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Among the features of the new agreement are:  . Each team will play 10 Cup games during the season: specifically, the first home and road games against each team in its conference.
The final Cup games will be played in July, with the top team in the Cup standings from each conference advancing to a one-off Cup final in August.
The games have been postponed till , due to the COVID pandemic , rendering the break unnecessary. The entry draft took place as originally scheduled on April 17, although it was done remotely.
The players were housed at the Bradenton complex, and all games and practices took place there. Players had until June 25 to let their teams know whether they planned to participate.
The WNBA originated with 8 teams in , and through a sequence of expansions, contractions, and relocations currently consist of 12 teams.
There have been a total of 18 franchises in WNBA history. Arenas listed below reflect those intended for use in the league's next season in See the respective team articles for more information.
Of these teams, only the Sparks have completely separate ownership. The Liberty had been associated with the New York Knicks , having been owned by the Knicks' parent company, The Madison Square Garden Company ,   but the team was sold in January to a group led by Joseph Tsai , then a minority owner of the Nets  and now sole owner of that team.
The Utah Starzz were affiliated with the Jazz before relocating to San Antonio as the Silver Stars under the ownership of the parent company of the Spurs in Becoming the Stars in , they shared the Spurs' team colors.
The team would eventually relocate to Las Vegas as the Aces in The Detroit Shock was the sister team of the Pistons until the teams' owner sold the Shock to investors who moved the team to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Shock shared the Tulsa market with the Tulsa 66ers until the latter team was relocated to become the Oklahoma City Blue in Teams hold training camps in May.
Training camps allow the coaching staff to prepare the players for the regular season and determine the woman roster with which they will begin the regular season.
After training camp, a series of preseason exhibition games are held. During the regular season, each team plays 36 games, 18 each home and away.
Each team plays three in-conference teams 4 times and the remaining in-conference teams three times 18 games.
Each team then plays the six out-of-conference teams three times 18 games. As in the NBA, each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season.
During years in which the Summer Olympics are held, the WNBA takes a month off in the middle of the season to allow players to practice and compete with their respective national teams.
The season was planned to be the first for the Commissioner's Cup, an in-season tournament. Each team's first home and away games against each of its conference opponents, all of which were to be played in the first half of the season, were designated as Cup games.
After each team played its 10 Cup games, the top team in each conference's Cup standings would advance to the Commissioner's Cup Final, a single match held in August.
In , the league held its first-ever All-Star Game, where the best players of the Eastern Conference played against the best players of the Western Conference.
Since the All-Star games were ongoing, the West has been dominant until , when the East finally won a game.
The game is part of a weekend-long event, held in a selected WNBA city each year. The actual game is played on the selected WNBA team's home court.
During the season, fans vote for the players they would like to see start the game. The All-Star Game was the first game to feature custom uniforms that match the decade anniversary logo.
In , an exhibition game Stars at the Sun was held. Shortly after the All-Star break is the trading deadline.
After this date, teams are not allowed to exchange players with each other for the remainder of the season, although they may still sign and release players.
Major trades are often completed right before the trading deadline. In the current system, the eight best teams by the regular-season record, without regard to conference alignment, qualify for the playoffs.
Having a higher seed offers several advantages. Since the first two seeds get double byes, and the next two seeds get first-round byes, having a higher seed generally means one will be facing a weaker team.
The team in each series with a better record has a home-court advantage. Since Verizon is the official sponsor.
The first two playoff rounds follow a tournament format with each team playing a rival in a single-elimination game, with the winners advancing to the next round and losers being eliminated from the playoffs.
For the first round, the matchups by seed are 5th vs 8th and 6th vs 7th. In the second round, the matchups by seed are 3rd vs the lowest remaining seed and 4th vs the highest remaining seed.
In the semifinals, the matchups by seed are 1st vs the lowest remaining seed and 2nd vs the highest remaining seed. The first and second rounds consist of single-elimination games, while the semifinals are best-of-five series using a 2—2—1 home-court pattern, meaning that the higher-seeded team will have home court in games 1, 2, and 5 while the other team plays at home in game 3 and 4.
This pattern has been in place since changed from the best-of-three series 1—1—1 format for four teams in each conference, where the higher seed hosted the opening game in the first two rounds.
The final playoff round, a best-of-five series between the two semifinal winners, is known as the WNBA Finals and is held annually, currently scheduled for October.
Each player on the winning team receives a championship ring. For this round, the series follows a 2—2—1 pattern, meaning that one team will have home court in games 1, 2, and 5, while the other plays at home in games 3 and 4.
The Houston Comets , Minnesota Lynx , and Seattle Storm hold the distinction of having won the most championships with 4 titles each.
The Comets folded in The Lynx have the most appearances in the championship with 6, all occurring in the 7 years from to In , a decade and a half after the launch of the WNBA, only two players remained from the league's inaugural season in : Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson.
Lisa Leslie was the longest-tenured player from the draft class; she spent her entire career — with the Los Angeles Sparks.
Sue Bird holds both of the league's most significant longevity records—number of seasons in the league 17 and games played The team was to comprise the 10 best and most influential players of the first decade of the WNBA, with consideration also given to sportsmanship, community service, leadership, and contribution to the growth of women's basketball.
Players for the WNBA's Top 15 Team were chosen in on the anniversary of the league's fifteenth season from amongst 30 nominees compiled similarly to that of the All-Decade Team process.
This process was repeated for the league's 20th anniversary season in with the selection of the WNBA Top 20 Over 30 players have scored at least 3, points in their WNBA careers.
The scoring average leader is Cynthia Cooper , who averaged She signed a seven-day contract with the Detroit Shock and played one game, tallying two assists and two turnovers in nine minutes of action.
By playing in the one game Lieberman broke a record that she had set in when she was the league's oldest player at Sue Bird, who has played for the Seattle Storm since though she missed the and seasons to injury , holds the record for career assists  with 2, in regular-season games.
She has averaged 6. It is during this time that voting begins for individual awards. The Sixth Woman of the Year Award is given to the best player coming off the bench must have more games coming off the bench than actual games started.
The Most Improved Player Award is awarded to the player who is deemed to have shown the most improvement from the previous season. The Defensive Player of the Year Award is awarded to the league's best defender.
The Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award is awarded to the player who shows outstanding sportsmanship on and off the court.
The Coach of the Year Award is awarded to the coach that has made the most positive difference to a team. The Most Valuable Player Award is given to the player deemed the most valuable for her team that season.
The newest WNBA award is the Basketball Executive of the Year Award , first presented in to the team executive most instrumental in his or her team's success in that season.
There are two All-WNBA teams, consisting of the top players at each position, with the first-team status being the most desirable.
There are two All-Defensive teams, consisting of the top defenders at each position. There is one All-Rookie team, consisting of the top first-year players regardless of position.
Rules are governed by standard basketball rules as defined by the NBA, with a few notable exceptions:. Since the WNBA season : . The WNBA season brought changes that included: .
As of the defensive three-second rule and anti-flopping guidelines were introduced. The three-point line was also extended; in , that line extended into the corners to match the NBA's.
The WNBA is not able to support itself. The league has begun to do better financially in recent years. In December , Donna Orender said that the league had its first-ever "cash flow positive" team Connecticut Sun for the season.
As the popularity of the league has grown, players have gained more voice and power to perform as activists in many fields. One of the activist players' main focuses is the inequality between men's and women's sports.
Many players such as Brittney Grinner, Breanna Stewart, and Maya Moore have spoken about equality between gender, sexual orientation, and race.
The team secured a partnership with LifeLock to brand their jerseys and warm-ups. Other teams eventually followed in the Mercury's footsteps to bring the total to 11 current teams with sponsorship deals right in front of their jerseys and some teams have sponsors on the upper left-hand shoulder:.
A source said the deal is a "multiyear, eight-figure deal". On March 14, , the WNBA completed a deal with Verizon Wireless to place its name on the front of 10 of 12 team jerseys, excluding the Stars and Sun, as well as in-arena advertising, and reserved commercial space during WNBA broadcasts.
On March 28, the league introduced new uniforms bearing the new Verizon sponsor name, which eliminated white jerseys and made the secondary color a basis for a uniform.
The jersey font remained unchanged, as well as the primary color used for the away uniform. Teams can use either jersey for home and away games.
Pictures of the jerseys can be viewed on the WNBA website. In , the Phoenix Mercury became the first American professional basketball team to feature advertisements on their uniform, when they sold an ad to LifeLock Insurance on the front of their jerseys, leading many people to wonder if ads on NBA uniforms were coming soon.
Since then several other WNBA teams have followed suit. The NBA announced in the summer of that they will begin to feature advertisements on jerseys, with the first team to do so being the Philadelphia 76ers with a StubHub sticker now on their jerseys.
Before the start of the season, every team announced a new look for their uniforms. The supplier of the uniforms for the league, Adidas , upgraded all teams to new high-tech designs, much like they did for the NBA before the start of their season.
The jerseys officially debuted during the WNBA draft. Sponsorships have come from major companies such as Boost Mobile and Farmers Insurance.
Before the season, the maximum team roster size was changed from 13 players 11 active and 2 inactive to 11 players all active.
Any team that falls below nine players able to play due to injury or any other factor outside of the control of the team will, upon request, be granted a roster hardship exception allowing the team to sign an additional player or players so that the team will have nine players able to play in an upcoming game or games.
As soon as the injured or otherwise sidelined player s can play, the roster hardship player s —not any other player on the roster—must be waived.
In March , the WNBA and players signed a new, 8-year collective bargaining agreement, increasing the number of players on a roster to The minimum age is 22 years for American players and 20 years for international players, measured as of December 31 of the calendar year of the draft.
The draft is three rounds long, with each of the 12 teams in the league trades aside getting three picks each. The draft order for the eight teams that made the playoffs the previous year are based on team records, and the team with the highest previous record will pick last.
For the remaining top four picks, a selection process similar to the NBA Draft Lottery is conducted for the four teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.
Previously, in , a new six-year collective bargaining agreement was agreed upon between the players and the league.
The decision of superstar Diana Taurasi to sit out the WNBA season was seen by some in the media as a harbinger of salary-related troubles in the future.
The Russian club for which she was playing at the time, UMMC Ekaterinburg , offered her a bonus well over the league's maximum player salary to sit out that season.
Taurasi accepted, largely because she had not had an offseason since playing college basketball more than a decade earlier. Such offers have often been made to star American players, including Taurasi herself, but none were accepted until Taurasi did so in The injury came at a time when the WNBA and its players' union were preparing to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,  following the union's announcement in November that it would opt out of the current CBA after the season.
While these players do not necessarily play as many games as NBA players do in their seasons, even participants in the NBA Finals get several months of rest in the offseason, something not available for WNBA players who also play overseas.
She hasn't had significant recovery time since before her senior season at UConn. Now, she'll have time away from playing but while going through rehab and physical therapy.
The current CBA, which took effect in , significantly increased minimum and maximum salaries. WNBA players are awarded bonuses for certain achievements.
The following shows the top jersey sales during the regular season , based on sales through the WNBA's official online store.
Three players made their top debuts this season—rookies and college teammates Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally, and year veteran Courtney Vandersloot.
Ionescu suffered a severe ankle sprain in her third game and missed the rest of the season. The following shows the top teams in merchandise sales during the regular season.
The title of the league's chief executive was "President" before Cathy Engelbert became the first "Commissioner". Attendance per game stayed consistent at around 7, per game.
In , the WNBA's attendance per game decreased by 3. This was a record low for the WNBA since it was created in President Laurel Richie stated that after the season ends, they will create an expansion committee and begin evaluating if and how the WNBA should go about expanding their reach.
The and seasons each set the lowest average attendance in WNBA history 6, and 6, Ronda Rousey pro wrestling. Tessa Virtue figure skating.
For the WNBA's day 1 season ticket holders, was the first season in the history of the league they weren't able to cheer their teams on in person.
A ball goes up and a roar builds in a packed stadium. Kelly Loeffler R-Ga. Raphael Warnock D , whom she faces next month in a Georgia runoff electionthat will help determine control of the Senate.
This is the second year in a row the new team in Brooklyn will pick first overall in the draft. President-elect Biden will receive his first daily briefing Monday as his team takes shape, including an all-female communications team.
His holiday weekend took an unexpected turn when he injured his foot while playing with his dog. College basketball is once again underway.
For WNBA fans, it marks the beginning of another winter full of speculation and evaluation. This will be the second consecutive first overall pick held by New York as well as the second time the franchise has held the prize in their history.
HuffPost News. Send MSN Feedback. How can we improve? Ten days before she turns 40, point guard Sue Bird steered the Storm to their fourth title, breaking records along the way.
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