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A Look Back At The WNBA Inaugural Game

WNBA

On June 21, 1997, the WNBA played there first-ever game between the New York Liberty against Los Angeles Sparks. The game was played in front of 14,284 fans at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. New York won the game 67-57.

Then WNBA Commissioner Val Ackerman tossed up the ceremonial jump ball between Lisa Leslie and Kym Hampton. Sparks guard Penny Toler scored the first basket of the game at the 19:01 mark of the game.

New York Liberty

New York featured players like Rebecca Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon, Vickie Johnson, and Hampton. Lobo led the Liberty in scoring with 16 points, adding six rebounds and three blocked shots. Weatherspoon only had three points but dished out ten assist and four steals. Johnson and Hampton both added as 13 points as the Liberty got the victory.

Los Angeles Sparks

For the Sparks, Leslie had 16 points and 14 rebounds, she was tied with Lobo for the game leader in points but did lead the game in rebounding. Toler added 15 points, and Mwadi Mabika, Haixa Zheng, added eight points off the bench.

Both teams played with heart and passion. You can see that the players loved playing the game. The Liberty shot 43.3% from the field, and the Sparks struggled shooting 30.9% from the field. New York turned the ball over 19 times and Los Angeles 25 times, combing 44 turnovers in the game.

The Liberty finished the season 17-11 and went to play the Houston Comets in the WNBA Finals, where they lost to the Comets. Los Angeles missed the playoffs going 14-14.

The WNBA first featured three feature Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame players. Lobo, Weatherspoon, and Leslie all are Basketball Hall of Famers. This was a very iconic moment in women’s sports. Years later, the league is still around turning over new milestones with the new CBA improvements for the players. Hopefully, the WNBA be around for many more years.

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