San Antonio Stars
The San Antonio Stars are one of 12 teams comprising the WNBA, which was created on April 24, 1996, when the NBA Board of Governors approved the concept for a women’s league. The first WNBA game was played in June 1997 and recent rule changes in the league, including an eight-second backcourt and 24-second shot clock, have pushed up tempo and scoring league-wide.
The Utah Starzz, one of the WNBA’s eight founding franchises, moved to San Antonio in 2003 to become the San Antonio Stars. The team posted a 20-14 record during the 2007 season and made their first playoff appearance since moving to San Antonio. The Stars beat Sacramento, 2-1, in the Western Conference Semifinals to set-up a show-down with Phoenix in the 2007 Western Conference Finals; 14,592 fans packed the AT&T Center on Aug. 30 for Game 1 of the Stars-Mercury series, which saw the Stars suffer a heart-breaking 102-100 loss. After clinching the series in Game 2 in Phoenix, the Mercury went on to claim the 2007 WNBA Championship, beating Detroit in five games.
After falling to the Phoenix Mercury in the 2007 Western Conference Finals, 2008 proved to be the year of the Stars as they finished the season with a franchise- and league-best 24-10 record. The Stars went on to have their most successful post-season to date: the Stars beat Sacramento, 2-1, in the Western Conference Semi-Finals and then topped Los Angeles in the Western Conference Finals, 2-1, to make their first WNBA Finals appearance in franchise history. Their victory over Los Angeles included a Game 2 buzzer-beater from Sophia Young to keep the Stars from being eliminated. After a tough battle, the Stars fell to the Shock, 3-0, in the WNBA Finals
The 2008 season saw Vickie Johnson become the only player in WNBA history to accumulate 4,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career; Johnson also picked up her first Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award after she announced her retirement.
Coming off of their first trip to the WNBA Finals in franchise history, the Stars finished the 2009 season with a 15-19 record. They again reached the postseason but lost to the Phoenix Mercury, 2-1, in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals. All-Star Becky Hammon averaged a career-high 19.5 points per game, ranking her second in the league in scoring.
The Stars finished the 2010 season with an overall record of 14-20. They clinched the no. 3 seed in the 2010 Western Conference Semifinals, marking the fourth consecutive season that the Stars have advanced to the playoffs. San Antonio had a league-high four players named to the WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun game, held on July 10 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., including: Becky Hammon (the no. 2 overall vote-getter, with 116,391), rookie center Jayne Appel (69,316), center Michelle Snow (67,906) and forward Sophia Young (65,974).
The current roster has been shaped by Dan Hughes, who was named the Stars head coach in Jan. 2005, took over general manager duties in Aug. 2005 then stepped down as head coach to focus solely on his managerial duties in Feb. 2010. His first big move with the organization came on Feb. 9, 2006, when the Stars signed WNBA veteran Vickie Johnson; Hughes then selected Baylor All-American Sophia Young with the fourth overall pick of the 2006 WNBA Draft. On April 4, 2007, the Stars completed perhaps the biggest trade in franchise history, obtaining All-Star Becky Hammon from New York in exchange for Jessica Davenport, the second pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, to the Liberty in a draft day deal. Hammon, Johnson and Young enjoyed stellar seasons during the 2007 campaign; notably, Hammon led the WNBA in assists (5.0 apg) and ranked fifth in the league in scoring (18.8 ppg), leading her to be named to the WNBA First Team and was runner-up for the league’s MVP Award.