Who Has the Most WNBA Championships? 

The WNBA has produced some incredible basketball over its 25+ year history. Though the league started small, with just 8 teams in 1997, it has rapidly expanded to include 12 franchises today with many amazing WNBA Finals matchups along the way. But one key question remains hotly debated among fans – which WNBA squad is the most dominant championship winner of all time?

Who Won the First WNBA Championship?

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) was formed in 1996 as the women’s counterpart to the NBA. The first ever WNBA championship was held at the end of the 1997 season.

The Houston Comets dominated the competition that year, finishing with the best regular season record. Powered by stars such as Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson, they continued their dominance in the playoffs.

In the finals, Houston faced the New York Liberty but won the deciding third game to claim the inaugural WNBA championship. Their combination of stellar offense and defense was too much for New York. The winner of the first ever WNBA championship was the Houston Comets, which was the first of four straight titles they would win in the early years of the league.

Which WNBA Team Holds the Record for Most Championships?

With 9 total WNBA championships, the Minnesota Lynx have secured their dynasty as the WNBA’s winningest franchise. Between 2011-2017, they made an astounding 8 Finals appearances that resulted in 4 title wins.

The Houston Comets also claimed 4 championships in the early years of the WNBA. Powered by the original “Big Three” of Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson and Cynthia Cooper, who still owns the Finals MVP and season-long scoring records, they impressively won the WNBA’s first 4 straight titles from 1997-2000.

Next is the Seattle Storm at 3 total championships, followed by the Los Angeles Sparks and Detroit Shock/Shock who both have 3 each. The Storm established themselves as a 21st century force with Finals wins in 2004, 2010 and 2020 thanks to all-time greats like Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Lauren Jackson overcoming outstanding competition.

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Team-wise WNBA Championship Totals

Here is the breakdown of every WNBA franchise and how many titles each has won, through the 2022 season:

TeamChampionships WonYears Won
Seattle Storm42004, 2010, 2018, 2020
Minnesota Lynx42011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Los Angeles Sparks32001, 2002, 2016
Houston Comets41997, 1998, 2000, 2001
Detroit Shock32003, 2006, 2008
Connecticut Sun22004, 2015
Phoenix Mercury32007, 2009, 2014
Indiana Fever22009, 2012
Washington Mystics12019
Chicago Sky12021
Atlanta Dream0
New York Liberty0
Las Vegas Aces0
Dallas Wings0
San Antonio Stars0
Seattle Supersonics0
Tulsa Shock0

Over a quarter century of action, only 10 franchises have managed to secure the WNBA title. The Lynx and Comets lead the pack stats-wise, but which individual WNBA stars hold the career record for most championships?

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Who Holds the Record for Most Championships Among WNBA Players?

Record for Most Championships Among WNBA Players
Record for Most Championships Among WNBA Players

With 5 WNBA rings each, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are tied for the most championships won by a single player in league history.

Sue Bird secured her titles with the Seattle Storm in 2004, 2010, 2018, 2020 and 2022 as the squad’s floor general and locker room leader for nearly two decades. Her continued elite play into her 40s has been nothing short of legendary.

Fellow ageless wonder Diana Taurasi won 3 straight alongside Candice Dupree and Penny Taylor for the Phoenix Mercury dynasty years from 2007-2009, then pulled out her 4th and 5th rings in surprising upsets with the Mercury again in 2014 and 2022. Her sustained excellence and clutch play has made her the WNBA’s all-time scoring queen by a wide margin.

WNBA Champions Beyond the Top

While Bird and Taurasi stand at the top, many other WNBA superstars through history have racked up their fair share of championship rings:

Seimone Augustus

A Lynx legend and 8x All-Star, Augustus secured 4 titles with Minnesota to tie for the second-most championship wins all-time. Her smooth mid-range game and scoring punch was instrumental in every one of the Lynx title runs.

Sue Bird

We already highlighted Bird’s 5 titles, the most ever alongside longtime Olympic and league rival Diana Taurasi. Her continued elite production and floor general play into her 40s while securing rings in 3 different decades has cemented her undisputed status as the WNBA’s greatest point guard and winner.

Cynthia Cooper

The engine behind the Houston Comets’ impressive four-peat to open the WNBA, Cooper took home an incredible 4 championship rings and 4 Finals MVPs in the league’s first 4 seasons from 1997-2000. Her throwback moves and unwavering will to win made those Comets teams nearly unbeatable.

Maya Moore

One of the most individually accomplished players ever, forward Maya Moore secured 4 championships over 7 seasons with Minnesota Lynx dynasty before unexpectedly stepping away from the game in 2019. Her scoring prowess, lockdown defense, and selfless play was integral in every one of the Lynx title runs.

Sheryl Swoopes

As Houston’s original “Big Three,” Swoopes used her unprecedented athleticism and Swiss army knife skillset to claim 4 straight rings alongside Cooper and Thompson from 1997-2000 and establish the Comets as the early WNBA empire.

Tina Thompson

Thompson rounds out the Comets’ Big Three as a 4-time WNBA champion from 1997-2000 in Houston, while continuing on to an illustrious 17-year career as the league’s all-time scoring leader for quite some time. Her versatile interior game and leadership laid the foundation for the Comets dynasty.

Most WNBA Championships Overtime

To sum up the legends with the most bling, here are the Top 5 players in terms of championships won:

Team/PlayerChampionships WonYears
Minnesota Lynx42011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Houston Comets41997-2000
Sue Bird52004, 2010, 2018, 2020, 2022
Diana Taurasi52007-2009, 2014, 2022
Seimone Augustus42011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Maya Moore42011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Sheryl Swoopes41997-2000
Cynthia Cooper41997-2000
Tina Thompson41997-2000

The Minnesota Lynx and Houston Comets lead the way with 4 WNBA championships each among all franchises. Meanwhile legends Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi top the leaderboard with 5 rings a piece (the most ever). Lynx stars Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore also have 4 championships, alongside Houston Comets icons Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, and Tina Thompson.

Now let’s expand our scope and take a chronological walk through every WNBA Finals matchup and championship outcome year-by-year:

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Catalog of WNBA Championship Winners, Yearly Breakdown

WNBA Championship Winners, Yearly Breakdown

This table provides a comprehensive breakdown of every WNBA championship matchup, including the winner, runner-up, series sweep status, and Finals MVP:

YearChampionRunner-UpSeries ScoreFinals MVP
1997Houston CometsNew York Liberty2-1Cynthia Cooper
1998Houston CometsPhoenix Mercury2-1Cynthia Cooper
1999New York LibertyLos Angeles Sparks2-1Yolanda Griffith
2000Houston CometsNew York Liberty2-0Sheryl Swoopes
2001Los Angeles SparksCharlotte Sting2-0Lisa Leslie
2002Los Angeles SparksMinnesota Lynx2-0Lisa Leslie
2003Detroit ShockLos Angeles Sparks2-1Tamika Catchings
2004Seattle StormConnecticut Sun2-1Betty Lennox
2005Sacramento MonarchsConnecticut Sun2-1Yolanda Griffith
2006Detroit ShockSacramento Monarchs3-2Cheryl Ford
2007Phoenix MercuryDetroit Shock3-2Diana Taurasi
2008Detroit ShockSan Antonio Silver Stars3-0Lisa Leslie
2009Phoenix MercuryIndiana Fever3-2Cappie Pondexter
2010Seattle StormAtlanta Dream3-0Lauren Jackson
2011Minnesota LynxAtlanta Dream3-0Maya Moore
2012Indiana FeverConnecticut Sun3-1Tamika Catchings
2013Minnesota LynxAtlanta Dream3-0Maya Moore
2014Phoenix MercuryChicago Sky3-0Diana Taurasi
2015Minnesota LynxIndiana Fever3-2Sylvia Fowles
2016Los Angeles SparksMinnesota Lynx3-1Candace Parker
2017Minnesota LynxLos Angeles Sparks3-2Maya Moore
2018Seattle StormWashington Mystics3-0Breanna Stewart
2019Washington MysticsConnecticut Sun3-2Elena Delle Donne
2020Seattle StormLas Vegas Aces3-0Jewell Loyd
2021Chicago SkyPhoenix Mercury3-1Kahleah Copper
2022Las Vegas AcesConnecticut Sun3-1A’ja Wilson
2023Las Vegas AcesNew York Liberty3-2Chelsea Gray

After reviewing this comprehensive list of every WNBA Finals and championship outcome year-by-year, Seattle and Minnesota stand above the rest as the only franchises with 4 total titles. However some teams like Houston and Los Angeles impressed by stacking multiple championships in shorter dynasty stretches. Other memorable highlights stick out…

WNBA Championship Highlights

Now that we’ve covered every Finals matchup and outcome, let’s call out some of the most iconic moments, upsets and performances that defined these WNBA championship runs:

Houston Comets’ Historic Three-Peat (1997-1999)

Powered by Cooper’s incredible scoring explosions and Swoopes all-around play, the Comets shocked the basketball world right out the gates with their dominant three-peat. Their impressive Finals sweeps featured Cooper averaging 30+ points per game in every single Finals series during their run.

T-Spoon’s Game-Winning Half-Court Buzzer Beater (1999)

One of the most replayed WNBA highlights ever – as New York pushed Houston to a 3rd straight Finals matchup, it came down to a tie game with just seconds left in deciding Game 3. Sheryl Swoopes then launched an unbelievable half-court heave as time expired to lift Houston to the improbable championship victory.

Los Angeles Sparks’ Back-to-Back Champs (2001-2002)

The young, dynamic duo of Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker established the LA Sparks as the league’s force in the early 2000s by securing consecutive titles. They remain one of just five franchises with multiple WNBA championships.

Detroit Shock’s Jump From Worst to First (2003)

Bill Laimbeer’s physical Detroit Shock squad had finished dead last just one season prior. But in 2003, they pulled a total 180 to beat both top seeds and secure the franchise’s first championship behind tough defense and rebounding from their frontcourt trio that overwhelmed all opponents.

Minnesota Lynx’s Thrilling Dynasty Run (2011-2018)

No team has more Finals appearances than the Lynx impressive run of 8 straight from 2011-2018, where they reached 6 WNBA championship series and won 4 titles in typically nail-biting fashion behind legends like Augustus, Moore, Fowles and Whalen willing Minnesota to sustained excellence year after year.

Seattle Storm’s Dominance in the Wubble (2020)

Many doubted if champions could be crowned in the unprecedented isolated Wubble playoffs at IMG Academy. But Stewart continued ascending into top 10 all-time great status by dominating again alongside Bird and Loyd to unexpectedly sweep A’ja Wilson’s Aces and secure Seattle’s fourth ring.

Beyond these iconic moments, we’ve covered all the best teams, top players, total championships won, and key highlights that defined 25+ years of incredible WNBA Finals matchups and outcomes. But we still need to call out the legendary individual performers who elevated their play to even higher levels on the WNBA’s grandest championship stage…

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MVPs of the WNBA on Teams that Clinched Championships

MVPs of the WNBA on Teams that Clinched Championships

Here is the full list of players who won championship rings AND the regular season MVP award:

PlayerMVP SeasonsChampionshipsFinals MVPs
Cynthia Cooper1997-20001997-20001997-2000
Lisa Leslie2001, 2004, 20062001, 2002
Lauren Jackson2003, 20072004
Tamika Catchings20112012
Elena Delle Donne2015, 20192019
A’ja Wilson2020
Breanna Stewart20182018, 20202018, 2020
Candace Parker2008, 20132016, 20212016

Cynthia Cooper stands alone with 4 MVPs and 4 championships. Lisa Leslie and Lauren Jackson each won 3 MVPs and 2 rings. Recent legends like Breanna Stewart and Candace Parker secured both MVP and championship in the same years. While Tamika Catchings, Elena Delle Donne and A’ja Wilson have MVP honors but just one title or less.

Cooper stands alone as the only player to ever achieve a 4-year sweep of both the championship and MVP, underscoring her sheer dominance and Houston’s impressive early dynasty. Meanwhile Catchings and Delle Donne managed the rare feat of legendary Finals MVP performances alongside their regular season MVP campaigns on the way to a coveted ring.

Others like Leslie show sustained greatness by pairing multiple MVP seasons with multiple championships for LA. While recent two-way forces Stewart and Parker also won championships both years they secured the MVP, proving that individual excellence can lift teams to glory.

Historical Background and Data Insights

Historical Background and Data Insights
Historical Background and Data Insights

Now that we’ve thoroughly covered every WNBA Finals and championship won, plus highlighted the league’s most dominant teams, top superstar winners, MVPs, and iconic moments – let’s conclude by examining some key statistical trends and historical context around these WNBA champions.

Background History 

As mentioned earlier, the Houston Comets and Minnesota Lynx stand above the rest with 4 WNBA championships each. But the more impressive feat belongs to the Comets, who managed to four-peat from 1997-2000 to establish the WNBA’s first dynasty behind Cooper’s unprecedented dominance.

In stark contrast, the Lynx compiled their 4 titles gradually over the course of 8 straight Finals appearances between 2011-2018. Powered by legends like Augustus, Moore and Fowles, Minnesota defined consistency in championship excellence for nearly a full decade of contention.

Beyond the Twin Cities and Space City squads, only Seattle and Los Angeles have managed to stack multiple WNBA championships in shorter stretches like the Storm’s 2004 and 2010 titles or the Sparks back-to-back in 2001-2002.

Meanwhile singular championship seasons from one-hit wonders like Sacramento, Indiana, Washington and Chicago were equally remarkable in their own right as unexpected underdog runs.

WNBA Championships Regional Dominance

In terms of geography, the Western Conference has generally gotten the better of their Eastern foes when it comes to securing rings. West teams have won 15 total championships compared to just 10 for the East.

Within each region, we’ve seen certain teams rise up as elite powers who end up clashing year after year for their conference crowns. Out West, the Storm, Mercury and Sparks have long battled for supremacy as all have multiple titles. Back East, conferences clashes between the Fever, Sun, Sky and Mystics have become commonplace.

But undoubtedly the most heated WNBA rivalry features the two Midwestern juggernauts – Minnesota and Detroit – who dominated the late 2000s into the 2010s by combining for an incredible 8 championships between the two squads, mostly at the other’s expense. Their physical, defensive grindfests defined WNBA basketball for over a decade.

Consecutive WNBA Championships

In terms of consecutive rings, the early Comets squads lead the way as the only team to four-peat and the only franchise with two separate multi-year runs (’97-’00 and ’98-’99).

The Sparks (’01-’02) and Mercury (’07-’09) have pulled off back-to-back championships. Meanwhile the Storm (’04, ’10), Shock (’03, ’06) and Lynx (’11, ’13) showed temporary ability to defend their titles with ships in consecutive Finals trips.

But since those Mercury repeat champs in 2009, no one has managed to claim back-to-back WNBA championships over the past 13 seasons – showing how competitive the league has become with burgeoning superstars pushing each other to greater heights every campaign.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which player has won the most WNBA championships?

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi hold the record with 5 WNBA titles each over their careers.

Which WNBA team has the most titles?

The Minnesota Lynx and Houston Comets are tied, with 4 championships apiece.

Which WNBA team won 4 championships in a row?

The Houston Comets won the first four WNBA titles from 1997-2000.

Which WNBA teams have won a championship?

The Minnesota Lynx, Houston Comets, Seattle Storm, Los Angeles Sparks, and Detroit Shock/Shock have won multiple titles. Ten total franchises have won championships.

Who is the highest paid WNBA player?

WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart was the highest paid player in the league as of 2022, earning over $228,000.

Who won the last WNBA title?

The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA championship in 2022 beating the Connecticut Sun.

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