Women's Pro Basketball

There was a time when the pro basketball season ended, hoops fans had to wait until the next winter until their favorite sport came back. That was until 13 years ago, when the WNBA saved the day.

The League: Beginning its 13th season, the WNBA provides fans with professional basketball all throughout the summer, a welcome change for die-hard fans. It also provides a next step for great women's college basketball players. Just like their male counterparts, women's college players look forward to playing in a professional league, matching skills with the best players on the planet.

Teams: There are 13 teams in the WNBA, split into two conferences. The Eastern Conference teams are: the Washington Mystics, Connecticut Sun, Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Detroit Shock, Indiana Fever and New York Liberty. The Western Conference teams are: the Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Phoenix Mercury, Sacramento Monarchs, San Antonio Silver Stars and the Seattle Storm.

Players: Over the years, many WNBA players have become household names. Perhaps the most famous women's basketball player of all time is Lisa Leslie. She is the WNBA's all-time leading scorer with over 5,900 points! Other well-known players are Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks, Cappie Pondexter of the Phoenix Mercury, Katie Smith of the Detroit Shock, Becky Hammon of the Silver Stars and Sue Bird of the Storm. Like players in the NBA, these athletes made a name for themselves in college and continue to play great basketball in the WNBA.

Champs: The Detroit Shock are the reigning WNBA champs, meaning they won last year's title. Detroit has won three titles overall, including 2003 and 2006.

Connection with the NBA: It's no secret that the NBA is a popular league. Tens of thousands of people attend every game and millions more watch on TV. Its players are known all around the world. The WNBA has done a great job of modeling their league after the NBA. Many of the teams play in the same arenas and have the same colors. For example, the Los Angeles Sparks play in the same arena as the Los Angeles Lakers, and both teams wear purple and yellow uniforms.

Just because its summer doesn't mean that basketball fans have to go without their favorite sport. Thanks to the WNBA, fans can watch the world's best players all year long.

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