The WNBA: A Primer
With the WNBA season right around the corner this is a good time to learn all about the league and the women that play the game.
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is an American professional basketball league. The league was founded on April 22, 1996, as the women’s counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. The regular season is played from May to September, with the All-Star game being played midway through the season in July and the WNBA Finals at the end of September until the beginning of October.
The WNBA began with eight teams in 1997: the Charlotte Sting, Cleveland Rockers, Houston Comets, and New York Liberty in the Eastern Conference; and the Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix Mercury, Sacramento Monarchs, and Utah Starzz in the Western Conference. Through a series of expansions, contractions, and relocations the WNBA currently consists of 12 teams, all based in the United States. The first WNBA game featured the New York Liberty facing the Los Angeles Sparks in Los Angeles. As of the league’s most recently completed 2022 season, the Las Vegas Aces (formerly the Utah Starzz and San Antonio (Silver) Stars), Los Angeles Sparks, New York Liberty, and Phoenix Mercury are the only remaining franchises that were founded in 1997.
Teams hold training camps in May. Training camps allow the coaching staff to prepare the players for the regular season and determine the 12-woman roster with which they will begin the regular season. After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. The WNBA regular season begins in May. For the 2023 regular season, each team will play 40 games, 20 each of home & away. As in the NBA, each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season.
Read more about the WNBA and the players to watch.