NEW YORK (AP) — It’s already been a memorable year for the WNBA and the playoffs don’t start until Thursday.
From the draft-day shocker that saw former league MVP Tina Charles land with the New York Liberty to the Phoenix Mercury’s record-setting 29 victories, the league had many remarkable moments in its 18th season. Young stars Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins developed in their second seasons while veterans Diana Taurasi and Angel McCoughtry shined.
Here’s a look back at five noteworthy events from the regular season which finished Sunday.
SISTER ACT: Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike squared off on the court for the first time in their careers. Nneka earned family bragging rights as her Los Angeles Sparks came away with a pair of victories over Chiney and the Connecticut Sun. It was one of a handful of sister matchups in the history of the WNBA, according to the league.
SHONI TIME: Atlanta rookie Shoni Schimmel turned the All-Star game into her own personal showcase, scoring a league-record 29 points and handing out eight assists to lead the Eastern Conference to a 125-124 victory in the event’s first overtime game. Schimmel was hitting shots from all over the court and outdueled Diggins, who put up 27 points for the West.
STREAKING MERCURY: The Phoenix Mercury rattled off 16 straight victories, the second-longest winning streak in league history. Led by Taurasi and Griner, the Mercury didn’t lose from June 15-July 30 before seeing the streak end at Minnesota on July 31. Phoenix fell just short of Los Angeles’ record 18-game run in 2001. The Mercury got a small measure of revenge, ending the Lynx’s 11-game winning streak nine days later in Phoenix.
PRIDE: The WNBA became the first major sports league to specifically recruit gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender fans to its games. The marketing campaign which included having teams participate in local pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups to raise awareness of inclusion through grassroots events and advertising with lesbian media, culminated with a nationally televised game between Tulsa and Chicago on June 22.
OH, MAYA: Maya Moore raised her game to a new level this season, leading the league in scoring with 23.9 points a game. She scored 30 points or more in four straight games and surpassed that mark 12 times this season. Both are WNBA records. Her greatest game though, was a 48-point effort in a double-overtime win over Atlanta in late July. That was the second-highest scoring effort in a single game in league history.
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