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Thursday, June 13, 2024

WNBA adds new franchise. Will it help HBCU players?

The WNBA is expanding — which could be good news for HBCU basketball hopefuls.

The league announced on Thursday that it will be adding a new franchise in Toronto. It will grow the league to 14 total franchises when it starts to compete in 2026.

“Bringing a WNBA team to Toronto represents an important milestone for our league as we continue to expand both domestically and outside the United States,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.  “With Larry Tanenbaum’s distinguished record of leading successful sports franchises and Toronto’s appeal as a dynamic, diverse city that cares deeply about the game of basketball, we are confident that this new team will thrive as a first-class WNBA organization and become a great source of inspiration and support for the Toronto-area community and across Canada.”

Angel Jackson, Las Vegas Aces, HBCUAngel Jackson, Las Vegas Aces, HBCU

The WNBA has been around since 1997, but HBCU players have had difficulty sticking in the league. Only a handful of players have actually been drafted from HBCUs, and few of them ever made it to the opening day roster. That includes the last two WNBA Draft picks. Both Ameysha Williams-Holliday (Indiana Fever) and Angel Jackson (Las Vegas Aces) were cut prior to the start of the season after starring for championship Jackson State teams. 

“Today is a game-changing day not only for women’s basketball but also for sports in Canada,” said Tanenbaum.  “This franchise will be Canada’s team, and we are so excited to unite the country and inspire pride and passion in fans from coast to coast.”

HBCU fans hope the game will change for their players as well. There’s no guarantee that HBCU players still won’t struggle to crack the regular season roster, but it does mean the numbers game is a bit more favorable than it has been. 

WNBA adds new franchise. Will it help HBCU players?

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