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WNBA Adds 4 Teams For 2000

The rapidly growing WNBA today chose Indiana, Miami, Portland, Ore., and Seattle as expansion franchises to begin play in the 2000 season.

The additions will bring the league to 16 teams.

"We had not anticipated expanding this quickly," WNBA president Val Ackerman said. "But the combination of the success of the league in the first two seasons and the strong interest expressed by NBA owners has convinced us that the time is right to create new teams and new opportunities for fans to experience our games."

The WNBA began in 1997 with franchises in Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah.

It added teams in Detroit and Washington last season. This season begins Thursday with 12 teams, the additions coming in Minnesota and Orlando.

The four additions for 2000 is contingent on each team securing pledges for at least 5,500 season tickets before Oct. 15.

Under the alignment plan next year, Indiana and Miami will be in the Eastern Conference, along with Charlotte, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Orlando and Washington.

Portland and Seattle will play in the Western Conference with Houston, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah.

"The WNBA is a really important addition," Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said. "I think it sends a good message to young girls who are interested in playing sports."

©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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