The Shortest WNBA Players: Right Now and All-Time

The WNBA features some of the world’s top female basketball players, who use height as a significant advantage. However, smaller players in the league have found ways to excel through developing elite quickness, shooting, court vision, defense, and more. 

This article explores the shortest current WNBA players making big impacts like 5-foot-5 Crystal Dangerfield, as well as undersized legends from the past such as Temeka Johnson and Debbie Black under 5-foot-3. Despite physical limitations, these diminutive guards prove that supreme skills, heart, and hard work can overcome height.

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Current WNBA Player with the Shortest Height

Standing at just 5 feet 2 inches, Crystal Dangerfield of the Dallas Wings is currently the shortest player in the WNBA. Despite her small stature and height disadvantage, the young point guard has already made a huge impact. During her 2020 rookie campaign, the feisty playmaker averaged 16.2 points and 3.6 assists per game on her way to WNBA Rookie of the Year honors.

Dangerfield has continued to defy the odds and silencing any doubters about her size limiting her game. Relying on her sensational quickness, tight handle, limitless range from deep, and competitive drive, the diminutive Dangerfield has established herself as one of the most dynamic young scoring point guards in the league. Her size causes mismatch issues that she regularly exposes, blowing by bigger defenders or stepping back and rising over them for long-range bombs.

At just 5’5”, the courageous Dangerfield is the ultimate underdog who makes up for her lack of height with heart and skill. She represents the shortest WNBA player actively playing today.

Shortest Player Representing Each WNBA Team

Shortest Player Representing Each WNBA Team
Shortest Player Representing Each WNBA Team

Each WNBA squad rosters contributed by tiny talents. Ranging from 5-foot-5 Crystal Dangerfield lighting up Dallas to 5-foot-6 pest Aari McDonald wreaking havoc for Atlanta. Though undersized, their quickness, shooting, IQ, vision unlocks success. Heart over height. Skills conquer physical limits. Diminutive difference makers shine bright.

Atlanta Dream – Aari McDonald (5 feet 6 inches)

Atlanta Dream – Aari McDonald
Atlanta Dream – Aari McDonald

Despite being the #3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, Aari McDonald faced questions about whether her small 5’6” frame could handle the step up to the pros. But the fiercely competitive McDonald has harnessed her size into a defensive weapon in the backcourt. Her quick hands, lightning foot speed, and in-your-jersey pressure causes fits for opposing ball-handlers.

Dallas Wings – Crystal Dangerfield (5 feet 5 inches)

The league’s shortest player, Crystal Dangerfield anchors the Dallas backcourt at just 5’5”. Relying on her lightning quick first step and dead-eye shooting stroke from long range, Dangerfield poured in 13.4 points per game in 2022 to lead the Wings in scoring. 

Her size can make finishing at the rim a challenge, but her floater game is elite and she shot a blistering 43.8% from downtown last year. An intense leader, Dangerfield’s fearlessness and competitive fire sets the tone for Dallas despite being undersized.

During her rookie season, McDonald established herself as one of the WNBA’s most disruptive perimeter defenders, placing 3rd in steals and 8th in deflections. Her surprising rebounding ability and improved shooting rounds out her game and enables her to make a big two-way impact, proving she belongs in the league.

Chicago Sky – Dana Evans (5 feet 6 inches)

Dana Evans
Dana Evans

A 2021 second-round selection, Dana Evans has carved out a role in Chicago with her heady point guard play despite measuring the same diminutive height as McDonald at 5’6”. The versatile Evans plays with poised decision-making and excels using high ball screens, exhibiting tight handles and crafty moves to create space before using her floater touch to finish at awkward angles amongst the trees.

Her outside shooting prowess, clever passing vision, composed leadership, and aggressive on-ball defense makes her a productive backup. Evans gives Chicago steady minutes relieving All-Star Courtney Vandersloot off the bench.

Indiana Fever – Destanni Henderson (5 feet 7 inches)

An explosive rookie guard, Destanni Henderson is the smallest Fever contributor at 5’7”. Henderson makes up for her lack of height with jaw-dropping athletic gifts, owning a 40-inch vertical leap. She attacks the basket relentlessly off the bounce, finishing creatively through contact with either hand. 

Henderson also shot 37% from three and notched a few steals per game by using her quickness to pressure ball-handlers. Her aggressive defense and highlight reel scoring ability makes her an intriguing building block for the Fever’s rebuild.

Connecticut Sun – Natisha Hiedeman (5 feet 8 inches)

Natisha Hiedeman

28 year-old combo guard Natisha Hiedeman is the shortest rotation player for the Sun at 5’8”. Hiedeman brings energy running the offense and spreading the floor as a three-point threat, doing a lot of the little things right by limiting mistakes and converting open jumpers. She earned a starting role in 2022, adding pesky on-ball defense applying pressure full court along with scoring in double figures several games during the season.

Minnesota Lynx – Moriah Jefferson (5 feet 7 inches)

Making her return from extensive injury struggles, Moriah Jefferson has carved out a role with Minnesota as a 5’7” microwave type scorer off the bench. The former #2 overall pick remains one of the quickest and most athletic points in the league. 

Jefferson excels using relentless drives towards the cup or pulling up off the bounce using her tight handle to create space from mid-range. Her outside shooting has also vastly improved, checking in at a 37% clip from deep last year to round out her skillset. When locked in defensively, Jefferson’s bothersome on-ball pressure is also impactful despite being undersized.

Las Vegas Aces – Riquna Williams (5 feet 7 inches)

Despite her small 5’7” frame, Riquna Williams provides a nice scoring punch off the Aces’ bench as a sharpshooting veteran presence. During Vegas’ championship season, Williams connected on 47% of her outside shots in a more limited role after averaging 15 points per game as a starter the previous year. 

Nicknamed “Bay Bay”, her ability to heat up and hit big shots from anywhere on the perimeter makes her an invaluable shot-maker that opposing defenses must account for.

Los Angeles Sparks – Jordin Canada (5 feet 6 inches)

Jordin Canada

Running the point for Los Angeles is speedy playmaker Jordin Canada, who measures just 5’6” out of UCLA. Canada excels pushing tempo and breaking down opponents in transition with her elite quickness and capable lead guard skills. She puts constant pressure on defenses with her aggression turning the corner in the halfcourt as well. 

Despite her petite stature, Canada contributes across the stat sheet averaging 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 5 assists per game during her time in LA. Her pesky defense also landed her in the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team last season.

New York Liberty – Sabrina Ionescu (5 feet 11 inches)

While other players on the Liberty roster are shorter, starting point guard Sabrina Ionescu stands as their smallest regular at 5’11”. But despite being considered undersized for her position by league standards, Ionescu’s supreme skill level and court vision helps her dominate games unlike any other guard in the WNBA. 

She directed the top-rated offense in the league last year while sitting 2nd in assists. Ionescu flirts with triple-doubles on a nightly basis and is the engine driving New York’s attack with her diverse scoring arsenal and pinpoint passing ability leading the break or operating in halfcourt sets.

Phoenix Mercury – Moriah Jefferson (5 feet 6 inches)

Moriah Jefferson
Moriah Jefferson

Checking in as the smallest player on the Mercury roster is speedy backup point guard Moriah Jefferson at just 5’6”. The lightning quick Jefferson excels at pushing tempo and breaking down opposing defenses off the dribble with her elite quickness and tight handles. 

Despite her petite frame, Jefferson has added more triple threat versatility to her game by improving her mid-range pull-up and three point shooting ability to a respectable level. Her pesky on-ball defense also makes an impact in short minute spurts.

Seattle Storm – Gabby Williams (5 feet 11 inches)

The Storm’s shortest player and backup wing is the physical 5’11” defensive stopper Gabby Williams. What Williams lacks in shooting or scoring prowess, she makes up for with her versatility and elite defensive ability, often guarding every position on the floor. 

Her strength, quickness, motor, and basketball IQ enables Williams to make a huge two-way impact for Seattle despite being slightly undersized for her combo forward role.

Washington Mystics – Shakira Austin (6 feet 5 inches)

With a frontcourt featuring superstars Elena Delle Donne and Alysha Clark both listed at 6’0”, the Mystics shortest rotation player would be rookie center Shakira Austin, who possesses excellent size and length for her position at 6’5”. 

The agile Austin protects the rim on defense while scoring with her back to the basket or stepping out as a mid-range shooter. So despite outstanding height at her spot, Austin clocks in as the “shortest” Washington player seeing regular minutes. But she still towers over the rest of the league’s smallest players.

Shortest WNBA Players of All Time

While the feats of current undersized WNBA stars are incredibly impressive, they still stand much taller than some of the league’s shortest players ever. A few of these diminutive ballers defied all odds to not just make it in the pros but become impact players despite their extreme height challenges.

Tina Nicholson – 5’2”

Another 5’2” point guard, Tina Nicholson carved out a nice WNBA career from 2003-2007 relying on her ballhandling, court vision, passing, and ability to get her own shot despite being towered over by virtually all opposing defenders. Her quickness and feisty nature helped her compete against the trees.

Shannon Bobbitt – 5 feet 2 inches

The smallest player in WNBA history, lightning quick point guard Shannon Bobbitt measured just 5’2”. But her speed was unmatched, as evidenced by her recording the fastest baseline sprint time ever during pre-draft testing. Bobbitt succeeded thanks to her incredible energy, harassment full court pressure defense, toughness finishing inside, and reliable

Debbie Black – 5’2.5”

A 5’2” ball of fire, Debbie Black played from 1999-2004 in the league, cementing her status as one of the greatest undersized players ever. Her relentless on-ball defense and full court ball pressure made life miserable for opposing playmakers. She led the league in steals multiple seasons while also contributing with timely scoring when called upon.

Brandi McCain – 5’3”

As a 5’3” roster bubble player, Brandi McCain managed to play three seasons in the league from 1997-2000 thanks to her diminutive size paired with a gym rat work ethic. She helped initiate fast break opportunities for her teams with aggressive defense leading to turnovers. Offensively, McCain stretched the floor with her three point shooting ability.

Temeka Johnson – 5’3”

Diminutive scoring point guard Temeka Johnson spent eight successful seasons in the league at just 5’3”. Blessed with supreme quickness and tight handles, she excelled at breaking down defenses and finishing tough layups in traffic despite her tiny frame. Johnson twice averaged double figure scoring to cement her status as one of the best little players of her era.

Nicole Levesque – 5’3”

A seventh-round pick in the inaugural 1997 WNBA Draft, Nicole Levesque defied all odds to not just make a team but emerge as a member of the Houston Comets dynasty while standing only 5’3”. Relying on deceptive athleticism, shooting range, and a pass first mentality at the point, Levesque played a key role as both a starter and reserve during Houston’s four championship seasons.

Learn More: Average WNBA Height in 2024

Shortest WNBA Player to Dunk

While dunks have become more common in recent WNBA seasons with athletic wings like Liz Cambage throwing down jaw-dropping slams, the feat remains extremely rare for smaller guards.

But 5’8” veteran point guard Cappie Pondexter made history as the shortest WNBA player ever to dunk back in 2006 during her days starring for the Phoenix Mercury.

The athletic Pondexter drove baseline with a full head of steam before elevating for a smooth one-handed jam. It marked just the second dunk ever in a WNBA regular season contest at the time.

While a few other diminutive guards like 5’9” Riquna Williams or 5’7” Brittney Griner have thrown down memorable dunks in All-Star Games more recently, Pondexter still stands as the shortest to do it in an actual game.

The fact Pondexter achieved this feat at just 5’8” remains incredibly impressive. She relied on her 40 inch vertical and fearless competitive drive that enabled such an athletic highlight for an undersized player.

Pondexter’s ability to dunk also demonstrates how some physical disadvantages can be partially overcome through supreme gifts like leaping ability.

So while massive centers snagging rebounds and hammering down putback slams seem routine now, fans shouldn’t overlook barrier-breaking athletic achievements like Pondexter’s dunk representing pioneering accomplishments for smaller players.

Shortest Female College Basketball Player

The recent success of tiny WNBA guards like Crystal Dangerfield or Erica Wheeler builds on an legacy of undersized collegiate stars paving the way.

Jeanette Pohlen etched her name in Pac-12 record books at just 5’2” while starring for Stanford University from 2007-2011.

The diminutive Pohlen relied on crafty handles, deep shooting range, and feisty perimeter defense to become one of Stanford’s all-time greats. She finished top five in program history for points, assists and made three-pointers.

Pohlen led her club to multiple conference championships and an appearance in the NCAA finals behind productive all-around numbers like 16.5 points, 5.2 assists and 2 steals per game during her senior campaign.

While she went undrafted in the WNBA, several other All-American college guards under 5’5” appeared on WNBA rosters as well like Jen Derevjanik of Penn State or Tiffany Stansbury out of NC State.

But Pohlen set the gold standard for undersized excellence at the NCAA level, helping set the stage for WNBA success stories like fellow sub-5’6” Oregon Duck Sabrina Ionescu.

Her dazzling collegiate resume headlined by All-American honors and the Pac-12 all-time steals record highlights how much undersized players like Pohlen have achieved. Subsequent WNBA stars built on the foundation that fearless packaged dynamos laid.

So while towering posts dominate women’s hoops headlines today, smallest ballers like Jeanette Pohlen also deserve retirement of their collegiate jerseys for undersized excellence raising the bar.

Learn More: How Tall is a Basketball Hoop

Significant Moments and Memorable Highlights from the Shortest WNBA Players

Despite being vertically challenged compared to the league average, several current undersized WNBA players have shined brightly during their careers with big time performances:

Crystal Dangerfield’s Rookie of the Year Win

The 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year award went to the player considered too small by many predraft scouts, as 5’5” Crystal Dangerfield claimed the honor with Minnesota thanks to averaging nearly 17 points per game during her debut campaign. Dangerfield dazzled fans with deep three point bombs and acrobatic finishes at the rim that defied physics. Her scoring prowess proved vital in leading Minnesota back to the postseason.

Erica Wheeler’s All-Star Game MVP Performance

One of the most shocking All-Star Game MVP performances in WNBA history came back in 2019 courtesy of 5’7” point guard Erica Wheeler. The fearless Wheeler took over the showcase by attacking the rim relentlessly and dropping shots from all over the court to finish with a team-high 25 points for the victors. Wheeler became the second shortest All-Star MVP ever behind Temeka Johnson.

Aari McDonald’s Defensive Wizardry

Atlanta’s Aari McDonald put her explosive athleticism and defensive prowess on full display during a 2021 matchup against Washington, notching 8 steals to tie a Dream franchise record. She harassed opposing ball-handlers all game long, putting on a clinic of textbook perimeter defense fundamentals from perfectly timed swipes to picture-perfect verticality. It highlighted McDonald’s capabilities as an impact defender regardless of her small stature.

Jordin Canada’s Becomes Two-Time Champ

Despite standing just 5’6”, crafty point guard Jordin Canada now has two championships under her belt after helping Los Angeles win it all in 2022. Her steady play directing the Sparks’ offense coupled with pesky perimeter defense perfectly complemented the team’s stars. Canada regularly outbattled taller opponents for tough rebounds and loose balls as well. Her winning pedigree and veteran savvy provides immense value.

Courtney Vandersloot’s Record-Breaking Assists

Orchestrating the league’s top rated offense last year was 5’8” Chicago Sky maestro Courtney Vandersloot, who continues breaking WNBA assist records year after year with her poised point guard play. Sloot led Chicago to a title in 2021 and became the first player ever to average 10 assists per game for a season while directing the attack with precision passing and perfect decision-making hitting cutters and spot up shooters right in stride.

A Historical Timeline of the WNBA’s Shortest Players

Historical Timeline of the WNBA's Shortest Players
Historical Timeline of the WNBA’s Shortest Players

While players like Crystal Dangerfield and Aari McDonald represent the shortest in today’s modern era of the WNBA, they still have quite a few more inches of height compared to some of the league’s trailblazing undersized ballers from the early years like Temeka Johnson, Nicole Levesque and Debbie Black.

As the talent pool continues expanding, the WNBA has gravitated towards taller guards and wings in general. But a few extremely talented sub-5’5” outliers still emerge occassionally like Dangerfield, who make up for their lack of height with incredible skill and grit.

And the league has come a long way since someone like Levesque being selected in the 7th round back in 1997 to contributors like Dangerfield, Evans, or McDonald now coming off draft boards early and making an immediate impact thanks to the additional training resources and infrastructure available today.

But those early undersized pioneers like Black, Levesque and Johnson paved the way in proving little players deserve a shot against the WNBA giants. Their courage and perseverance continues inspiring this current generation of smallest stars like Dangerfield and McDonald.

While hulking 6’6” centers may snag headlines today, the success stories of smallest WNBA ballers historically and presently capture the hearts of many fans leaguewide thanks to their underdog narratives. And this lineage of undersized talent continuing to thrive today pays homage to those giants of the WNBA’s early era.

Another talented 5’3” point guard, Erica White played two seasons in the WNBA from 1998-1999. Despite being the smallest player on the court every night, White helped lead her teams effectively thanks to lightning quickness, expert handles, court vision to set up teammates, and an accurate outside shooting stroke keeping defenses honest. Her high basketball IQ also helped overcome height shortcomings.

Historical Significance of Short Players in the WNBA

While height has always provided a significant advantage in basketball, undersized WNBA players have still managed to thrive in specific roles throughout the league’s 25+ year history.

5’3″ Temeka Johnson and Nicole Levesque prove that even the smallest guards can lead teams to playoff success through leadership, clutch scoring, and pesky perimeter defense. Debbie Black demonstrated how an aggressive approach full court can fluster even the most skilled backcourt opponents.

In recent years, scoring dynamos like 5’5″ Crystal Dangerfield or defensive wizards such as 5’6″ Aari McDonald provide templates for how vertically challenged stars can leverage other elite skills to make a consistent impact. 

Dangerfield’s limitless shooting range and crafty finishing ability shows how undersized players can still fill it up. Meanwhile, McDonald’s defensive prowess led Atlanta in steals and deflections through perfectly timed gambles and textbook positioning.

While taller wings and bigger posts rightfully gain attention league-wide, amazing undersized WNBA players also have a rightful place in history through their underdog narratives and transcendent talent. They inspire the next generation of small ballers to never give up on their basketball dreams no matter their height.

The shortest WNBA legends not only opened doors for more opportunities today but also influenced rule changes increasing spacing and ball movement advantageous to smaller players. And current diminutive stars continue building on the foundation of their undersized predecessors through trailblazing achievements like Dangerfield’s Rookie of the Year campaign or All-Star Game MVP Erica Wheeler.

So while towering centers and versatile forwards dominate highlights, little ballers also etched their names in WNBA history through hustle and heart. From Shannon Bobbitt to Aari McDonald, undersized players of all eras deserve recognition for leveling the playing field through transcending physical limitations. Their success stories represent the essence of leaving it all on the court each night.

Overcoming Height Shortcomings

Despite height disadvantages, shortest WNBA players excel by mastering other skills. Quickness and tight handles lets them blow by defenders. Limitless shooting range forces respect from three. High basketball IQ creates space for mid-range looks. Crafty floats and pivots finish inside. 

Expert court vision unlocks playmaking. Precise passing places dimes perfectly. Pesky on-ball defense causes turnovers. Relentless competitive drive fuels working harder. Undersized guards like Temeka Johnson and Crystal Dangerfield maximize potential through these weapons. Towering posts possess built-in edges. But diminutive players significantly close the gap by honing integral facets. 

Heart over height remains key for gritty contributors striving towards greatness. Supreme confidence and fearlessness facilitates their success. Skill cultivation paired with tireless work ethic helps little ballers overcome size limitations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the shortest WNBA player?

The shortest active WNBA player is Crystal Dangerfield from the Dallas Wings, who is 5 feet 5 inches tall.

Are there any 5’5″ WNBA players?

Yes, Crystal Dangerfield of the Dallas Wings stands at 5 feet 5 inches, making her the shortest current WNBA player.

Is there a 7-foot WNBA player?

No, there has not been a 7-foot player in WNBA history yet. The tallest player was Margo Dydek at 7 feet 2 inches.

Who is the shortest girl in WNBA 2023?

With the 2023 season upcoming, barring any new roster additions, the shortest girl would still be Crystal Dangerfield of the Dallas Wings at 5 feet 5 inches tall.

What is WNBA age limit?

The age limit for the WNBA draft eligibility states that players must either be 22 years old in the year of the draft or have completed their college eligibility.

Is WNBA best of 5 or 7?

The WNBA playoffs and finals use a best-of-five game format requiring a team to win three games to advance or clinch the championship.

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