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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.

2009 WNBA season
LeagueWomen's National Basketball Association
DurationJune 6 – October 9
Number of games34
Number of teams13
Total attendance1,776,536
Average attendance8,039
TV partner(s)ABC, ESPN, NBA TV
2009 WNBA Draft
Top draft pickUnited States Angel McCoughtry
Picked byAtlanta Dream
Regular season
Season MVPUnited States Diana Taurasi (Phoenix)
Eastern championsIndiana Fever
  Eastern runners-upDetroit Shock
Western championsPhoenix Mercury
  Western runners-upLos Angeles Sparks
ChampionsPhoenix Mercury
  Runners-upIndiana Fever
Finals MVPUnited States Diana Taurasi
WNBA seasons

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 offseasonEdit

  • 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 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 draftEdit

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:

  1. Sancho Lyttle, Atlanta Dream
  2. Matee Ajavon, Washington Mystics
  3. Mistie Bass, Chicago Sky

Six of the thirteen teams making selections waived their picks.

2009 WNBA DraftEdit

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:

  1. Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
  2. Marissa Coleman, Washington Mystics
  3. Kristi Toliver, Chicago Sky
  4. Renee Montgomery, Minnesota Lynx
  5. DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix Mercury

Regular seasonEdit


Eastern Conference W L PCT GB Home Road Conf.
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
Western Conference W L PCT GB Home Road Conf.
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

All-Star GameEdit

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.

July 25
3:30 p.m.
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)
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Attendance: 9,518
  1. 44 Felicia Grinter, #42 Roy Gulbeyan, #53 Jeff Smith

Statistic leadersEdit

The following shows the leaders for each statistic during the 2009 regular season.

Category Player Team Statistic
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


2009 WNBA Preseason
2009 WNBA Regular Season
2009 WNBA Postseason

Playoffs and FinalsEdit

Conference Semi-Finals
Conference Finals
WNBA Finals
E1 Indiana 2
E4 Washington 0
E1 Indiana 2
Eastern Conference
E3 Detroit 1
E2 Atlanta 0
E3 Detroit 2
E1 Indiana 2
W1 Phoenix 3
W1 Phoenix 2
W4 San Antonio 1
W1 Phoenix 2
Western Conference
W3 Los Angeles 1
W2 Seattle 1
W3 Los Angeles 2

2009 WNBA season summaryEdit

Season highlightsEdit

  • 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 reportEdit

  • 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%).[1]
  • 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).[2]


Season award winnersEdit

Player of the Week awardEdit

For games
played beginning
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Player Team Player Team
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

Postseason awardsEdit

Award Winner Position Team Votes/Statistic
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
Team Guard Guard Forward Forward Center
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


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ ESPN2 Coverage of WNBA Finals. Accessed 2009-09-16. Archived 2009-09-18.
  2. ^ "Finals Game 1 Ratings". Archived from the original on 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-10-01.

External linksEdit