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The American Basketball League, often abbreviated to the ABL of 1996 was an independent professional basketball league for women in the United States. At the same time the ABL was being formed, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was creating the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). Both organizations came into existence during a surge in popularity for women's basketball in the United States that followed the undefeated, gold medal-winning performance of the United States Women's basketball team at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

The ABL got off the ground first, and early on was generally considered to feature a higher quality of play than the rival WNBA. This was partly due to the league's signing of a majority of players from the 1996 USA women's team. Star players were drawn to the league partly due to the higher salaries offered by the ABL. Ultimately, the league was unable to compete financially against the WNBA, which was backed by the NBA. The NBA has operated the WNBA at a loss every year since its inception.

The ABL lasted two full seasons: 1996–97 and 1997–98. The Atlanta Glory and Long Beach Stingrays folded prior to the start of the 1998–99 season. The ABL disbanded on December 22, 1998 with teams having played between 12 to 15 games of the 1998–99 season.

Of the locations of the ABL's teams, only Chicago, Portland, Seattle, and Atlanta have been given WNBA teams.

1996–98 clubs

Seasons

1996–97

Eastern Conference

Team W L PCT.
Columbus Quest 31 9 .775
Richmond Rage 21 19 .525
Atlanta Glory 18 22 .450
New England Blizzard 16 24 .400

Western Conference

Team W L PCT.
Colorado Xplosion 25 15 .625
San Jose Lasers 18 22 .450
Seattle Reign 17 23 .425
Portland Power 14 26 .350
  • Semifinals
    • Richmond 2–0 Colorado
    • Columbus 2–0 San Jose
  • Finals
    • Columbus 3–2 Richmond

1997–98

Eastern Conference

Team W L PCT.
Columbus Quest 36 8 .818
New England Blizzard 24 20 .545
Atlanta Glory 15 29 .341
Philadelphia Rage 13 31 .295

Western Conference

Team W L PCT.
Portland Power 27 17 .614
Long Beach Stingrays 26 18 .591
Colorado Xplosion 21 23 .477
San Jose Lasers 21 23 .477
Seattle Reign 15 29 .341
  • First Round
    • San Jose 2–0 New England
    • Long Beach 2–1 Colorado
  • Semifinals
    • Columbus 2–0 San Jose
    • Long Beach 2–0 Portland
  • Finals
    • Columbus 3–2 Long Beach

1998–99

Eastern Conference

Team W L PCT.
Columbus Quest 11 3 .786
Philadelphia Rage 9 5 .643
Chicago Condors 4 8 .333
Nashville Noise 4 11 .267
New England Blizzard 3 10 .231

Western Conference

Team W L PCT.
Portland Power 9 4 .692
San Jose Lasers 9 6 .600
Seattle Reign 8 7 .533
Colorado Xplosion 5 8 .387

All-Star Games

The 1996–97 ABL All-Star Game was played on December 15, 1996 at the Hartford Civic Center. Eastern Conference 81-65 Western Conference. The game's MVP was Tari Phillips.

The 1997–98 ABL All-Star Game was played on January 18, 1998 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Eastern Conference 102-73 Western Conference.

The 1998–99 ABL All-Star Game was scheduled to be played on January 24, 1999 in San Jose, California, but was canceled when the league ceased operations in December 1998.[1]

ABL Championship Series

ABL Championship Best of Five GamesSeries
Year Champions Result Opponent
1996–97 Columbus Quest3–2 Richmond Rage
1997–98 Columbus Quest3–2 Long Beach Stingrays
1998–99 Columbus Quest declared champions.

Notable players

See also

References

External links