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" Toler said. Her double-double (22 points/10 assists) was the 19th of … The Seattle Storm concluded a dominant season by defeating the Washington Mystics, 3-0, in the 2018 WNBA Finals. "He was stuck in traffic," Ackerman said. she said, smiling at the memory. "So that's my funny memory of the first shot.

It was on this day, June 21st, 1997, that the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks played in the first ever WNBA game. (1:12)Penny Toler grew up in Washington D.C., started college basketball in San Diego, transferred and became a star at Long Beach State, and then went overseas to have a professional basketball career. But all things considered, though, no one should have expected it would.The bottom line, though: The WNBA was off the ground. I felt like a rock star, and hadn't even played a game yet.

She saw a billboard alongside the highway with a picture of herself and Leslie, along with the "We Got Next" slogan advertising the upcoming game. But looking back on it, it's an honor I love to have. It was really here for us to be able to perform in America, and we're starting out in L.A. What a place to start: East Coast, West Coast. The Saturday afternoon game was televised by NBC, and the president of the new league, Val Ackerman, tossed up a ceremonial jump ball between Los Angeles' Lisa Leslie and New York's Kym Hampton.Throughout the 2016 WNBA season, espnW will look back at the league's 20-year history and focus on the current stars and storylines. Not afraid to play the game, but we wanted to do well because it was televised. 1 seed after finishing with a 26-8 record. "So that created some chaos at the beginning. In her second WNBA appearance, Ionescu proved why she was the No. At the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, the New York Liberty would win 67 – 57.The first points were scored by Los Angeles Sparks guard Penny Toler. She scored the first basket in the first WNBA game -- New York at Los Angeles -- on June 21, 1997.In the moment, the magnitude of those two points didn't really register with her.

She was disappointed to launch the Sparks' franchise with a loss, especially at home, where 14,284 fans had attended.

"Ackerman and then fellow NBA executive Rick Welts were on hand, as was Buss. "Lobo's Liberty teammate Teresa Weatherspoon was nearly eight years older than her, and like Toler had played a long time overseas before the WNBA launched. At the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles, the New York Liberty would win 67 – 57. "All those games I'd watched as a kid, the Celtics-Lakers games, it was in that building, on that court," said Lobo, who finished the first game with 16 points and six rebounds. Really? "Rebecca Lobo, a 1995 UConn grad and 1996 Olympic gold medalist who played for the Liberty, had her own revelation on the bus ride from the airport to the team's hotel. The Liberty would have an outstanding inaugural WNBA season, reaching the finals where they lost to Cynthia Cooper and the Houston Comets. I did that?She later asked teammate Daedra Charles, who had missed an earlier shot, if she had realized its potential significance. The teams combined for 44 turnovers. And 15 years since its inception, the WNBA is alive and well.It was on this day, June 21st, 1997, that the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks played in the first ever WNBA game. The league was founded on April 22, 1996, as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association (NBA), and league play started in 1997. "The night before the game, we were all talking about how afraid we were. As everyone involved readily acknowledges, it showcased neither team at its best. Lobo thought about how many thousands of people had been driving by that billboard.Then, on the court at the Great Western Forum on game day, Lobo flashed back to her memories of growing up an NBA fan. "I remember being on the bus [going to the game], and we all were looking at each other like, 'It's time.' They had to use a recording of the anthem. Now it was the WNBA's turn, and it was the league that would last.When reporters began asking Toler about scoring the first basket, and she had to think about it for a second. This was the late 1980s, and whatever dream she had then of competing professionally in the United States was only that. "It all was like one giant introduction party for a brand-new league," Welts said. "We were scared to death. The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is a professional basketball league in the United States. It was not a well-played game.

Welts, now president/chief of operations for the Golden State Warriors, has vivid memories of the first WNBA game, too. Check out the highlights below, and find complete coverage Not everything went according to plan, though. Augustus, Seimone Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx passing the ball over Atlanta Dream players en route to a three-game sweep of Atlanta and the franchise's first WNBA title, 2011. She was just glad that after some nervous trips down the court by both teams, the ball had finally gone in the basket. But I think my energy came on because I knew something incredible was happening right now. "But another thing I remember is the fans being so excited and passionate. A dream.So picture how truly emotional it was for her in June 1997 to be in Inglewood, California, driving to the Great Western Forum -- longtime home of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers -- and seeing ... herself.

It felt big. The first points were scored by Los Angeles Sparks guard Penny Toler. Some people were even crying. In the 2005 WNBA All-Star Game, Leslie had also become the first WNBA player to dunk in an all-star game.

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