HomeSportsWNBA sells out first-ever game played in Canada

WNBA sells out first-ever game played in Canada

by Dustin Schutte
wnba canada
(Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

If the WNBA wants to expand, the next city to get a franchise might be Toronto. Fans sold out Scotiabank Arena on Saturday afternoon for an exhibition game between the Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky.

Saturday marked the WNBA’s first trip to Canada. Clearly, Toronto welcomed the league with open arms by selling out the arena for a preseason contest.

Scotiabank Arena holds 19,800 fans for a basketball game. It’s traditionally the home of the NBA‘s Toronto Raptors.

So that means just under 20,000 fans showed up for the first WNBA game in the country.

Saturday’s game was of special significance to Lynx player Bridget Carleton, a native of Chatham, Ontario. It was the first time she played professionally in her home country.

Before the game, Carleton took a microphone and stood at mid-court to address the passionate fans attending the game.

“What’s up, Canada!” Carleton said. “We are so excited to be here. I know from the Lynx standpoint, this is a really awesome day for us. I’m sure the Sky feel the same way. The WNBA is awesome for putting this one and I know you Canadians are excited to watch us play tonight!

“I think it’s time we show them Canada is not just a hockey country, that we’re passionate about basketball, too. So, I wanna hear you guys super loud and we’re so excited to be here and go Lynx!”

Sky defeat Lynx in first WNBA game in Canada

Carleton got the thrill of her professional career by being able to play in front of a true home crowd over the weekend. Unfortunately, Minnesota didn’t have enough to get a win over Chicago.

The Sky defeated the Lynx 82-74 in the preseason contest. Chicago’s Kahleah Copper scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the win. Kayana Traylor added 13 and Morgan Bertsch and Robyn Parks each chipped in 12 points.

Minnesota was led by Tiffany Mitchell, who scored 19 points off the bench. Kayla McBride and Rachel Banham added 13 apiece, as well.

Carleton finished the game with three points, two rebounds and an assist in 12 minutes of action.

The WNBA enters its 27th season as a professional league in 2023. There are currently 12 teams in the league, but expansion is always a possibility.

If it does look to start adding more teams in the future, Toronto might be one of the top cities to host a franchise based on Saturday’s turnout.