The WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) is the biggest professional league in women's basketball anywhere in the world. Running between April and September, the WNBA only briefly clashes with the men's NBA, so if you are looking for some basketball action in the close season, why not buy WNBA tickets and see what the women's game has to offer?
Essential background on the WNBA
The WNBA was founded in 1996 in response to the rising popularity of women's professional sports and the formation of the ABL - it's major competitor in the early years. Receiving the backing of the NBA, the WNBA quickly became the sole American women's basketball league and gained a cult following (which was helped along by the US women's team winning a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in stunning fashion).
The first few seasons were dominated by the Houston Comets, who boasted talents like Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. However, other teams started to improve, with the LA Sparks winning easily in 2001 and 2001 the led by Lisa Leslie, and the Minnesota Lynx picking up three titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
The format should be familiar to basketball fans. First, 12 teams compete in East and West Conferences during the regular season, playing 34 matches. There's a break for the WNBA All Star Game, then the play-offs begin in September, featuring the top 8 teams. After the semi-finals, the top two sides contest the WNBA Finals in a best of five series. The winner of that is crowned the WNBA champions.
Highlights of the WNBA's history
Even though it's only been going since 1996, the WNBA has plenty of great stories and legends to look back on. Obviously, the very first finals match was unforgettable as, for the first time the greatest players in women's basketball could show who was boss (the Houston Comets easily beat the New York Liberty 65-51).
Since then, there have been some closely contested, and not so closely contested series. The Detroit Shock participated in two 3-2 series in 2006 and 2007, winning one. The Minnesota Lynx edged out the Indiana Fever by the same score in 2015, then lost to the LA Sparks 3-2 in 2016. So there's always a good chance that when you buy WNBA tickets, you'll see a close match up.
There have also been some dominant teams that nobody could touch. The Housto Comets are probably the most famous, but the LA Sparks team around the turn of the millennium were almost as good.