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The Best WNBA Players Still Searching For a Ring

via @WNBA on Twitter

Looking at what it takes to make it to the Hall of Fame, it is easy to see that championships matter — a lot. But a number of all-time greats have never held the WNBA Championship Trophy.

For all time, there is no question that Becky Hammon belongs near the top of the list of the “best to never win it.” Despite being a six-time All-Star, twice named to the All-WNBA first team and twice to the second team, Hammon never won it all in 16 seasons in the league.

In the first half of her playing career with the New York Liberty, Hammon reached the WNBA Finals three times. The first two, in 1999 and 2000, the Liberty ran into the end of the Houston Comets four-year dynasty. In 2002, the Liberty were swept in the Finals by Western Conference Champion LA Sparks. After losing in the Conference finals in 2004 and 2005 and missing the playoffs in 2006, Hammon was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars.

There, Hammon reached the Finals for the last time in 2008, where her team was swept by the Detroit Shock.

Hammon now sits at fifth in career assists and twelfth in career points after finishing her playing career with 450 regular season games and 60 more postseason games. Still, none ended in a championship.

Among active players, the “best never” title was applied for a long time to Candace Parker. Before winning it all in 2016, Parker was six-time All-WNBA, two-time All-Defensive Second Team, and the MVP in both her rookie season and 2013.

Then, Elena Delle Donne held the designation until the 2019 season ended with a Washington Mystics championship.

Now, we need a new “best to never win it.” Here are the three frontrunners for the mad-dash 2020 season:


Angel McCoughtry


The former first overall pick won the 2009 Rookie of the Year with the Atlanta Dream, where she played her entire career before joining the Las Vegas Aces this offseason. That first season, Atlanta was swept in the Conference semifinals by Detroit. The next two seasons, the Dream were swept in the WNBA Finals, first by Seattle and then by Minnesota. Two years later, in 2013, Minnesota swept the Dream again.

The next year, Atlanta fell to Chicago in the Conference semifinals, and in 2016 lost to the same Sky team in the second round. McCoughtry then rested for the 2017 season and missed much of the 2018 campaign with an injury as the Dream lost to Washington in the Conference finals. McCoughtry was once again sidelined by injury in 2019.

A primary option on both ends of the court, McCoughtry has the highest active usage percentage and steal percentage of any player. She is a six-time All-Defensive and six-time All-WNBA player. Still, the championship trophy to top it off has proved elusive.


Skylar Diggins-Smith


Despite being one of the league’s marquee names, Diggins-Smith has played in just two career postseason games. The South Bend, Indiana native who stayed home for college to play at Notre Dame was taken third overall in the 2013 by the Tulsa Shock. Diggins-Smith played her entire career with the franchise, moving to Dallas in the 2016 season, but made her intention to play for a new team clear this past offseason.

It was back in her second season in the league that Diggins-Smith first began to shine. After averaging a little over eight points per game in her rookie season, Diggins-Smith won the 2014 WNBA Most Improved Player Award and was named to her first All-Star team. Since then, she has been an All-Star on three more occasions.

In 2015, the Shock made the playoffs for the first time in her career as the third seed in the Western Conference, but Diggins-Smith could only watch the postseason from the sideline due to a torn ACL. The team was swept in its first round by the Phoenix Mercury.

The result was the same for the next two postseason berths. Despite Diggins-Smith averagine 19 points, three rebounds and five assists in those games, the Wings were knocked out in the first round in 2017 and 2018. After missing last season on pregnancy leave, Diggins-Smith’s most recent game action before the bubble came during the national team’s tour through the college ranks.

Her first season with Phoenix Mercury may be her best opportunity so far to win a ring. She is flanked by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, two of her U.S. national team teammates. The chemistry is apparent, and she is already averaging 14.0 points and 4.2 assists per game while shooting over 55% from the field.

Griner, who was taken two spots ahead of Diggins-Smith in the 2013 draft, got her first taste of a championship in 2014. Delle Donne, the second selection, just got her ring last year. Will 2020 be time for the third overall pick to finally win it all?


Courtney Vandersloot


As a starter in her first year in the league — in 2011 — Vandersloot quickly excelled and was named to her first All-Star team. Chicago, which selected her third overall in the draft out of Gonzaga, had not made the playoffs in its franchise history and was still stuck in the mud.

It was not until 2013, when Delle Donne joined and had a Rookie of the Year season and Sylvia Fowles put together a Defensive Player of the Year campaign that Chicago finally made the playoffs. Indiana swept Chicago in the Conference semifinals, but with Vandersloot still leading the offense Chicago charged back in 2014 and reached its first Finals appearance. There, the Sky were swept by the Phoenix Mercury, the closest Vandersloot or Chicago has come to a WNBA championship.

The final two seasons with Pokey Chatman at the helm were both cut short in the playoffs, and the two-season tenure of Amber Stocks ended without a playoff berth. In that time, however, Vandersloot has become one of the game’s great facilitators.

Vandersloot is the all-time leader in assists per game at 6.21. She has led the league in assists three times in her career, including the past two seasons in which she set, and then reset, the single-season assist record. Already in 2020 she is pacing the WNBA with 43. Her success has continued in the postseason, where she holds the WNBA record for assists per game as well, at 7.0. In nine-plus seasons, she is already fifth on the career list, just ahead of Hammon.

Still, Vandersloot is known for more than just her assists, and her leadership on the court helped Chicago end its two-year playoff drought last season. The Sky returned to the playoffs with a 20-14 record and the fifth seed in James Wade’s first season. Following a decisive first round win over Phoenix, plenty of people in Chicago think the Sky had an opportunity to make a much deeper run, but the plans were dashed by an (infamous) half-court shot by Dearica Hamby.

Historically, Vandersloot’s July and August season numbers have dwarfed her early season outputs—she has averaged nearly three more assists per game in those months than in May and June. Lucky for Chicago, in an unusual season that tipped off in late July, Vandersloot looks to already be in peak form.

Honorable mentions not playing this season: Liz Cambage, Jonquel Jones, and Tina Charles.

USWNT to face Costa Rica in final Olympic send-off

uswnt sophia smith and tierna davidson celebrate at shebeilves cup 2024
The USWNT will play their final pre-Olympic friendly against Costa Rica on July 16th. (Photo by Greg Bartram/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday that the USWNT will play their last home game on July 16th in the lead-up to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Send-Off Match against Costa Rica will take place at Washington, DC’s Audi Field — home to both the Washington Spirit and DC United — at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 16th. The friendly rounds out a four-game Olympic run-up campaign under incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ side, with the last two set to feature the finalized 2024 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team roster.

Hayes will appear on the USWNT sideline for the first time this June, helming the team as they embark on a two-game series against Korea Republic hosted by Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado on June 1st followed by Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota on June 4th. 

The team is then scheduled to meet a talented Mexico squad on July 13th at Gotham FC’s Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, where the Olympic-bound lineup will attempt to rewrite February’s shocking 2-0 loss to El Tri Femenil in the group stages of this year’s Concacaf W Gold Cup. And while clear roster favorites have emerged from both of this year’s Gold Cup and SheBelives Cup rosters, a spate of recent and recurring injuries means making it to the Olympics is still largely anyone’s game.

Broadcast and streaming channels for the USWNT's final July 16th friendly at Audi Field include TNT, truTV, Universo, Max, and Peacock.

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA start to serve as 2024 Olympic tryout

Clark of the Indiana Fever poses for a photo with Lin Dunn and Christie Sides during her introductory press conference on April 17, 2024
The talented Fever rookie is still in the running for a ticket to this summer's Paris Olympics. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The USA Basketball Women's National Team is still considering Caitlin Clark for a spot on the Paris Olympics squad, says selection committee chair Jennifer Rizzotti. 

On Monday, Rizzotti told the AP that the committee will be evaluating the college phenom’s Olympic prospects by keeping a close eye on her first few weeks of WNBA play with Indiana.

The move is somewhat unconventional. While Clark was invited to participate in the 14-player national team training camp held earlier this month — the last camp before Team USA’s roster drops — she was unable to attend due to it coinciding with Iowa’s trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

Judging by the immense talent spread throughout the league in what might be their most hyped season to date, competition for a piece of the Olympic pie could be fiercer than ever before.

"You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it's for now or the future," said Rizzotti. "We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It's got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It's still not going to be fair to some people."

Of course, Clark isn’t the first rookie the committee has made exceptions for. Coming off an exceptional college season that saw her averaging 19.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4 assists per game for UConn, Breanna Stewart was tapped to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil less than two weeks after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Eight years prior, fellow No. 1 pick Candace Parker punched her ticket to the 2008 Games in Beijing just two weeks after making her first appearance for the L.A. Sparks.

In the lead-up to Paris’ Opening Ceremony on July 26th, USA Basketball Women’s National Team is scheduled to play a pair of exhibition games. They'll first go up against the WNBA's finest at the July 20th WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix before facing Germany in London on July 23rd.

While an official roster announcement date hasn’t yet been issued, players won’t find out if they’ve made this year’s Olympic cut until at least June 1st.

WNBA teams make history with 2024 season ticket sell-outs

Arike Ogunbowale on the wnba court for the dallas wings
The Dallas Wings are now the third team to sell out their entire season ticket allotment in WNBA history. (Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images)

For the first time in history, three different WNBA teams have completely sold out of season ticket plans well before the league's May 14th kick-off.

Call it the Caitlin Clark effect, attribute it to this year’s tenacious rookie class, or look to the skyrocketing visibility of veteran players across the board. But no matter the cause, facts are facts: Tickets to the 2024 WNBA season are selling like never before. 

On Monday, the Dallas Wings became the third team to sell out of season ticket memberships in the league’s 27-year history. The announcement from Arlington came shortly after the Atlanta Dream issued their own season ticket sell-out statement, also on Monday, and almost seven weeks after the back-to-back WNBA Champion Las Vegas Aces made headlines by becoming the first-ever WNBA team to sell out their season ticket allotment.   

According to the Wings, season ticket memberships will fill nearly 40% of the 6,251 seats inside their home arena, College Park Center. The club also said that their overall ticket revenue has ballooned to the tune of 220% this year, spanning not just season tickets but also a 1,200% increase in single ticket sales. There’s currently a waitlist to become a Dallas season ticket holder, a status that comes with extra incentives like playoff presale access and discounts on additional single-game tickets. 

In Atlanta, season tickets aren't the only thing flying off the shelves. The Dream also announced that they broke their own record for single-game ticket sales during a recent limited presale campaign. Sunday was reportedly their most lucrative day, with five different games totally selling out Gateway Center Arena. Individual tickets for all upcoming matchups will hit the market this Thursday at 8 a.m., while a waitlist for season ticket memberships will open up next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

"Excitement around women's sports, particularly basketball, is at an all-time high and nowhere is that felt more than here in Atlanta," Dream president and COO Morgan Shaw Parker said in the team’s statement. "We’ve continued a record-setting growth trajectory over the past three years under new ownership — both on and off the court — and 2024 is shaping up to be our best season yet."

As of Tuesday, season ticket sales revenue for Caitlin Clark’s hotly anticipated Indiana Fever debut haven’t yet been announced by the club. But if these numbers are any indication — not to mention the explosive demand for Fever away games felt by teams around the country — it won’t be long before we see some scale-tipping figures coming out of Indianapolis.

Nelly Korda ties LPGA record with fifth-straight tournament win

Nelly Korda of the United States celebrates with the trophy after winning The Chevron Championship
Nelly Korda poses with her trophy after acing her fifth-straight tour title at The Chevron Championship on Sunday. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

25-year-old American pro golfer Nelly Korda secured her spot in LPGA history on Sunday, notching her fifth-straight title at this weekend's Chevron Championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Ranked No. 1 in the world by Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Korda joins Nancy Lopez (1978) and Annika Sörenstam (2005) as just the third LPGA player to rack up five consecutive tour wins. She is also the third No. 1-ranked player to capture The Chevron Championship victory since the rankings debuted in 2006, accompanied by Lorena Ochoa and Lydia Ko.

The Florida native shot three-under 69 in Sunday's final, besting Sweden's Maja Stark despite Stark's valiant come-from-behind attempt in the 18th. Korda finished with a four-day total of 13-under 275, celebrating her two-stroke win by cannonballing into Poppie's Pond, much to the crowd's delight. She left The Club at Carlton Woods with $1.2 million from an overall purse of $7.9 million.

It wasn't long ago that the two-time major champion's current winning streak seemed unimaginable. After maintaining her No. 1 position for 29 weeks, Korda underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from her left arm in 2022. She returned to the course not long after, but failed to win a single tournament in 2023 before seeing a surge in form during the first four months of 2024. As of today, she hasn't lost a tournament since January.

Korda will attempt a record sixth-straight win at next week's JM Eagle LA Championship at Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, where she'll vie for a cut of the $3.75 million purse.

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