The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is an organization governing a professional basketball league for women in the United States. The league was formed in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the NBA. League play started in 1997, the regular season is played from May to August with the playoffs starting in late August running into September.
The WNBA originated with 8 teams in 1997, and through a sequence of expansions, contractions, and relocations currently consists of 13 teams. There have been a total of 18 teams in WNBA history. Most WNBA teams are associated with the NBA team from the same market and are known as sister teams. These teams include the Detroit Pistons and the Detroit Shock, the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Sparks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx, the New York Knicks and New York Liberty, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury, the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Monarchs, the San Antonio Spurs and the San Antonio Silver Stars, and the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. The now defunct Charlotte Sting, Miami Sol and Houston Comets were also sister teams of the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets, respectively. The Seattle Storm was the sister team of the now relocated Seattle SuperSonics. As of the 2009 WNBA season, the Los Angeles Sparks, New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury, Sacramento Monarchs, and the San Antonio Silver Stars (formerly Utah Starzz) are the only remaining franchises that were founded in 1997.
During the regular season, each team plays 34 games, 17 each home and away. In the Western Conference, each team plays the five other teams 4 times each (20 games). Then they each play teams from the Eastern Conference twice (14 games), once on each team's home court. In the Eastern Conference, every team plays two teams in their conference 3 times each and play the remaining four teams 4 times apiece (22 games). Then they each play team from the opposite conference twice (12 games), once on each team's home court. This asymmetrical structure means the strength of schedule will vary significantly between teams. Each team hosts and visits every other team at least once every season.
Women's National Basketball Association. (2009, June 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 23:04, June 8, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Women%27s_National_Basketball_Association&oldid=295266898