Cleveland Rockers

Last updated
Cleveland Rockers
ClevelandRockers.png
Conference Eastern
Leagues WNBA
Founded1997
Dissolved2003
HistoryCleveland Rockers
1997–2003
Arena Gund Arena
Location Cleveland, Ohio
Team colorsBlack, blue, silver, orange, white
     
Championships0
Conference titles0

The Cleveland Rockers were a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in Cleveland, Ohio, that played from 1997 until 2003. The Rockers were one of the original eight franchises of the WNBA, which started in 1997. The owner was Gordon Gund, who at the time also owned the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. In October 2003, Gund announced that his Gund Arena Company would no longer operate the Rockers. The team folded after the 2003 season as the league was not able to find new ownership for the team.

Contents

Franchise history

The city of Cleveland was granted one of the original 8 franchises of the WNBA in October 1996. [1] The Cleveland Rockers got their nickname from Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [2] In 1997, they started with such players like Isabelle Fijalkowski and former Harlem Globetrotters member Lynette Woodard, who had been the first female player in Globetrotter history. [3]

The Rockers finished 15–13 in the first WNBA season ever, missing the playoffs in 1997. [4] In 1998, the Rockers went 20–10 and won the Eastern Conference title. [5] However, the Rockers lost to the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA semifinals (before the WNBA split the playoffs by conference). [6]

The Rockers had their best regular season in 2001, going 22–10 and winning the Eastern Conference, getting the No. 1 seed. [7] Their relentless defense allowed just 55.9 points per game that year, a record that still stands. But the Rockers would be upended by the Charlotte Sting in the 1st round, losing 2 games to 1. [8] The 2002 Rockers fell by 12 games over the previous year's mark, posting a 10–22 record. [9] In 2003, the Rockers would go 17–17, good enough for the No. 4 seed in the East; however, they would fall in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual champion Detroit Shock, 2–1. [10] 2003 was the Rockers' last playoff appearance, and is the only team in the WNBA to qualify for the playoffs in their last season of play.

Folding

After the 2002 season, the Gunds decided to buy the Rockers from the WNBA, seemingly ensuring the Rockers' future. However, despite fielding competitive teams and having decent attendance for most games, the Gund family decided they did not wish to operate the Rockers after the 2003 season. [11] No local ownership was found for the team, forcing the Rockers to fold in December 2003, and the players went to the other teams in the league via a dispersal draft in January 2004. [12] The Rockers ceased operation after seven seasons, posting an all-time record of 108–112. A WNBA franchise would next fold in 2008 when the Houston Comets ceased operations because of lack of ownership.

Season-by-season records

SeasonTeamConferenceRegular season Playoff results Head coach
WLPCT
Cleveland Rockers
1997 1997 East 4th1513.536 Linda Hill-MacDonald
1998 1998 East 1st2010.667Lost WNBA Semifinals (Phoenix, 1–2) Linda Hill-MacDonald
1999 1999 East 6th725.219 Linda Hill-MacDonald
2000 2000 East 2nd1715.531Won Conference Semifinals (Orlando, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (New York, 1–2)
Dan Hughes
2001 2001 East 1st2210.688Lost Conference Semifinals (Charlotte, 1–2) Dan Hughes
2002 2002 East 7th1022.313 Dan Hughes
2003 2003 East 4th1717.500Lost Conference Semifinals (Detroit, 1–2) Dan Hughes
Regular Season108112.4910 Conference Championships
Playoffs69.4000 WNBA Championships

Hall of famers

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Cleveland Rockers Hall of Famers
Players
No.NamePositionTenureInducted
8 Lynette Woodard G 19972004

FIBA Hall of Famers

Cleveland Rockers Hall of Famers
Players
No.NamePositionTenureInducted
13 Isabelle Fijalkowski PF 1997–19982020

Notable players

Coaches and others

Head Coaches:

General Managers:

Assistant Coaches

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References

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  2. "Cleveland WNBA team named". News-Journal. Associated Press. February 13, 1997. p. 2B. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "WNBA team rosters". The Shreveport Times. Associated Press. June 21, 1997. p. 6C. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  4. James, Michael (August 25, 1997). "Liberty rock OT, roll into playoffs". Daily News. p. 23C. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Rockers hope to defy trend against Mercury". The Tampa Tribune. Wire Reports. August 22, 1998. p. 3. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Mercury finishes Rockers; Comets next in WNBA finals". Arizona Daily Star. Associated Press. August 26, 1998. p. D1. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  7. "Detroit victory shocks Cleveland". Democrat and Chronicle. Associated Press. August 15, 2001. p. 7D. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "Sting advances in WNBA playoffs". Rocky Mount Telegram. Associated Press. August 21, 2001. p. 3B. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  9. "Schumacher's got playoff Fever". The Daily Spectrum. Associated Press. August 14, 2002. p. B2. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  10. Krista, Latham (September 3, 2003). "Shock wave; Nolan, Ford overwhelm Rockers". Detroit Free Press. p. D1. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  11. "Cavs owner dumps WNBA's Rockers". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. September 20, 2003. p. 2B. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.
  12. "Cleveland Rockers are out of business". The Charlotte Observer. Bloomberg. December 27, 2003. p. 7C. Retrieved August 26, 2022 via Newspapers.com.