25 Greatest WNBA Players of All-Time

25 Greatest WNBA Players of All-Time

Women’s basketball wouldn’t be as popular as it is today if it weren’t for the greatest WNBA players of all-time. They’re the reason why basketball fans around the world respect women and what they bring to the game, especially considering the sport is largely dominated by men. 

Women have been playing basketball ever since the game was invented in the early-1890s, but it wasn’t until the late-1970s that they began playing professionally in the United States. The Women’s Basketball League was founded in 1978, but it only lasted three years before folding.

Over the next 15 years, we saw several professional women’s leagues come and go, but it was the NBA that eventually hit the ground running with the creation of the WNBA – also known as the Women’s National Basketball Association. It was approved in 1996 and began play in 1997. 

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Who Are the Greatest WNBA Players of All-Time?

25 Greatest WNBA Players of All-Time
Dmitriy Argunov / Shutterstock

The WNBA just finished celebrating its 25th season and it’s truly amazing just how far the league has come in such a short time. What once consisted of eight teams now consists of 12 teams – six in each conference – and the regular season has expanded from 28 to 32 games.

The league has evolved greatly over the past 25 years and the players have evolved with it, resulting in a much more exciting and entertaining season. Of course, that doesn’t mean women in the past weren’t talented. In fact, most of the greatest WNBA players of all-time are retired. 

Whether you’re new to the WNBA or a veteran fan of the sport, there’s nothing better than reminiscing about some of the greatest WNBA players of all-time. There are several names that stand out above the rest, but let’s break down the 25 greatest WNBA players of all-time.

25. Swin Cash

Years Active: 2002-2016 (15 seasons)

Teams: New York Liberty, Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, Seattle Storm, Detroit Shock

Career Stats: 479 games, 28.1 minutes, 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks per game

Swin Cash was drafted by the Detroit Shock with the second overall pick in 2002. She’s a four-time All-Star and two-time All-Star MVP. Throughout her 15-year career, she finished with double-digit points in 10 different seasons and at least five rebounds in 10 different seasons. 

24. Becky Hammon

Years Active: 1999-2014 (16 seasons)

Teams: San Antonio Silver Stars, New York Liberty

Career Stats: 450 games, 27.9 minutes, 13.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.1 blocks per game

Becky Hammon went undrafted in 1999, but eventually signed with the New York Liberty. It didn’t take long for her to take over the starting point guard role and was named a team captain in 2004. She’s a six-time All-Star and finished with double-digit points in 11 different seasons. 

23. Nneka Ogwumike

Years Active: 2012-present (10 seasons)

Teams: Los Angeles Sparks

Career Stats: 286 games, 29.2 minutes, 16.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks per game

Nneka Ogwumike was the first overall draft pick in the 2012 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks and has been one of the top players in the league ever since. She has averaged at least 13.3 points per game in each of her 10 seasons, is a fierce rebounder, and steals the ball often. 

22. Ticha Penicheiro

Years Active: 1998-2012 (15 seasons)

Teams: Los Angeles Spark, Chicago Sky, Sacramento Monarchs

Career Stats: 454 games, 28.2 minutes, 6.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.1 blocks per game

Ticha Penicheiro might not have the scoring numbers as some of the other women on this list, but her contributions as a playmaker and defender are unmatched. She averaged at least 6.9 assists per game in each of her first five years and has a career mark of 1.7 steals per game.

21. Cappie Pondexter

Years Active: 2006-2018 (13 seasons)

Teams: Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky, Los Angeles Spark, Indiana Fever, New York Liberty

Career Stats: 416 games, 30.7 minutes, 16.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.2 blocks per game

Cappie Pondexter was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury with the second overall pick in 2006. She was a seven-time All-Star, averaged double-digit points in each of her first 11 seasons, and amassed 20 points per game three times in her career – including 21.4 points per game in 2010.

20. Angel McCoughtry

Years Active: 2009-present (12 seasons)

Teams: Atlanta Dream, Las Vegas Aces

Career Stats: 309 games, 28.1 minutes, 18.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.6 blocks per game

Angel McCoughtry was drafted by the Atlanta Dream with the first overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. After scoring 12.8 points per game as a rookie, she went on to score above 21 points per game in the next four seasons. She only played 24 games in the past three years.

19. Tina Charles

Years Active: 2010-present (11 seasons)

Teams: Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, Washington Mystics

Career Stats: 357 games, 32.5 minutes, 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.0 blocks per game

Tina Charles was the No. 1 overall pick by the Connecticut Sun in 2010, spending her first four years with the team and averaging above 15.5 points per game each season. She averaged above 16.9 points per game over the next six seasons before a career-high 23.4 points per game last season. 

18. Lindsay Whalen

Years Active: 2004-2018 (15 seasons)

Teams: Connecticut Sun, Minnesota Lynx

Career Stats: 480 games 28.3 minutes, 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.1 blocks per game

Lindsay Whalen was the fourth overall draft pick by the Connecticut Sun in 2004. She finished with double-digit points in 10 of her first 12 seasons and was among the league leaders in assists each year. She was a five-time All-Star before retiring in 2018 after nine years in Minnesota. 

17. Brittney Griner

Years Active: 2013-present (9 seasons)

Teams: Phoenix Mercury

Career Stats: 254 games, 30.9 minutes, 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.8 blocks per game

Brittney Griner was drafted first overall by the Phoenix Mercury in 2013 and has spent her entire nine-year career with the team. She’s one of the best scorers, rebounders, and rim defenders of all-time. She has scored more than 20 points per game in four of the past five seasons and had a career-high 9.5 rebounds per game last season.

16. Katie Smith

Years Active: 1999-2013 (15 seasons)

Teams: Minnesota Lynx, Detroit Shock, Washington Mystics, Seattle Storm, New York Liberty

Career Stats: 482 games, 32.6 minutes, 13.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.2 blocks per game

Katie Smith was a dominant player at Ohio State and in the ABL before joining the Minnesota Lynx via the 1999 Allocation Draft. She’s a seven-time All-Star, averaged double-digit points in her first 11 seasons, and finished above 20 points per game in back-back seasons in 2000 and 2001.

15. Yolanda Griffith

Years Active: 1999-2009 (11 seasons)

Teams: Sacramento Monarchs, Seattle Storm, Indiana Fever

Career Stats: 311 games, 28.8 minutes, 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.0 blocks per game

Yolanda Griffith was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs with the second overall pick in 1999. She won the MVP that season and was a seven-time All-Star in her 11-year career. She finished north of 16 points per game in her first four seasons and had double-digit points in each of her first eight seasons.

14. Tina Thompson

Years Active: 1997-2013 (17 seasons)

Teams: Houston Comets, Los Angeles Sparks, Seattle Storm

Career Stats: 496 games, 32.4 minutes, 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks per game

Tina Thompson was the first overall draft pick by the Houston Comets in 1997 – the WNBA’s inaugural season. Throughout her 17-year career, she was a nine-time All-Star and one-time All-Star MVP. She averaged double-digit points in all but two seasons and averaged 20.0 points per game in 2004. 

13. Elena Delle Donne

Years Active: 2013-present (8 seasons)

Teams: Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics

Career Stats: 193 games, 30.8 minutes, 20.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.6 blocks per game

Elena Delle Donne was drafted second overall by the Chicago Sky in 2013 and has completely dominated the WNBA ever since. She finished with more than 20 points per game in three seasons, including 23.4 points per game in 2015. She’s a six-time All-Star and two-time MVP.

12. Seimone Augustus

Years Active: 2006-2020 (15 seasons)

Teams: Minnesota Lynx, Los Angeles Sparks

Career Stats: 391 games, 28.8 minutes, 15.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks per game

Seimone Augustus was drafted first overall by the Minnesota Lynx in 2006 and was the team’s starting guard for the next 13 seasons. She averaged more than 21 points per game in three of the first four seasons and scored double-digit points in each of her first 13 seasons in the WNBA. She’s an eight-time All-Star.

11. Breanna Stewart

Years Active: 2016-present (5 seasons)

Teams: Seattle Storm

Career Stats: 149 games, 32.8 minutes, 20.0 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.6 blocks per game

Breanna Stewart was the first overall pick by the Seattle Storm in 2016 and has only played five seasons in the WNBA, but she has quickly emerged as one of the greatest WNBA players of all-time. She scores, rebounds, passes the ball, steals, blocks – she does it all! She’s a three-time All-Star and one-time MVP. 

10. Lauren Jackson

Years Active: 2001-2012 (12 seasons)

Teams: Seattle Storm

Career Stats: 317 games, 32.0 minutes, 18.9 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.8 blocks per game

Speaking of first overall picks by the Seattle Storm, Lauren Jackson was the GOAT before the arrival of Breanna Stewart. She’s a seven-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and scored at least 20 points per game in five different seasons – including a career-high 23.8 points per game in 2008.

9. Sylvia Fowles

Years Active: 2008-present (14 seasons)

Teams: Chicago Sky, Minnesota Lynx

Career Stats: 378 games, 30.4 minutes, 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.8 blocks per game

Sylvia Fowles was drafted second overall by the Chicago Sky in 2008 and spent her first seven years in the league with the team. She has averaged a double-double in seven seasons, including a career-high 20.0 points per game in 2011 and 11.9 rebounds per game in 2018. She’s a seven-time All-Star and one-time MVP.

8. Candace Parker

Years Active: 2008-present (14 seasons)

Teams: Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky

Career Stats: 360 games, 30.9 minutes, 16.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.6 blocks per game

Candace Parker is one of the biggest names the WNBA has ever seen, both on and off the court. She was drafted first overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2008, is a six-time All-Star, a two-time MVP, and a one-time All-Star MVP. She’s one of the most versatile players of all-time.

7. Sheryl Swoopes

Years Active: 1997-2011 (12 seasons)

Teams: Houston Comets, Seattle Storm, Tulsa Shock

Career Stats: 324 games, 32.7 minutes, 15.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.7 blocks per game

Sheryl Swoopes joined the Houston Comets for the WNBA’s inaugural season in 1997, but missed most of the season after giving birth to her son. She played the final nine games and led her team to the 1997 WNBA Championship. She’s a six-time All-Star, a three-time MVP, and one-time All-Star MVP. 

6. Sue Bird

Years Active: 2002-present (18 seasons)

Teams: Seattle Storm

Career Stats: 549 games, 31.4 minutes, 12.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.1 blocks per game

Among the long list of all-time Seattle Storm greats lies Sue Bird – the legend herself. She was the first overall pick by the team in 2002 and has spent her entire 18-year career with them. She’s a 12-time All-Star, one of the best passers of all-time, and scored double-digit points in all but one of her seasons.

5. Cynthia Cooper

Years Active: 1997-2003 (5 seasons)

Teams: Houston Comets

Career Stats: 124 games, 35.2 minutes, 21.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.3 blocks per game

Cynthia Cooper joined the Houston Comets as a 34-year-old in 1997 – the WNBA’s inaugural season. She had already enjoyed an amazing career overseas and continued that success in the WNBA. She scored at least 22 points per game in her first three seasons, won two MVP awards, and led the Comets to four titles. 

4. Lisa Leslie

Years Active: 1997-2009 (12 seasons)

Teams: Los Angeles Sparks

Career Stats: 363 games, 32.0 minutes, 17.3 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.3 blocks per game

Lisa Leslie joined the Los Angeles Sparks in 1997 for the WNBA’s inaugural season. She spent her entire 12-year career with the team, scoring more than 15.1 points per game each season and averaging a double-double three times. She was an eight-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and three-time All-Star MVP. 

3. Maya Moore

Years Active: 2011-2018 (8 seasons)

Teams: Minnesota Lynx

Career Stats: 271 games, 31.2 minutes, 18.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks per game

Maya Moore was the first overall draft pick by the Minnesota Lynx in 2011. She has scored at least 13.2 points per game in each season since, including a career-high 23.9 points per game in 2014. She’s a six-time All-Star, one-time MVP, and three-time All-Star MVP. She’s a career 38% three point shooter.

2. Tamika Catchings

Years Active: 2002-2016 (15 seasons)

Teams: Indiana Fever

Career Stats: 457 games, 31.5 minutes, 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.4 steals, 0.8 blocks per game

Tamika Catchings was drafted by the Indiana Fever with the third overall pick in 2001 and spent her entire 15-year career with the team. She was a 10-time All-Star, one-time MVP, and averaged more than 12.7 points per game every single season. She could steal the ball better than anyone.

1. Diana Taurasi

Years Active: 2004-present (17 seasons)

Teams: Phoenix Mercury

Career Stats: 472 games, 30.9 minutes, 19.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 0.7 blocks per game

Diana Taurasi was the first overall draft pick by the Phoenix Mercury in 2004 and has spent her entire 17-year career with the team. She’s a 10-time All-Star and one-time MVP. She averaged more than 20 points per game seven times in her career, including 25.3 points in 2006 and 24.1 points in 2008. 

Who Are the Greatest WNBA Players Right Now?

Considering how new the WNBA is, especially compared to other professional sports leagues in the United States, it’s no surprise that some of the greatest WNBA players of all-time are currently active. The league today has a balanced mix of all-time greats and future superstars. 

Players like Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Tina Charles, Sylvia Fowles, Elena Delle Donne, and Nneka Ogwumike (among others on the list above) are currently active. That means they continue to add to what has already been an incredible career.

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Outside of those players, some of the best WNBA players in the league today include A’ja Wilson, Napheesa Collier, Arike Ogunbowale, Jonquel Jones, DeWanna Bonner, Diamond DeShields, Courtney Vandersloot, Liz Cambage, Skylar Diggins-Smith, and Chelsea Gray.

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