(WNBA) was established in 1996 by the American Basketball League (ABL). After the merger of ABL and WNBA, a new league was formed in which 12 teams would be part of a single circuit. This is regarded as the official establishment of the WNBA. Players from the NBA were recruited to play in the WNBA as a “soft launch” for this new league.
The first four years of the WNBA included eight teams as two different groups as East and West Division. In 1999, three more franchises were added – bringing up the tally to 11 teams each in the east and the west division.
A Brief Statistical History of Women’s Professional Basketball in America
The Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL) was established in Minnesota in the year 1978 and continued till the end of 1981. This league gained success and popularity through television media.
In 1993, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was formed with 14 teams competing in two divisions – Eastern and Western Conference. The WNBA officially became part of the USA Basketball program in 1997.
Facts about the WNBA Dunking
The first ever dunk was performed by Lisa Leslie of L.A. Sparks on June 21st ,1997 during a regular season game against New York Liberty at Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California.
Prior to this event, only men have been allowed to dunk in professional basketball.
How Many Dunks Have There Been in the WNBA
Since the beginning of the WNBA in 1997 till the end of 2012, there have been 3308 dunks made by 656 players. The number of total dunks per year has increased since 2003.
The greatest dunking seasons were between 2008 to 2010 – with an average of 956 individual dunkers each year. This particular statistic is quite high as compared to the NBA – where there has only been an average of 639 individual dunks by players per season.
Back in 2006, there were hardly 40-50 joint dunkers during any particular regular season game. This number increased to an average of about 90 joint dunks each year between 2009 and 2012.
Most of these dunks were performed by players who were 6 feet 7 inches tall and above – accounting for more than 59% of all individual dunks. Only 8 players in the WNBA dunked the ball who were below 5 feet 9 inches tall.
The average number of joint dunkers each year has increased since 2009, with an average of about 110-112 players combining for a single dunk.
The first player to perform a double ankle suspension was Seimone Augustus on May 17th, 2009 during a regular season game against the Phoenix Mercury at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Injuries from WNBA Dunking
An injury was reported during a game between Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm on July 19, 2004 when a player fell on her back after performing a two-handed power dunk
This resultantly led the league to ban the performance of consecutive dunks during any game. However, this rule did not stop the players of WNBA from dunking. The league did not pay much attention to enforcing this ban and was considered more as a safety measure rather than a consequence.
The WNBA Dunking Effect on the Scoring
Since the beginning of the league in 1997, there has been a significant upward trend in terms of player and team scoring. The average points per game increased from 73 to 81 – right up till 2011.
Discussion on Social Media Trends and Potential for Female Athlete Jumping Higher
There is a growing number of social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram which are entirely dedicated to women’s basketball. This currently gives the WNBA more publicity than ever before. Furthermore, more and more people are uploading pictures and videos showcasing high flying dunks performed by female athletes.
These factors play a significant role in the increasing number of joint dunks as well as dunks by females. With the continued support from fans and social media, it is projected that there will be a large number of joint dunks performed every season
This represents a great evolution in women’s basketball – one where players do not hesitate to celebrate their athletic prowess with slam dunk shots which have long been considered a male privilege.
The great thing about WNBA dunking is that it has the potential to help the athletes improve their standing in society and open up possibilities for more endorsements and sponsorship deals.