The league has had 18 different franchises since its start in 1997, and 12 remain in the league today. Of the eight original teams, four are still active. Cleveland (2003), Charlotte (2006), Houston (2008), and Sacramento (2009) folded after varying lengths of time in the league.
The defending champion Minnesota Lynx come in to the 2018 season looking to repeat in the Finals to become just the third team to win back-to-back championships. The Houston Comets won four straight in the first four years of the league, followed by two consecutive championships by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2000 and 2001. Another championship would also put the Lynx alone atop the list with five championships. The Lynx could also clinch their eighth straight 20-win season, eighth consecutive playoff appearance, and fourth straight WNBA Finals appearance.
Next, shift the focus to regular season totals.
The Chicago Sky enter the summer with an eye on returning to the Playoffs after missing out last year following four consecutive trips, including a Finals appearance in 2014. A 9-game turnaround to win at least 21 games this summer would propel the Sky to the franchise’s 200th win; the second-newest team in the league enters the season with 179 wins and 229 losses.
On the other hand, the Connecticut Sun returned to the Playoffs last summer after four years out. The franchise will play its 20th WNBA season going for win 300 as the Sun and win 350 for the franchise overall. The team spent four years as the Orlando Miracle (1999 – 2002), compiling a 60 – 68 record. Since moving to Connecticut, the team is 279 – 231. With 11 wins, the franchise will reach 350 wins, and the 10th subsequent win would be the 300th as the Sun.
The Las Vegas Aces will play their first game in their new location after relocating from San Antonio, the home of the franchise from 2003 to 2017. In the same season, the franchise will be one of six playing their 700th WNBA game:
- Los Angeles and Phoenix will each play their 700th games when they face off at Staples Center on May 27. As two of the league’s original franchises, each team enters the season with 696 regular season games played. Coming in to the 2018 season with 424 franchise wins, the Sparks could also clinch their 450th win this year.
- The Aces will play their 700th game in Seattle against the Storm on May 31. With at least nine wins on the season, Las Vegas could put the franchise over 300 wins in its history.
- The New York Liberty will play game 700 in Indianapolis against the Fever on June 2. With a record-tying 29-win season, the Liberty could reach win 400, and at least 20 wins would give them their fourth consecutive 20-win season.
- The Dallas Wings — formerly the Detroit Shock (1998 – 2009) and Tulsa Shock (2010 – 2015) — enter the season having played 668 regular season games. Their 700th as a franchise (and 100th as the Wings) will come on the road against Connecticut on August 14. Coming in to the season with 296 franchise wins, they will almost certainly get their 300th win this year.
- Lastly, the Washington Mystics, who entered the WNBA as an expansion team along with Detroit in 1998, will play their 700th game on August 15 on the road against the Fever. Coming in to 2018 with 273 wins, a huge regular season could get the franchise to 300 wins.
To close out, let’s take a quick look back at last season:
- In 2017, the Seattle Storm played their 600th regular season game on August 16, when they got a win over the Minnesota Lynx at home. They went on to close out the season 3 – 3 to round out the franchise’s overall record at a perfect 0.500 at 303 – 303.
- The Indiana Fever entered the league as an expansion team along with the Storm in 2000, so they likewise played their 600th game last year. Theirs was a loss in Washington on August 12.
|Franchise||Seasons in League||Wins||Losses||Total||Winning Percentage|
|Las Vegas Aces||21||291||405||696||0.418|
|Los Angeles Sparks||21||424||272||696||0.609|
|New York Liberty||21||371||325||696||0.533|