Women’s basketball has gained popularity in the past few decades, owing mainly to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). As WNBA enters its 25th season, let us take a look at some of the best women basketball players in WNBA. These women are the pride of the nation, their state teams, and the league teams they played in.
Below is a list of some of the top WNBA players.
The American born player, known for her incredible set of skills, plays for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA, Dynamo Kursk and the US National team. Augustus ranks 11th in league history with 5,836 points and is sixth with a 48.2 shooting percentage. One of the highest-paid players in WNBA history, she earned $110,000 in 2019 while being with Minnesota Lynx.
One of the greatest women players to embrace the game, Teresa holds the inaugural WNBA defensive player award of the year. She holds the record for the most iconic shot in New York’s basketball history. Teresa was among the most electrifying defenders the game has ever seen, and her will to succeed is what makes her one of the top picks for the list.
Tina is widely known and accepted in the WNBA as the most powerful forward. Playing alongside Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes at the age of 22, Tina made a name for herself, being a rookie in front of the two icons. Tina’s versatile play and her wrecking of defenders was a sight to witness.
The four-time champion, nine times all-star champ, and two-time gold medalist played her basketball for Comets till 2008, when they prematurely folded. Tina played for Sparks and Storms afterwards. She averaged 17.7 points in her final season at the age of 38. When she retired in 2013, she was the all-time highest WNBA scorer and third all-time rebounder.
She was the face of the league. Every kid growing in the 2000s knew her. Lisa was a founding member of the league; she joined Los Angeles Sparks in 1977 after a truly remarkable performance in the 1996 Olympics.
Besides being a true professional on the court, Lisa was a gentle giant made for Hollywood. She used to be everywhere, from making guest appearances on Moesha, Martin, and Sister, Sister, among others and promoted the WNBA itself.
She was a three-time MVP, two-time defensive player of the year, two-time final MVP of the year, eight-time all-star, and four-time gold medalist. She earned an endless list of accolades. The 2002 season was her best, and she had 3000 total career points, led the Sparks to their second straight title in 2002 and made history by being the first-ever woman to dunk in a WNBA game. She retired in 2009, passing on the torch to the newcomer at Sparks, Candace Parker.
The GOAT of the WNBA, Diana is the all-time leading scorer in the WNBA, and she is still breaking and making new records in every game she plays. It has already been three years since Diana surpassed Tina Thompson on the all-time scoring charts. She missed a majority of the 2019 season due to injury but still managed to add another 1000 points to her already huge tally.
She has 3 NCAA Titles, 4 Olympic gold medals, and 3 WNBA titles. More so, she has six Euro League titles and a slew of other overseas championships to her name. She’s an MVP and a two-time Finals MVP, and before the age of 30, she was already voted as one of the 15 greatest WNBA players to ever play the game.
Considered to be the most loved and also the most tenaciously gifted player to ever represent the Indiana State, Tamika is an all-time, all-around great of the game. She only played for the Indiana State team from her start in 2002 to her retirement in 2016 and helped them in winning the 2012 championship, the first in their history.
Tamika is an NCAA champion, a Rookie of the Year, a five-time Defensive Player of the Year, an MVP, and a four-time Olympic gold medalist. And if we go on to rank the greatest people of all times, it’s a clean sweep for Tamika.
The four-time Olympic Gold Medalist is the heart and soul of the history of Seattle, the best basketball player Seattle ever produced.
Lauren was a running, jumping contradiction; her combination of excellent height, athleticism and skill made her simply unprecedented. In her time at Seattle Storm, Lauren was a seven-time All-Star, 3-time WNBA MVP, and two-time league champion in 2004 and 2010. By the age of 21, Lauren was by far the most famous and accomplished Women Australian basketball player of all time.
Cynthia Cooper is the finest example of superstars not dimming with age in the WBNA. The USC legend won 2 MVPs and four consecutive Finals MVPs from age 34 to 37 as a member of the Houston Comets, whom she led to a .803 regular-season winning percentage through the WNBA’s infancy.
At the time when there was no Twitter or any other medium to cover her records in the 90s, Cooper was scoring an average of 36.7 points per game and leading her Italian league, year after year. In addition to the seven individual MVP accolades, Cynthia Cooper dominated the WNBA in scoring charts from 1997 to 1999. She retired after winning her 4th title but returned to the Comets in 2003 and became the first 40-year-old to play in a WNBA game.
She is the only player in WNBA history to rack up a playoff triple-double. Dubbed “the female Michael Jordan,” she was the first woman to sign a major basketball shoe deal. She started her WNBA career just six weeks after giving birth.
The 1993 Naismith College Player of the Year burst onto the mainstream scene as a member of the 1996 US Women’s Basketball team that won gold in Atlanta. By that time, she had already teamed up with Nike to introduce the Air Swoopes, the first (and, to date, only) signature women’s basketball shoe. To put it sweetly, Swoopes was primed for professional stardom. She was baptized into a dynasty.
Yolanda Griffith was named league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Newcomer of the Year as a 29-year-old rookie. The tenacious offensive rebounder averaged a double-double in her first three seasons, and Dawn Staley has dubbed her the “loose ball queen” as she never took a playoff. Yolanda won the WNBA title in 2005 and was also rewarded with a finals MVP for her underrated but dominant display.
Yolanda played until she literally couldn’t; having torn her Achilles tendon in 2009 while playing for Indiana, she decided at the age of 39 to wrap up her historic playing career. From there onwards, Coach Yolanda Griffith made her coaching stops at Dartmouth, Lafayette College, and Albany before she settled down at Boston College as an assistant to Joanna Bernabei-MacNamee.
There are many competent women basketball players in the WNBA and to rank them as the best women basketball players is no easy task; however, the aforementioned players are some of the most decorated in the WNBA’s short journey so far. More and more women basketball players are emerging nowadays, and they all see the above icons as their motivation in trying to get to the top.