WNBA

On This Date (June 21): WNBA begins inaugural season with first regular season games

In 2021, the WNBA is celebrating its 25th season of making it count.

It all began on June 21, 1997.

On this date, the WNBA began its inaugural campaign with a trio of games, with the Houston Comets taking on the Cleveland Rockers, the Los Angeles Sparks facing the New York Liberty and the Sacramento Monarchs visiting the Utah Starzz.

In addition to the above six teams, the inaugural WNBA season also featured the Charlotte Sting and Phoenix Mercury to round out a field of eight.

There was no shortage of star power in the league's first season, with Ruthie Boldon-Holifield, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo, Andrea Stinson, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Teresa Weatherspoon among the players to play large roles for their respective teams.

Cooper earned MVP honours after leading the Comets to a league-best 18-10 record while leading the league with 22.2 points per game. Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson led Houston to postseason wins over Phoenix and New York for the first of four consecutive WNBA titles to begin its stint in the groundbreaking league.

In the years since, the league has experienced expansion, with the league peaking at 16 franchises from 2000-2002.

The WNBA now stands as a 12-team league with the Liberty, Mercury and Sparks remaining in place over the last 25 seasons.

After two relocations, the Starzz are now known as the Las Vegas Aces, rounding out the group of original four teams that remain active in the league's 25th season.

As the league continues to grow, so does its star power and the globalization of the women's game, with some of the world's best spending their summers in the states to compete in the WNBA.

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