WNBA at 10: Ranking the Moments
Having learned a box with Saturday's story listing the Guru's choices of key people, places, events in the WNBA had hit the cutting room floor, as another reader service, here is it is.
Noting The WNBA
Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Mel Greenberg, who has covered the WNBA since its inception, ranks the most noteworthy players, teams, and events of the league’s first decade.
1. 2000 WNBA Finals. _ The New York Liberty’s Teresa Weatherspoon hits a mid-court shot as time expires, to extend Houston to a third and final game won by the Comets. The shot created a buzz in the sports world as replays of it were televised the over next several days.
2. The 1999 draft in New York City. _ Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw was taken No. 1 by the Washington Mystics. But the arrival of former ABL stars from the rival and defunct league meant the WNBA could move forward to create the best women’s basketball product.
3. Cynthia Cooper. _ Having played in the shadow of Cheryl Miller at Southern Cal in the mid-1980s, Cooper becomes the first dominate player leading the Houston Comets to the first four WNBA titles, winning the MVP award in each playoff.
4. 2003 Detroit Shock. _ Having the worst record the previous season, Detroit under former NBA Pistons “Bad Boy” Bill Laimbeer surges to the WNBA title winning the last two of a best-of-three series with Los Angeles at the Palace before crowds of 17,846, and 22,076.
5. The 1999 All-Star Game in New York City. _ A sellout crowd of 18,649 persons see the WNBA add the one element it lacked from the previous rival-ABL.
6. 2002 WNBA Finals. _ Los Angeles Sparks rookie Nikki Teasley hits a three-pointer at the buzzer to complete a 2-0 sweep over New York in the championship series.
7. The Mohegan Indian Tribe. _ The group in 2003 becomes the first WNBA owners unaffiliated with an NBA team and bring a franchise to Connecticut to compete at home in a casino complex.
8. 2001 Charlotte Sting. _ Under coach Anne Donovan and veteran guard Dawn Staley, the team overcomes a 1-10 start and eventually overcomes a 1-0 playoff deficit to win two games in New York and capture the Eastern Conference title.
9. 1998 WNBA Finals. _ Houston rallies from a 13-point, second-half deficit to beat Phoenix at home in overtime, evening the best-of-three series, and eventually winning its second title.
10. Val Ackerman. _ Having come over from the NBA side as a staff assistant to commissioner David Stern, the native of Hopewell, N.J., takes command of the league and steers it through good and bad times to help it reach today’s 10th anniversary season.
— Mel Greenberg