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Golden State Warriors granted WNBA expansion franchise

A WNBA basketball sits in the court in a game between the Chicago Sky and the Indiana Fever on June 15, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The WNBA is coming to the bay.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Thursday an expansion franchise will come to the San Francisco Bay Area and begin play in 2025.

Engelbert has faced constant questions about when the league would expand, to which she would reply when the time was right.

“The right time, the right moment is today,” Engelbert said, while welcoming, “the next generation of leaders, mothers and athletes.”

The NBA powerhouse Golden State Warriors have planned for this since before the opening of Chase Center in 2019. The WNBA team will play in the same arena where Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are stars.

“The Bay Area is the perfect market for a WNBA team, and we are thrilled this opportunity has finally come to fruition,” Warriors Co-Executive Chairman and CEO Joe Lacob said. “We have been interested in a WNBA franchise for several years, due in part to the rich history of women’s basketball in the Bay Area, and believe now is the ideal time to execute that vision and build upon that legacy.”

On hand for the announcement were Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, former player and current California coach Charmin Smith, WNBPA Director of Player Relations Jayne Appel and other former stars such as Sheryl Swoopes and Seimone Augustus.

Engelbert called the Bay Area a “hub” for women’s basketball.

“This is a thrilling time for the WNBA,” she said.