Atkins
on February 27, 1997 in the WNBA�s Elite Draft. On March
26, 1997 the Sting named their first head coach, Marynell Meadors.
With a head coach in place, the Sting selected Tora Suber,
Sharon Manning, Debra Williams and Andrea Congreaves in the
1997 WNBA Draft.
The months of hard work and planning came to fruition on June
22, 1997 in Phoenix, Arizona as the Charlotte Sting hit the
court in front of 16,102 fans for their inaugural WNBA game.
The Charlotte community got their first taste of women�s
professional basketball on June 29, 1997 as the Sting recorded
a victory against the Cleveland Rockers in their inaugural
The Sting concluded their historic first season with a 15-13
record and earned a berth in the playoffs where they were defeated
by the eventual champion, Houston Comets.
With one season under their belt, the Charlotte Sting began
their sophomore campaign by selecting Tracy Reid, Christy Smith,
Pollyanna Johns, and Sonia Chase in the 1998 WNBA Draft. The
Sting would finish the season with an 18-12 record and advance
to the playoffs, where history would repeat itself and they
would be defeated in the first round by the eventual champion,
1999 marked a year of change for the WNBA and the Sting. With
an influx of talent from the now-defunct American Basketball
League (ABL), the annual draft took on a new level of importance.
With their selections in the 1999 Draft, the Sting added Dawn
Staley, Stephanie McCarty, Charlotte Smith and Angie Braziel
to their roster. The Sting also underwent a coaching change,
as they named Dan Hughes to the head coaching position on July
11, 1999. The team finished the season with a 15-17 record
and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The team
promoted T.R. Dunn to the head coaching position on October
The 2000 season proved to be a disappointing one for the Sting
as they finished the season with an 8-24 record and did not
make the WNBA Playoffs.
The Sting made a significant move in preparation for the 2001
season as they traded Rhonda Mapp and E.C. Hill to Los Angeles
in exchange for Clarisse Machanguana and Allison Feaster on
October 11, 2000. They also made a coaching change, naming
Anne Donovan the head coach on March 30, 2001. The Sting added
to their roster by drafting Kelly Miller, Tammy Sutton-Brown,
Jennifer Phillips and Reshea Bristol in the 2001 WNBA Draft.
The 2001 season started slowly for the Sting as they posted
a 1-10 record over their first 11 contests. The team then engineered
one of the greatest turnarounds in sports history closing out
the season on a 17-4 run. The team catapulted from their remarkable
season- ending run into the playoffs where they defeated the
No. 1 and No. 2 seeds to advance to the WNBA Finals. Their bid for the championship came up just short however as they fell to the Los Angeles Sparks in two games.
In 2002, the Sting finished the season with an 18-14 record
and advanced to the playoffs for the fifth time in six years
before suffering a first round defeat at the hands of the Washington
2003 began a year of total transformation for the Sting franchise.
Robert L. Johnson was named the new owner of the Sting on January
10, 2003. Under his leadership, Ed Tapscott was named Executive
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Bernie Bickerstaff
was hired as general manager and Trudi Lacey was promoted to
head coach and assistant general manager. With a new team behind
the scenes, the Sting selected Jocelyn Penn and Dana Cherry
in the 2003 WNBA Draft. The Sting would finish out the season
with an 18-16 record and secure another berth in the WNBA Playoffs.
The Sting�s transformation would continue as they headed
towards the 2004 season. New colors, orange and blue, were
revealed for the team and Trudi Lacey added the title of general
manager to her head coaching responsibilities. On February
5, 2004 the team announced a deal sent Kelly Miller to the
Indiana Fever in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick in the
2004 draft. The Sting used the No. 3 draft pick to select Stanford�s
Nicole Powell in the 2004 WNBA Draft. They also selected Penn
State�s Kelly Mazzante, Vanderbilt�s Jenni Benningfield
and Texas Tech�s Jia Perkins in what was touted as the
deepest draft in WNBA history.
The 2004 season however proved to be one of many ups and downs for the Sting as they spent much of the year battling for first place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Sting went through streaks all season long-winning two of three games to open the season, winning eight of ten through June and July and losing four in a row on two occasions. As the WNBA entered it's month-long hiatus for the Olympics in August, the Sting sat in a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with a 12-13 record. The Sting came back from the break strong, winning four their six games to put them in a first place tie with Connecticut. The Sting dropped their final three games of the season however and finished in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with an 16-18 record, missing out on a playoff berth for only the second time in franchise history.
Following the 2004 season, the Sting embarked on a busy offseason as they acquired Helen Darling in a sign and trade deal with Minnesota and signed Sheri Sam as a free agent. In addition, the Sting acquired Tangela Smtih from the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Nicole Powell, Erin Buescher and Olympia Scott-Richardson. Charlotte experienced some luck as well, as the ping pong balls bounced their way in the draft lottery giving them the number one overall pick. On April 16, they used that pick to select Janel McCarville from the University of Minnesota.
The 2005 season was not the one the Sting had hoped for as they struggled throughout much of the season. As the season drew to a close, the team, looking to continue to build for the future, acquired a 2006 first round draft pick along with Kristen Rasmussen and Adrienne Goodson from the Houston Comets in exchange for Dawn Staley and a second round draft selection. The team also underwent a coaching change as Muggsy Bogues was given the reins with 10 games remaining. A well known figure in the Charlotte region, Bogues guided the Sting to 3-7 record to finish the season, doubling the team's win total.