The WNBA has been running for more than two decades. A rubric was developed to determine which WNBA franchise has been the most historically successful. The points rubric awards progressively more points the further a team went in the playoffs. The results suggest that Los Angeles has not only the most successful NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers, but also the most successful WNBA franchise, the Los Angeles Sparks.
16 pts. – WNBA Champions
8 pts. – Reached WNBA Finals
4 pts. – Reached Conference Finals
2 pts. – Reached Conference Semi-Finals
1 pts. – Reached First Round of Playoffs
TOP 5 MOST SUCCESSFUL WNBA FRANCHISES
1. Los Angeles Sparks – 108 pts.
The Sparks were one of the original WNBA franchises. They have have won three championships and made it to the WNBA Finals a total of five times. Their most recent championship win came in 2016. The team has been quite consistent, making it to the playoffs over 20 times. The Sparks have had a number of talented players over the years, but the most notable was Lisa Leslie, who was the league’s MVP three times. She helped the team win back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.
2. Phoenix Mercury – 103 pts.
The Mercury are another original franchise that has won three championships. The team’s most recent title came in 2014. Phoenix has also qualified for the playoffs in most WNBA seasons. The franchise has had a number of standout players over the years, including 5-time WNBA scoring champion Diana Taurasi and 2-time defensive player of the year Brittney Griner.
3. Minnesota Lynx – 96 pts.
The Lynx have won four WNBA championships, tied for the most with two other franchise. The team also made the WNBA Finals a total of six times. In the franchise’s early years, it was not particularly successful. However, Minnesota was especially good in the 2010’s, with stars Maya Moore and Seimone Augustus helping to win all four of the franchise’s titles.
4. Seattle Storm – 93 pts.
The Storm have also won four championships, but the team has been to the WNBA finals fewer times than the teams ahead of it on this list. The Seattle team was an expansion franchise in 2000. The Storm have had a number of talented players over the years, including three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, three-time WNBA assists leader Sue Bird, and two-time MVP Swin Cash. The team won their most recent championship in 2020.
5. Houston Comets – 76 pts.
The Comets were one of the original teams in the WNBA and dominated the league in its early years, winning the first four championships from 1997-2000. Stars Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson helped lead Houston to its successes. In total, the Comets made it to the playoffs a total of nine times. However, the franchise folded during the peak of the Great Recession in 2008, since the league was unable to find new ownership.
Note: Franchises reflect their current names
For the full table of all WNBA franchises ranked and a breakdown of success decade by decade please see: