WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RESEARCH is an organization governing research
on leagues for women in the United States. Women's Basketball Research serves as a digital
clearinghouse of information about Women's professional basketball with a focus on Pioneer League Research.
For more information on research or contributing material email Journal@BasketballResearch.us
Main article: Women's Pro Basketball League
The Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL) was a professional women's basketball league in the United States. The league played three seasons from the fall of 1978 to the spring of 1981. The league is generally considered to be the first American professional women's basketball league to be founded. The league began with a player draft held in Manhattan's Essex House in July 1978, with eight teams participating. By November 1981, the league was showing what The New York Times described as "feeble flickers of life", and cited commissioner Dave Almstead as saying that the league was defunct, having had generated $14 million in losses in its three years on the court.
The league was called the WABA and WWBA for the first All-Star tour in 1992, before settling on WBA. The Women's Basketball Association (WBA) was a professional women's basketball league in the United States. The league played three seasons from the summer of 1993 to the summer of 1995. The league is considered to be the first American professional women's basketball league to be successful as a SUMMER league, like the WNBA.
WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION 1993 - 1996 [Played three full seasons with plans to play as a 12-team league in 1997, disbanded before 1997 season]
A summer league formed in 1992, the WBA played a 15-game schedule and games were broadcast on Liberty Sports of Dallas. When FOX Sports purchased Liberty Sports and the WBA, they disbanded the league.1993 WBA AMERICAN CONFERENCE W L Pct. GB Nebraska Express 13 2 .867 .. Missouri Mustangs 10 5 .667 3 Oklahoma Cougars 3 12 .200 10
WORLD CONFERENCE W L Pct. GB Kansas Crusaders 10 5 .667 .. Iowa Unicorns 5 10 .333 5 Illinois Knights 4 11 .267 6
MVP: Sarah Campbell
WBA FIRST ROUND Iowa 119, Missouri 103 Missouri 98, Iowa 93 Missouri 117, Iowa 112 (OT)
Kansas 92, Oklahoma 77, Kansas 114, Oklahoma 64 Nebraska 166, Illinois 129 Nebraska 127, Illinois 115
1994 WBA AMERICAN CONFERENCE W L Pct. GB Nebraska Express 10 5 .667 5 Indiana Stars 8 7 .533 7 Oklahoma Flames 3 12 .200 12 Iowa Twisters 1 14 .067 14
NATIONAL CONFERENCE W L Pct. GB Kansas City Mustangs 15 0 1.000 ..
Memphis Blues 10 5 .667 5 St. Louis River Queens 9 6 .600 6 Kansas
Marauders 4 11 .267 11
MVP: Evette Ott, Sarah Campbell
WBA FIRST ROUND Memphis 126, St. Louis 111 Memphis 122, St. Louis 110
Indiana 107, Oklahoma 91 Indiana 103, Oklahoma 91
WBA SECOND ROUND Kansas City 98, Memphis 94 Memphis 101, Kansas City
87 (winner determined by total points - Memphis 195, Kansas City 185)
Nebraska 99, Indiana 89 Nebraska 91, Indiana 87
WBA CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES Memphis 102, Nebraska 101 Nebraska 123, Memphis 108 Memphis 138, Nebraska 128 Nebraska 111, Memphis 101 Nebraska 103, Memphis 101
MVP: Maurtice (Tice) Ivy
1995 WBA American Conference W L Pct. GB Chicago Twisters 15 1 .938 .. Nebraska Express 6 9 .400 8.5 Minnesota Stars 5 10 .333 9.5 Oklahoma Flames 5 10 .333 9.5
National Conference W L Pct. GB St. Louis RiverQueens 9 7 .562 .. Kansas City Mustangs 7 8 .467 1.5 Kentucky Marauders 7 8 .467 1.5 Memphis Blues 7 8 .467 1.5
WBA CHAMPIONSHIP 29 July l995 Chicago 107, St. Louis 96View Pics of WBA All-Stars
Main article: American Basketball League (1996-1998). The American Basketball League, often abbreviated to the ABL of 1996 was an independent professional basketball league for women in the United States. At the same time the ABL was being formed, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was creating the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Both organizations came into existence during a surge in popularity for women's basketball in the United States that followed the undefeated, gold medal-winning performance of the United States Women's basketball team at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The ABL lasted two full seasons: 1996–97 and 1997–98. The Atlanta Glory and Long Beach Stingrays folded prior to the start of the 1998–99 season, and were replaced by two expansion teams, the Chicago Condors and Nashville Noise. On December 22, 1998; with almost no warning, the ABL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and suspended operations. Each team had played between 12 to 15 games of the 1998–99 season.
The ABL got off the ground before, and early on was considered to feature a higher quality of play than, the rival WNBA. This was partly due to the league's signing of a majority of players from the 1996 USA women's national team. Although the WNBA was bankrolled by the NBA, the ABL offered higher salaries. The two leagues didn't compete directly; the ABL played during the winter while the WNBA played during the summer. Despite this, the ABL ultimately found the WNBA's stronger financial resources to be too much to overcome.
Some of the ABL's problems were of its own making. The league operated as a single-entity structure, with practically all operations handled out of headquarters in Palo Alto, California. This hamstrung the teams' efforts to market themselves locally. The ABL was also underfinanced. According to Condors general manager Allison Hodges, she was on her way to a press conference announcing her team's name when the league office called to say the season was canceled. Minutes later, the office called back to say the season was on again. Hodges and the other general managers only found out about the league's shutdown when they were in the middle of their weekly conference call.
All Star Cards: ABL and USA Players available at WNBAcards.com
More HISTORY OF WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL
Compiled by Robert Bradley
ALL-AMERICAN RED HEADS
HAZEL WALKER'S ARKANSAS TRAVELERS
LADIES PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION 1980-81
Formed as a rival league to the WBL when the WBl began to experience financial
NME - New Mexico Energee [Albuquerque, NM] 1980-81
LPBA ARENAS 1980-81
NME - Albuquerque Civic Center, Albuquerque, NM 1980-81
LIBERTY BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION - LBA: 1991
Founded by Jim Drucker, a former Continental Basketball Association
Chicago Slammers [Chicago, IL] 1991NWBL - National Women's Basketball League- In contrast to the ABL, WBA, and the WNBA before it, the NWBL was founded to govern a competitive amateur league for women. The NWBL was founded in 1997, in the shadow of both the ABL and the WNBA. The league is considered to be the brainchild of Patrick Alexander and Kevin Szotkowski, who saw the rapid growth of women's athletics of the time and decided to go into the business of promoting women athletes.
WBCBL - Women's Blue Chip Basketball League. The WBCBL's mission is to provide semi-Professional highly competitive basketball for women age 20 and older, while creating opportunities for economic and educational advancement in local communities. This League is currently active.
Women's ABA - www.wababb.com . This League is currently active.
Main article: WNBA
The Women's National Basketball Association or WNBA is an organization governing a professional basketball league for women in the United States. The WNBA was formed in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association, and league play began in 1997. The regular WNBA season is June to September (North American Spring and Summer). Most WNBA teams play at the same venue as their NBA counterparts. Most team names are also very similar to those of NBA teams in the same market, such as the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx.
Officially approved by the NBA Board of Governors on April 24, 1996, the creation of the WNBA was first announced at a press conference with Rebecca Lobo, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes in attendance. While not the first major women's professional basketball league in the United States (a distinction held by the defunct WBL), the WNBA is the only league to receive full backing of the NBA.
On the heels of a much-publicized gold medal run by the 1996 USA Basketball Women's National Team at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the WNBA began its first season on June 21, 1997 to much fanfare. The league began with eight teams. The first WNBA game featured the New York Liberty facing the Los Angeles Sparks in Los Angeles and was televised nationally, in the United States, on the NBC television network. At the start of the 1997 season, the WNBA had television deals in place with NBC, ESPN and Lifetime Television Network.
The league is divided into two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each of the 13 teams play a 34-game regular season schedule, beginning in June and ending in mid September. The four teams in each conference with the best Win/Loss records go on to compete in the WNBA Playoffs during September with the WNBA Finals in early October.
An All-Star Game is typically held in the middle of July, while regular play stops temporarily for it. In Olympic years, there is no all-star game, but a break of about five weeks in the middle of the WNBA season allows players to participate in the Olympic games as members of their national teams.
There have been a total of 18 teams in WNBA history. A total of 5 teams have folded: the Charlotte Sting, the Cleveland Rockers, Houston Comets, the Miami Sol and the Portland Fire. Two other teams, the Utah Starzz and the Orlando Miracle moved, to San Antonio (Silver Stars) and Uncasville, Connecticut (Sun) respectively, ( WNBA.com )
Steve D. Professional League Research Below:
Note-1- Before the WBL ever began play, a league called the Women's Professional Basketball Association (WPBA) was scheduled to begin play in 1975. These teams were set to be part of the league; Indianapolis Pink Panthers, Arkansas Lassies, Atlanta, Greenville, Nashville and Winston-Salem. The league folded before it ever started.
Note-2 - A new league was formed in 1980 called the Ladies Professional Basketball League (LPBA) was set to compete with the WBL. Molly Bolin left the WBL's Iowa Cornets and signed to play for the Southern California Breeze. These other teams were part of the league also; New Mexico Energee, Oakland Outlaws, Phoenix Flames, San Jose Chips and Tucson Storm. The league folded seven (7) games into the season. Molly Bolin was averaging over 40 points per game at this time.
Note-3 - The National Women's Basketball Association (NWBA) was set to start in 1986 with these teams aboard: California Stars, Georgia Peaches, Pride of Iowa, Louisiana Blues, North Carolina Blaze, Tennessee Tiger-Cats, Texas Twisters and Virginia Express. The league folded right before the season was supposed to start.Note-4 - The Liberty Basketball Association (LBA) actually played one pre-season game before it folded in 1991. The Detroit Dazzlers defeated the LBA All-Stars in the only game played. The league folded soon after leaving these other teams without even playing a game: Chicago Slammers, Los Angeles Lancers, New York Blasters and Philadelphia Freedoms.