|2009 WNBA season|
|League||Women's National Basketball Association|
|Duration||June 6 – October 9|
|Number of games||34|
|Number of teams||13|
|TV partner(s)||ABC, ESPN, NBA TV|
|2009 WNBA Draft|
|Top draft pick||Angel McCoughtry|
|Picked by||Atlanta Dream|
|Season MVP||Diana Taurasi (Phoenix)|
|Eastern champions||Indiana Fever|
|Eastern runners-up||Detroit Shock|
|Western champions||Phoenix Mercury|
|Western runners-up||Los Angeles Sparks|
|Finals MVP||Diana Taurasi|
The 2009 WNBA Season was the 13th season of the Women's National Basketball Association. It is the first WNBA season without a Houston franchise, the Comets having folded in December 2008. The season ended with the Phoenix Mercury winning their second championship in three years.
The regular season began with a televised (ABC) meeting between the defending champion Detroit Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks in Los Angeles on June 6. The Connecticut Sun hosted the 9th Annual All-Star Game which was broadcast live on ABC (HD) on July 25.
2008/2009 WNBA offseason
- The new television deal with ESPN will begin during the 2009 season. For the first time ever, teams will be paid rights fees as part of this deal.
- As of the 2009 season, the maximum roster size per team is reduced from 13 to 11. Any team that falls below nine players able to play due to injury, pregnancy or any other factor outside of the control of the team will, upon request, be granted a roster hardship exception allowing the team to sign an additional player or players so that the team will have nine players able to play in an upcoming game or games. As soon as the injured (or otherwise sidelined) player(s) is able to play, the roster hardship player(s) -- not any other player on the roster—must be waived.
- On October 23, 2008, Angela Taylor was named general manager of the Washington Mystics.
- On November 6, 2008, Julie Plank was named head coach of the Washington Mystics.
- On November 20, 2008, Bill Laimbeer was signed to a two-year contract extension as the head coach and general manager of the Detroit Shock.
- On December 1, 2008, the Houston Comets ceased basketball operations.
- On January 5, 2009, the free agent signing period began.
- On February 3, 2009, president Donna Orender announced that the 2009 WNBA All-Star Game is in Connecticut, hosted by the Sun.
- On April 28, 2009, Anne Donovan was named assistant coach of the New York Liberty.
- The WNBA announced the addition of the WNBA LiveAccess system on May 13, 2009. This new feature on WNBA.com will provide fans with free access to more than 200 live game webcasts – the league's most comprehensive offering – throughout the 2009 WNBA season. For the first time, fans around the world will be able to access live game webcasts on individual team web sites. All of the WNBA LiveAccess games will then be archived for on-demand viewing.
- On June 1, 2009, Donna Orender and David Stern announced that the Phoenix Mercury had signed a corporate deal with LifeLock. This would allow the LifeLock name to be on the team uniforms and the court, among other things. This was the first deal of the type in WNBA or NBA history.
- On June 3, 2009, Minnesota Lynx head coach Don Zierden resigned to take an assistant job with Flip Saunders and the Washington Wizards. Assistant coach Jennifer Gillom was promoted to head coach of the Lynx.
- On June 5, 2009, the Los Angeles Sparks signed a corporate deal with Farmers Insurance. This would allow the Farmers Insurance name to be on the team uniforms and the court, among other things. This was the second deal of the type in WNBA or NBA history (after the Mercury).
Houston Comets dispersal draft
On December 8, 2008, the Houston Comets dispersal draft was held. Five former Comets players, Latasha Byears, Mwadi Mabika, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, Michelle Snow and Tina Thompson were free agents and therefore not eligible for this draft. Teams selected based inversely on their 2008 regular season records.
The top picks were:
Six of the thirteen teams making selections waived their picks.
2009 WNBA Draft
The WNBA Draft lottery was held on December 9, 2008. The Atlanta Dream received the first overall selection. The Washington Mystics received the number two selection. The Chicago Sky came up with the third overall selection, followed by the Minnesota Lynx at four and the Phoenix Mercury at number five. For the first time in WNBA history, the lottery balls were chosen exactly according to odds.
The 2009 WNBA Draft was held on April 9 in Secaucus, New Jersey. Coverage of the first round was shown on ESPN2 (in HD for the first time ever) at 3:00pm. Second and third round coverage was shown on ESPNU and NBA TV at 4:00pm.
The top draft picks were as follows:
- Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
- Marissa Coleman, Washington Mystics
- Kristi Toliver, Chicago Sky
- Renee Montgomery, Minnesota Lynx
- DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury
|Indiana Fever x||22||12||.647||–||14–3||8–9||17–5|
|Atlanta Dream x||18||16||.529||4.0||12–5||6–11||10–12|
|Detroit Shock x||18||16||.529||4.0||11–6||7–10||11–11|
|Washington Mystics x||16||18||.471||6.0||11–6||5–12||10–12|
|Chicago Sky o||16||18||.471||6.0||12–5||4–13||10–12|
|Connecticut Sun o||16||18||.471||6.0||12–5||4–13||9–12|
|New York Liberty o||13||21||.382||9.0||8–9||5–12||8–13|
|Phoenix Mercury x||23||11||.676||–||12–5||11–6||13–7|
|Seattle Storm x||20||14||.588||3.0||13–4||7–10||13–7|
|Los Angeles Sparks x||18||16||.529||5.0||11–6||7–10||11–9|
|San Antonio Silver Stars x||15||19||.441||8.0||10–7||5–12||10–10|
|Minnesota Lynx o||14||20||.412||9.0||9–8||5–12||7–13|
|Sacramento Monarchs o||12||22||.353||11.0||7–10||5–12||6–14|
The 2009 WNBA All-Star Game was hosted by the Connecticut Sun on July 25 at Mohegan Sun Arena. Coverage of the game began at 3:30pm on ABC. This marked the second time the Sun had hosted the annual event.
|Western Conference 130, Eastern Conference 118|
|Scoring by quarter: 25-27, 38-33, 36-33, 31-25|
|Pts: Swin Cash (22)
Rebs: Cappie Pondexter (9)
Asts: Sue Bird (10)
|Pts: Sylvia Fowles (17)|
Rebs: Érika de Souza (9)
Asts: Asjha Jones (6)
The following shows the leaders for each statistic during the 2009 regular season.
|Points per game||Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury||20.4|
|Rebounds per game||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks||9.8|
|Assists per game||Sue Bird||Seattle Storm||5.8|
|Steals per game||Tamika Catchings||Indiana Fever||2.91|
|Blocks per game||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks||2.12|
|Field goal percentage||Sylvia Fowles||Chicago Sky||.599 (103-172)|
|Three point FG percentage||Tangela Smith||Phoenix Mercury||.452 (42-93)|
|Free throw percentage||Nicole Powell||Sacramento Monarchs||.979 (94-96)|
|Points per game||Team Stat||Phoenix Mercury||92.82|
|Least points allowed||Team Stat||Seattle Storm||72.82|
|Field goal percentage||Team Stat||Phoenix Mercury||.460|
|Least FG% allowed||Team Stat||Los Angeles Sparks||.399|
Playoffs and Finals
2009 WNBA season summary
- On June 15, 2009, only three games into the Detroit Shock season, seven-year head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer announced his resignation. Rick Mahorn was promoted to head coach, and Cheryl Reeve took over GM duties.
- On July 5, 2009, reigning MVP Candace Parker returned to the court for the first time since giving birth just 53 days earlier.
- On July 12, 2009, Sacramento Monarchs general manager John Whisenant announced that head coach Jenny Boucek would be relieved of her duties after a 3-10 start to the season. Whisenant took over the position while maintaining his GM duties.
- On July 31, 2009, New York Liberty general manager Carol Blazejowski announced that Pat Coyle would be fired as the head coach after a 6-11 start to the season. Assistant coach Anne Donovan took over the job on an interim basis.
- On August 10, 2009, Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie recorded her 6,000th career point in her team's win against the Indiana Fever. Leslie was the first player in WNBA history to reach the 6,000 point plateau.
- On August 15, 2009, Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson recorded her 5,000th career point in her team's loss against the Atlanta Dream. Jackson was the fourth player to reach the 5,000 point plateau; she was, however, the fastest and the youngest to do so.
- On August 17, the Chicago Sky announced a change of home venue, effective with the 2010 season. The team would abandon their original home of UIC Pavilion on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago and move to Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont.
- The Phoenix Mercury averaged a league-best (and highest in WNBA history) 92.8 points per game. Fixed for a 48-minute game (111.4 points per game), the Mercury's average surpassed the highest scoring team in the WNBA.
- The Phoenix Mercury shot 85.5% from the free-throw line. This clip is the best team free-throw percentage in WNBA and NBA history.
- On September 25, 2009, NBA legend Larry Bird purchased about 9,000 balcony tickets to the Indiana Fever vs. Detroit Shock game three of the Eastern Conference Finals. The tickets were then distributed at the Fever box office free-of-charge to fans. Bird had the sole intent of filling the arena to support the Fever, who had never advanced to the WNBA Finals. Announced attendance at the game was 18,165 and the Fever beat the Shock.
- On September 28, 2009, Phoenix Suns general manager Steve Kerr purchased about 7,000 balcony tickets to the Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever game one of the 2009 WNBA Finals. The tickets were then distributed at the Mercury box office free-of-charge to fans. Kerr wanted to follow up Bird's similar action stating that he knows how important a large crowd can be in a Finals series.
End-of-season business report
- The WNBA's regular season on ESPN2 (13 telecasts) concluded with an average of 269,000 viewers, up 8% vs. 2008 season (248,000 viewers). In addition, regular-season games on ESPN2 saw increases in key demographics, including men 18-34 (+9%), men 18-49 (+14%) and men 23-54 (+23%).
- Ratings and viewership for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on ESPN2 were up 39 percent (.43 rating vs. .31 rating for Game 1 of the '08 WNBA Finals) and 59 percent respectively (555,000 viewers vs. 348,000 viewers), making Game 1 the most viewed WNBA game on cable since Game 4 of the '07 WNBA Finals (Shock vs. Mercury) on ESPN2 (669,000).
- On February 5, 2009, center Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks announced that the 2009 season would be her last in the WNBA. Leslie was one of the four remaining players from the WNBA's inaugural season.
- On May 15, 2009, forward Yolanda Griffith of the Indiana Fever announced that the 2009 season would be her last in the WNBA. Griffith was injured in the third game of the season but continued to help the Fever as an assistant coach figure.
- On May 31, 2009, San Antonio Silver Stars guard Vickie Johnson announced that the 2009 season would be her last in the league. Johnson was one of the four remaining players from the WNBA's inaugural season.
- On September 18, 2009, Seattle Storm guard Shannon "Pee Wee" Johnson announced that she would retire at the end of the 2009 season.
- On September 24, 2009, forward Erin Perperoglou of the San Antonio Silver Stars announced that she would not return to the WNBA.
Season award winners
Player of the Week award
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|June 6, 2009||Candice Dupree||Chicago Sky||Seimone Augustus||Minnesota Lynx|
|June 15, 2009||Alana Beard||Washington Mystics||Lauren Jackson||Seattle Storm|
|June 22, 2009||Tamika Catchings||Indiana Fever||Candice Wiggins||Minnesota Lynx|
|June 29, 2009||Tammy Sutton-Brown||Indiana Fever||Cappie Pondexter||Phoenix Mercury|
|July 6, 2009||Alana Beard||Washington Mystics||Cappie Pondexter||Phoenix Mercury|
|July 13, 2009||Shameka Christon||New York Liberty||Cappie Pondexter||Phoenix Mercury|
|July 20, 2009||Asjha Jones||Connecticut Sun||Sue Bird||Seattle Storm|
|July 27, 2009||Katie Douglas||Indiana Fever||Becky Hammon||San Antonio Silver Stars|
|August 3, 2009||Katie Douglas||Indiana Fever||Becky Hammon||San Antonio Silver Stars|
|August 10, 2009||Sancho Lyttle||Atlanta Dream||Diana Taurasi||Phoenix Mercury|
|August 17, 2009||Sandrine Gruda||Connecticut Sun||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks|
|August 24, 2009||Deanna Nolan||Detroit Shock||Sue Bird||Seattle Storm|
|August 31, 2009||Deanna Nolan||Detroit Shock||Vickie Johnson||San Antonio Silver Stars|
|September 7, 2009||Deanna Nolan||Detroit Shock||Candace Parker||Los Angeles Sparks|
|Most Valuable Player Award||Diana Taurasi||Guard||Phoenix Mercury||323 out of 966|
|Finals MVP Award||Diana Taurasi||Guard||Phoenix Mercury||N/A|
|Rookie of the Year Award||Angel McCoughtry||Forward||Atlanta Dream||30 out of 41|
|Most Improved Player Award||Crystal Langhorne||Forward||Washington Mystics||19 out of 40|
|Defensive Player of the Year Award||Tamika Catchings||Forward||Indiana Fever||34 out of 40|
|Sixth Woman of the Year Award||DeWanna Bonner||Guard||Phoenix Mercury||20 out of 38|
|Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award||Kara Lawson||Guard||Sacramento Monarchs||8 out of 38|
|Peak Performer: Points||Diana Taurasi||Guard/Forward||Phoenix Mercury||20.4 PPG|
|Peak Performer: Rebounds||Candace Parker||Forward||Los Angeles Sparks||9.8 RPG|
|Peak Performer: Assists||Sue Bird||Guard||Seattle Storm||5.8 APG|
|Coach of the Year Award||Marynell Meadors||Coach||Atlanta Dream||30 out of 41|
|All-WNBA First Team||Becky Hammon||Diana Taurasi||Cappie Pondexter||Tamika Catchings||Lauren Jackson|
|All-WNBA Second Team||Deanna Nolan||Katie Douglas||Candace Parker||Sophia Young||Lisa Leslie|
|All-Defensive First Team||Tully Bevilaqua||Tanisha Wright||Tamika Catchings||Nicky Anosike||Lauren Jackson|
|All-Defensive Second Team||Alana Beard / Deanna Nolan||Angel McCoughtry||Candace Parker||Sancho Lyttle||Lisa Leslie|
|All-Rookie Team||Renee Montgomery||Shavonte Zellous||Marissa Coleman||Angel McCoughtry||DeWanna Bonner|
- Atlanta Dream: Marynell Meadors
- Chicago Sky: Steven Key
- Connecticut Sun: Mike Thibault
- Detroit Shock: Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn
- Indiana Fever: Lin Dunn
- New York Liberty: Pat Coyle and Anne Donovan
- Washington Mystics: Julie Plank
- Los Angeles Sparks: Michael Cooper
- Minnesota Lynx: Jennifer Gillom
- Phoenix Mercury: Corey Gaines
- Sacramento Monarchs: Jenny Boucek and John Whisenant
- San Antonio Silver Stars: Dan Hughes
- Seattle Storm: Brian Agler
- http://sportsmedianews.com/09/espn2-to-provide-extensive-coverage-of-wnba-conference-semifinals-conference-finals-and-wnba-finals-coverage-begins-wednesday-sept-16/ ESPN2 Coverage of WNBA Finals. Accessed 2009-09-16. Archived 2009-09-18.
- "Finals Game 1 Ratings". Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-01.