WNBA 101: Everything You Need to Know for Your Hot Sports Summer

Welcome to Your WNBA 101 Guide

A collage of WNBA Players

I never thought I’d be here writing this for you. I used to love the silly femme performance I’d do where I’d tee-hee-hee about “sportsball,” because I have never played sports a day in my life. Certainly not as a kid — where I stuck to theater and art, as is my right as a gay — and not as an adult. Honestly, the whole concept just passed me by.

Something started to change for me a couple of years ago. it was brought to my attention how insanely hot WNBA players are. That was step one.

Step two came about a year after that, when Brittney Griner was wrongfully detained in Russia. I helped helm Autostraddle’s coverage of Griner’s detainment and immediately it became clear that the main reason she was in Russia in the first place was due to the pay inequity in women’s basketball in the United States, which enraged me. In part what was so upsetting was that I knew why women’s sports don’t make the money they should to be able to pay players what they need…. it’s because people like me, casual watchers from afar who theoretically could be fans, hadn’t step up to the plate. So I joined an Autostraddle staff fantasy league (I fully recommend this with your friends, by the way!) and decided to get serious learning about the W.

A lot has happened since then! After over 25 years, the WNBA is on the precipice of a new and enthralling chapter. Maybe you’ve heard of a phenom by the name of Caitlin Clark? Angel Reese? Kamilla Cardoso?

Women’s basketball is rapidly becoming mainstream. Games are breaking records left and right — largest ever television audiences, in-person sell outs, even the WNBA Draft Night drew a larger audience than any other pro sports draft in the last year (including the men’s NBA) with only one exception: The NFL itself. That’s huge. Over 24 million people tuned in to this year’s NCAA women’s basketball finals — making it the largest watched basketball game (men’s or women’s, collegiate or professional) since 2019!! And three of the stars of that game, Caitlin Clark, Kamilla Cardoso, and Kate Martin have all landed WNBA roster spots for this summer.

So yes, the WNBA is everywhere. And loving women’s sports is a time-honored gay past time. Even the satire website Reductress got in on the fun, proclaiming “Rest of World Finally Starting to See What Lesbians See in Women’s Basketball.”

But what if you’re someone who has always glazed over when anyone talked “sports”? And now you have a little (or a lot) of anxiety around how to even jump in, even though you’d really like to try because you hear its gay and fun… Welcome! I’m so excited to have you!

I’m going to hand hold you step-by-step — in obsessive, but also very accessible detail! — through everything you could possibly need to know about the WNBA. From what are the rules of a basketball game, anyway? To where to buy cute merch, how to watch games, who’s all gay here, and the queer politics of the league.

Kierstan Bell of the Las Vegas Aces posing with her key to the city after the Aces became 2022 national champs. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

See? What did I say? Incredibly gay, insanely hot.

What Are the Basic Rules of a WNBA Game?

Ok let’s start with the basics. If you already know the fundamentals of basketball — look away! This part isn’t for you. Feel free to skip down.

For the rest of us!! Basketball is a sport played between two teams. The goal is very simple: Get the ball into the basket.

When it’s your turn to have the ball (this is called offense) — every time the ball goes into the basket, your team gets two-three points. If the other team has the ball, then your goal is to stop them from getting the ball into the basket (this is called defense). At the end of the game, the team with the most points win.

Famously, Janelle Monáe messed this up while dressed as Lola Bunny from Space Jam  in the 2023 NBA All-Star game, which resulted in NBA Hall of Famer (and Zaya Wade’s Dad) Dwyane Wade hilariously yelling to her “Janelle, we on offense!” And if you think I have video, you are absolutely right:

WNBA games are split into four quarters, each quarter is 10 minutes long. That means you’re looking at about 40 minutes of direct game play (not including the rare overtime), but with time outs, fouls, and a halftime break after the first two quarters — it’s about two hours per game. It will fly by!

Each game starts at the center of the court, also known as the half court line. A ball is thrown up high by the referee and the team that catches the ball is the first to be on offense (again, trying to get the ball in the baket). The other team is on defense (again, trying to stop the ball from getting into the basket).

There is a certain amount of time that the offensive team has to try and get the ball into the basket, otherwise known as “the hoop” —  that allowed time is known by fans as the “shot clock” and in the WNBA the shot clock is 24 seconds.

So, to recap: Your team has 24 second to get the ball in the hoop, and the other team will try like hell to stop you. If you get the ball into the hoop, great! You get some points. But if you don’t even make an attempt at getting said ball into said hoop before the 24 seconds are over, then the other automatically team gets the ball. That means they’re now on offense and will now try to get the ball into their own hoop, you’re now on defense and it is your job to stop them.

In professional sports, the basket is 10 feet above ground, which is very high! Gotta have height or hops (the ability to jump high) to play this game. After the ball has been shot (thrown into the air), regardless of if it actually goes in the hoop or not… well, as the saying goes “what goes up must come down.” And everyone will fight to get the ball on its way back to earth.

Whichever team that gets the ball is now on offense, this is called a rebound.

(And yes, for my strategy heads in the audience, this also means that your team could catch their own rebound, thus extending their own shot clock for a second attempt at a basket.)

OK! Those are basics of how to play the game. Basket, offense, defense, rebound, and two-three points. So far, so good?

Let’s talk about the exactly where this game is played!

What Is the Basic Layout of a WNBA Court?

I made this for you because you’re great.

I’m glad you asked! For our 101 purposes, the basic layout of a WNBA court is essentially the same as any other full-sized basketball court.

First, you will have a basket, 10 feet high, on each side of the court.

Then, will be a center court, otherwise known as the half court line. This is where teams meet at the beginning of the game and also designates the halfway point from one team’s “side” of the court verses the other. When a team switches from defense to offense, they have to get the ball back to their side of the court (and quickly!) to get the ball into their own basket, and vice versa.

Surrounding the basket there are two different lines drawn on the floor that you should pay attention to. The first is a semi-circle drawn a little over 22 feet away from the basket, that is the three point line. Any baskets made (ie/shots of the ball successfully going into the basket) at this line, or beyond it, is worth three points. Any baskets made inside of that line is worth two points.

The second line to pay attention to is called the free throw line. The free throw line is a straight line, roughly 15 feet away from the basket. If a someone “fouls” a player while they were making a shot (that means someone broke a rule in defending a player while that player was attempting to shoot a basket), then the game pauses. That player who was fouled now gets to shoot two-three “free baskets” from the free throw line, without anyone defending them or causing a ruckus. Once that’s over, the game resumes again.

Ok so we have the rules of the game covered, and we’ve talked about the court, we’re almost at the finish line, but there’s one more key piece. What about the players themselves?

What Are the Positions on a Basketball Team?

Each of the two basketball teams will have five players on the court. Additionally, each team can have more reserve players on the bench who can be subbed into the game at any point. The WNBA allows each team a maximum of 12 players (so five on the court, seven on the bench), though in reality due to financial restrictions most teams have roughly 11.

I drew this for you! But in real life these x’s will move, for they will be actually alive people and not a drawing!

The “starting five” of a basketball game are generally considered to be the team’s best players in each position, and often the team leaders, though again — people can be switched or subbed in at any moment, and some teams play around with their starting five to meet their needs on any given night. So what are these five positions?

** all photos below are of famous lesbian, queer, or bisexual WNBA players, in case that didn’t feel clear to you!! **

Brittney Griner is a Center. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Center is usually the tallest player on each team, and you’ll most likely find them near the basket. On offense, the center tries to use their height to make close shots (called layups) and also to help their team keep their own rebounds. When on defense, the center uses their height and strength to block opponents’ shots and rebound their opponents’ missed baskets before anyone else can.

Jonquel Jones

Jonquel Jones is a Power Forward. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Power Forward does a lot of the same things that you can expect from a center; you’ll most often find them underneath a basket, rebounding and defending against the taller players of the opposite team. But a power forward usually takes longer/farther away shots than a center.

DeWanna Bonner

DeWanna Bonner is a Small Forward. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Small Forward plays against all players, small and large. They can score from long distance or close distance. They roam all over the court and they are sometimes also referred to as “wings.” Isn’t that cute?

Diana Taurasi

Diana Taurasi is a Shooting Guard. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Shooting Guard is usually the team’s best shooter. An assassin, if you will. They can make shots from a long distance, close up, whatever is needed.

Chelsea Gray

Chelsea Gray is a Point Guard. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Point Guard (you’ll also see this written by fans as “Point Gawd” as in Point God) is the player with vision on the court to see all the plays in motion, and open up opportunities for their teammates. The ball most often goes through them, and when switching from defense to offense, they are often the player who brings the ball up the court. They are usually the team’s best passer and one of their best shooters.

All of that said, it should be noted that the WNBA specifically can be pretty position-less! By which I mean, players will often fit into the slots as needed (so don’t worry too much about the positions), all with the same ultimate goal of… say it with me now… getting the ball into the basket!

WHEW! And there you have it! The basics of basketball! Now let’s talk more about The W.

What WNBA Teams Should I Root For?

There are 12 WNBA Teams total, six in the Eastern Conference and six in the West. If you are new to the league, Robocoko makes an annual team-by-team breakdown of the pros/cons of becoming a fan of each specific team that absolutely should not be missed.

“No stats, Just vibes.”

Robocoko also made a full website version of the same perfect list. It also has an excellent use of a millennial meme for Caitlin Clark that you’re gonna have to clickthru to see!

OK But — I Only Want To Know Which WNBA Team Is the Gayest (And Fulfill My Thirst)

Last season, roughly 25% of the WNBA were publicly out athletes — which likely makes it, statistically speaking, one of the gayest professional sports leagues in the world.

Autostraddle just updated our  annual list of all the gay players in the WNBA that you can also follow on Instagram… for… well, you know why 💦. You don’t need me to tell you. We’re all grown here.

A collage of the gay WNBA players

Click thru for maximum thirst and gays.

How Long Is the WNBA Season?

WNBA seasons typically run about the length of Summer, from late Spring into mid-Fall.

The 2024 WNBA regular-season schedule will have record-high 40 games per team (this is also the same as last year)!! The league is growing, you hear me!?!?

Here are the all WNBA opening games, you can watch them on ESPN2 and ESPN3:

The WNBA All-Star Game will be played roughly halfway through the season, on July 20th. It will be in Phoenix, so I am expecting hot temperatures and minimal clothing. Ahem.

There’s a special mini-tournament that happens within the season called the Commissioner’s Cup. It’s actually going to have a new format this year, in part due to the month-long mid-summer break that the league will need to take for the Olympics. In June, there will be a two-week tournament with “in conference” teams facing off against each other (so East playing against East, and West playing against West). In the end there will be a championship game on June 25th, where teams compete for prize money for both their teams and also community organizations of their choosing.

And as I just mentioned, there will be a month-long break mid season for the Olympics! That will happen from July 18th to August 14th.

Where Can I Watch WNBA Games on TV and Streaming?

There’s no getting around it — watching WNBA games on TV can be one of the trickiest parts of getting into league as a fan! But, the league is doing better about this!

This year, you can find nationally televised WNBA games on all the ESPN platforms (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN+), as well on ABC, CBS, the CBS Sports Network, Paramount+, Prime Video, and NBA TV. A fun fact is that you can also watch WNBA games on social media like Twitter. The league also struck a deal with the ION to run weekly games on Fridays. Here is a full broadcast schedule of all 40 games.

I know that’s a lot of platforms to keep track of! I set my Hulu Live account (since I don’t have cable) to record all the games available for my favorite teams, and work backwards from there. You can do the same thing using your DVR if you still have a cable box.

The easiest way to catch all 40 WNBA games is to get WNBA League Pass. It costs $35 annually, which I know seems like a commitment, but that comes to less than a dollar a game across the entire season (even more so if you include all the playoff games into your budget math). League Pass garuntees you see all the games that are out of market (that means if you live in a Market that has no local WNBA franchise, you get every game. If you live in a market with a local WNBA franchise, you will need to follow your local broadcast schedule for those games). You can find details and FAQ’s in the link above.

I finally got League Pass last year and let me tell you, it made a HUGE difference! It was such a relief to not have to frantically track down every game or to stress if my favorite team’s game wasn’t being covered by ESPN or CBS that night. Getting League Pass is also a sustainable and useful way to put your money where your mouth is and financially support the league! Women’s sports are not going to grow until we grow it. That’s it.

If you’d also like a broadcast schedule for the WNBA games on ESPN and ABC, I have that for you here.

Who Should I Follow for More WNBA Content Online?

Slowly falling into women’s sports fandom online has been one of my greatest gifts of the last three years. Things that I love: women kicking ass, smart and funny people talking about women kicking ass.

With that in mind, may I recommend:

WNBA on Twitter

  • Ari Chambers, founder of HighlightHER (more on them below) and creator of the infamous meme “the WNBA is so important” — you’ll see it repeated a lot in fandom spaces. She’s now a reporter for the sports media company Andscape.
  • Individual players (Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson has made my days better, girl is hilarious)
  • Team Autostraddle, of course! Natalie, me, and Nic will get you right.

WNBA on Instagram

WNBA on TikTok

Also, most teams and individual players — especially the Gen Z players — all have TikToks, which can be very cute!

On this front, in particular I recommend Indiana Fever Sophomore and former #1 draft pick Aliyah Boston. This video of Fever teammates goofing off in the locker room went viral earlier this Spring for the very adorable dip out by this year’s #1 pick Caitlin Clark once her teammates started dancing:


Bow bow bow fever girls are back🤩 #indianafever #fyp #viralvideo #wnba #workout @Lyss @Eweezy_3

♬ Get It Sexyy – Sexyy Red

You also won’t find a better WNBA follow than the Las Vegas Aces’ Syd Colson. She’s so funny that she actually had a sketch comedy reality show last fall, which jokingly named her “the face of the league” — and the nickname has stuck because she earned it, one sketch at a time.



♬ original sound – sydcolson

Where to Buy 🔥 WNBA Merch

A collage of WNBA merch, including various t-shirts and an orange hoodie sweatshirt

Top Row, Left to Right: Everyone Watches Women’s Sports Tee (xs-3xl, $45), NY Liberty Tee ($32, s-3xl), Caitlin Clark Tee (s-3xl, $45), Rooting for Women’s Basketball Tee (s-xxl, $45), WNBA Hoodie (xs-3xl, $70)

The day that I discovered Playa Society, it was over for my bank account. Black woman-owned and designed, Playa Society does (often limited edition) updated takes on ’90s style sports gear and I have no less than three shirts already in my personal collection.

Homage shirts are some of the softest that will ever touch your body, and they have logo gear for both the current 12 teams in the league along with vintage logo tees of WNBA teams past, if you wanna stand out.

BreakingT has the officially licensed apparel for the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (the players union, which was instrumental, among other things, in the #WeAreBG campaign last year to bring Brittney Griner home).

The women’s sports media company Togethxr created what’s easily the viral most shirt of the season, “Everyone Watches Women’s Sports,” and you know what? Everyone is wearing it. Your favorite player is wearing it. Your favorite coach is wearing it. Soon you will be wearing it, too.

And finally, I haven’t worked my way up to the iconic orange WNBA hoodie — but it’s a classic. There’s a reason it sells out every time the league restocks it.

Politics and Key Discourse Surrounding the WNBA

WNBA Players all wear Brittney Griner's #42 jersey during 2023 All Star game in protest.

Players during the 2022 WNBA All Star game wear Brittney Griners’ #42 jersey in solidarity and protest while she was wrongfully detained in Russia. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

One of best things that sets the WNBA apart from other professional sports leagues is that it is immensely smart and political.

During 2020, the WNBA were crucial leaders in bringing discussions of Black Lives Matter onto the courts — leading the way for the NBA to follow suit.  When the Atlanta Dream were owned by a Trump-supporting Republican, Kelly Loeffler, they protested their own owner and supported her opponent, Rev. Raphael Warnock (who eventually won the seat) in the 2020 Georgia Senate race. This eventually caused her to sell the team! She sold them to a local real estate group including Renee Montgomery, a Black former player on the Dream herself who had sat out the 2020 season to focus on her activism. That’s a beautiful full circle.

And of course, in 2023 the WNBA players’ union was unrelenting and determined in their messaging last summer to keep Brittney Griner’s name in headlines and keep pressure on the Biden Administration to bring her home. Their influence could not be overstated.

The league had a particularly prickly relationship with gay fans (and players) in its early years, but now hosts some of the most robust Pride packages on any its peers in men’s or women’s sports. Some of the WNBA wives (Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle, Chelsea Gray’s wife, Tipsea, just to name a few) are as commonly see on the W’s social media as the players.

Watching WNBA games are never just about the games themselves, but it’s also about the conversations that are embedded around the games. With that in mind, here’s some of what people are talking about right now:

The Caitlin Clark Effect

+ Even if you’ve been living under a rock, chances are high that you’ve heard of Caitlin Clark. There’s even a stronger chance that if you’re new to the W this season — she is the reason why. And listen, I have nothing against Caitlin Clark! She is a magnificent basketball player and her ability to regularly shoot a three-pointer from as far away as the half court is not like anything we’ve seen. She’s broken every college scoring record, but she’s also captured the American imagination, which is elusive and slippery and hard to do!

There are a lot of benefits to Caitlin Clark joining the league this summer. Ticket prices are up everywhere, sell-outs are increasing everywhere, and by September it’s all but guaranteed that more women’s basketball player will be known by casual sports fans than ever before, because a rising tide lifts all boats. I also have really enjoyed CC as a person over the course of training camp! She’s really bonding with her team, and it’s great to see.

But it’s also true that Caitlin Clark, who is white and straight and gives a real “America’s Girl Next Door” vibe that is always marketable in sports, has had opportunities given to her that haven’t been previously provided to gay, Black players — even players who have been remarkably talented in their own rights! And with the Caitlin Clark effect has come a bandwagon of fans (also often straight and white) who have not been all that respectful of the league! It’s complicated, to say the least.

For our purposes, I put the Caitlin Clark Effect first because any “new” conversation around Caitlin has bled into already ongoing conversations that have been happening across the league for years, including: league expansion, equal facility access, and the disparity in media coverage between Black and white players. 

Expand the League!

This a common refrain in the weeks between the WNBA Draft and Opening Weekend, during the training camp period where players are often cut due to, among other reasons, a literal lack of available spots. This year only 36% (13/36) of 2024 WNBA draft picks are on rosters for the season tip off — and last year was not any better! The league cannot grow without space to let young (and often, popular! Fresh from large college fanbases!) players develop. But we are knocking on the door of some BIG changes! In 2025, the WNBA will have its first new team since 2008, the Golden State Valkyries. League Commissioner Cathy Engelbert has said she’s “confident” the league will expand from its current 12 teams to 16 teams by 2028.

But we can’t expand the league without also expanding its audience, which is tied to a lot sexism and capitalism and that is also why you are here today! To become part of that new audience, so that we can grow this league!!

Equal Access to Pay and Facilities

This is definitely tied to the league expansion point above (see: capitalism and sexism), but a fact that stuns a lot of casual watchers is that  a lot of what would be considered “standard practices” for a professional team (team meals before and after practice, standalone practice facilities, chartered flights, hell even… personal lockers) has not been available to all WNBA teams, even 28 years later.  In fact, before she retired, WNBA superstar Candace Parker (who is gay, just a fun lil reminder that I like to point out the gays!) said that in her entire multi-decade career she had never even had a permanent locker to call her own! Which was a deciding factor in her decision to sign with the Las Vegas Aces after leaving the Chicago Sky.

This year the WNBA has committed to finally offering chartered flights, which is a huge deal. The fact that until now the WNBA expected  players to fly commercial, and deal with the stress it causes on their bodies, shocked their peers in the NBA. Because, frankly, it was crap! And as the league becomes more popular, it’s a direct safety concern! Last summer, Brittney Griner was accosted at a public airport while traveling commercial with her team. This season Caitlin Clark will have her own security detail, and even that was not enough to deter fans from causing unsafe environments during her team’s preseason game in Dallas — this is what ultimately pushed the league on the issue.

Unfortunately, not all WNBA teams will be flying private just yet. As of the season tip-off, that privilege has just been granted to the Indiana Fever and the Minnesota Lynx, with more teams promised as the season continues. Needless to say, that inequitable roll out has ruffled a lot of feathers.

Inequity in Media Coverage Between Black Players and White Players

A University of Massachusetts Amherst study on the 2020 season found that Black players receive roughly half the play in media mentions as their white peers. After reading more than 550 articles about the WNBA posted on ESPN, CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated’s website, the researchers discovered there was an “average 52 media mentions for Black players, compared to 118 for white players.”

And I’d like to point out, as has New York Liberty’s Jonquel Jones, that those numbers are compounded further when we are talking about gay and masc players — even though, as a majority Black league that is also nearly a quarter gay — Black gay players make up the backbone of the WNBA! And the debated “marketability” of Black players such as two-time WNBA champion and two-time league MVP A’ja Wilson has had more than serious whiff of racism in its undercurrent to go around. It also has very real economic consequences (like the ability for players to make money from endorsement deals). Thankfully, after a prolonged process with Nike, A’ja Wilson will soon become the first Black woman to have a signature show in nearly 15 years, and the first to have a signature shoe with Nike in over 20 years.

(A’ja Wilson’s not gay, she’s just fun. But the point remains!)

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

There are a lot of new fans in the league, which can be great! But also the influx of men’s basketball fans (or honestly, even some straight women basketball fans) who do not know the cultural norms of what’s traditionally been a progressive and politically aware fandom can cause for some uncomfortabilities online! So! Just to be clear:

+ In this house, we respect Black culture and the impact that Black players have had on the league and basketball overall.

+ We’re glad and grateful every day that BG is home safe and well (but you’re still allowed to root against the Phoenix Mercury if you have a pre-standing grudge or rivalry agains the team, it is only fair.)

+ “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there.”  — that’s word to Megan Rapinoe

+ We pay respect to Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Cheryl Miller (who never played in the league), Rebecca Lobo, and so many more who made sacrifices to play women’s basketball, often with little-to-no pay, so that the WNBA could still be here 27 years later.

+ Trans and gender nonconforming players have a place in this game — and all games, but right now we’re talking about The W.

And if All Else Fails… Here’s What to Yell During a Basketball Game When You Have No Idea What’s Going On

A distraught women praying during a sports ball game, collaged on top of a leather orange pattern like a basketball.

Photo by FG Trade. Art by Autostraddle.

You’re gonna have to impress that hot date somehow. Or maybe you’d simply prefer a cheat sheet rather than reading this entire article. Either way, I’m here to help.


This is tried and true, use it whenever the team you are rooting for is on defense. I included the dash mark so that you get the right emphasis.

“And One!”

Yell this when a player gets fouled, but they still make the shot. This means that they will get an extra foul shot anyway, hence “and one!”


This is for when a shot is missed, especially by a player you don’t like. For extra bonus points you can also preemptively yell it when a player don’t like is mid-shot (thus, encouraging them to make a brick) — but I recommend doing that sparingly, or you might start annoying whomever is watching the game with you.


This is the opposite of a brick. Yell this when a shot goes through the basket, especially by a player you do like.

“She just broke her ankles!”

You have to watch closely for this one, but if you pull it off you will look so cool. When a player does a crossover (moves the ball from one side to the other) very quickly and pivots in a new direction, the player that’s defending her will stumble while trying to keep up. It will look like she’s lost her balance or is stuck in place, literally as if her ankles are going in the wrong direction from the rest of her body. Therefore, “she just broke her ankles!”

“Oooh, ok ok! They’re getting boards!”

Boards are rebounds. Say this when a team is getting a lot of them and everyone will assume you know what you’re talking about.

“From downtowwwnnn!”

Downtown is a three point shot, the farther away the better.

“Box Out!”

In basketball, to “box out” is to get underneath the basket and hold your own/defend your space, thus “boxing out” another player and increasing your chance of grabbing the rebound for your team. If you see a cluster of players underneath the basket, it’s a great time to yell it.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for this, Carmen! This is gonna be an amazing season, and the recent news that my city will be getting a franchise in 2026 has me even more excited about the W. I hope that some of the promising players who’ve been waived recently will get another chance here in ’26 or next year at Golden State.

  2. yay! thank you Carmen! this is the year we’ve decided to get into the W (and show the lil dude that women call ball) so this will be very helpful! i’m already scoping tix for when BG comes to LA

  3. I hope Portland gets a team some day. Rip City would absolutely love the WNBA the same way we set a new standard for supporting women’s soccer with the Thorns.

    Speaking of, when will AS start covering the NWSL?

  4. This is so great!! Will be sending to all new fans!

    I’m a longtime W fan who also loves all the young players, so I have to say I appreciated the shoutout to the growing relationship between Aliyah and CC – something I’m looking forward to both on and off the court this season

  5. Since Toronto will be getting its own WNBA team in 2026, this is very helpful for me!

    I would LOVEEEEEEE if you could do this for other women’s leagues – the NWSL and PWHL specifically. Hell, I can write your PWHL article if you want!!!

  6. Thanks for this article! I’m in ATL and have been trying to learn basketball to so I know what’s happening while I’m cheering on the Dream. Would love to see a WNBA 201 that explains some of the foul rules. That’s the most confusing part for me. I need to know when to yell at the refs on my tv! 😂

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