Friday, June 5, 2009

WNBA is returning this month

By Anthony Caruso III

The WNBA is returning this afternoon. The Women's Pro Baseball Leagues tips off action at 2:30 eastern time when the Detroit Shock travels to Los Angeles to play the Sparks.

The league is currently composed of thirteen teams around the United States. The league was founded in 1996 as the women's counterpart to the NBA, and began to play in 1997. This is their 12th overall season. Only the Connecticut Sun and Seattle Storm do not share the same city as an NBA team.

While nearly every team is returning from last season, there is a glaring whole that may never be replaced. The Houston Comets had to be disbanded by the league office after there was no potential buyers in this tough economic times.

The Comets won the first 4 league Championships from 1997-2000. The Comets were headlined by Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes, and Cynthia Cooper, while they were coached by Van Chancellor. The Comets would not win another title after their 2000 Championship.

Hilton Koch, a Houston-area businessman, bought the Comets in January 2007 and decided later that year that he would move the team from the Toyota Center to the Reliant Arena for the 2008 season. The Comets lost fan interest after the move as they averaged 6,000 fans per game and only sold out 4 games. Reliant Arena can only hold 7,200, while the Toyota Center can hold 13,000 people.

Koch put the team up for sale with a $10 million asking price after the 2008 season. But no potential buyers stepped up to the plate. The WNBA would eventually take over management of the Comets and would later announce that they would cease operations in December 2008.

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