Miami Sol of the WNBA: Folded But Not Forgotten

By: Sports Teller


Why did the Miami Sol Only Last 3 Seasons in the WNBA? What did the Miami Sol Roster Look Like? Miami Sol of the WNBA: Folded But Not Forgotten!

Hello Everyone! Welcome to Sports Teller! Today, we will be going over the Miami Sol of the WNBA: Folded But Not Forgotten! In fact, we will be going over the history of the Miami Sol.

Defunct WNBA Teams: Cleveland Rockers, Sacramento Monarchs, Portland Fire, Houston Comets, and Charlotte Sting! Without further adieu, let’s begin!

Miami Sol of the WNBA: Folded But Not Forgotten

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The Birth of the Miami Sol and First Game in Team History

When the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) expanded from 12 to 16 teams in 2000, the Miami Sol was one of the four new teams. The other three newly expanded teams that began play in 2000 are the following: Seattle Storm, Indiana Fever & Portland Fire. The Sol played their first game in club history on June 1, 2000 with a 57-54 loss at home vs. Indiana. A couple days later, Miami celebrated its first franchise win on the road 74-63 in Charlotte. The Sol’s first home victory came on June 13 by defeating the Detroit Shock 74-61. The Miami Sol spent all of their existence playing home games at the American Airlines Arena. Also, Miami played in the East Conference.

The Creation of the WNBA’s South Florida Team: Miami Sol

Sol Selects the 1st Draft Picks in WNBA History

Along with the three new teams (Indiana, Seattle, Portland), the Miami Sol took part in the WNBA’s Expansion Draft in 2000. Miami selected guard Kate Starbird as the 3rd overall pick (Sacramento Monarchs and out of Stanford) in the expansion draft. Later in the same draft system, the Sol would select guard Sandy Brondello as the 6th overall pick (Detroit Shock and out from Australia). Later in the year, the league held a college draft as the Miami Sol selected guard Jameka Jones as the 19th overall pick in the 2nd round (out of UNC Charlotte).

Only Taste of the Playoffs

In 2001, the Miami Sol would make the playoffs in the first and only time in the three seasons of their existence. Miami would lose in the WNBA Semifinals to the New York Liberty in three games. During that 2001 campaign, the Sol compiled a 20-12 record and finished in 3rd place in the East Conference.

Who was the Miami Sol’s Owner?

Mickey Arison (Carnival Cruise Chairman) was the Sol’s owner in addition to the NBA’s Miami Heat. Even though Arison’s ownership with the Sol was short-lived, his other basketball team (the Heat) won three NBA Championships in 2006, 2012 & 2013. In fact, Mickey Arison won these NBA Titles with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Shaquille O’Neal, and head coach Pat Riley.

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Miami Sol Superstars to Remember

Debbie Black

  • 5.1 Points per Game, 3.5 Rebounds per Game, 3.7 Assists per Game
  • Led Sting to 2001 WNBA Playoffs
  • Played for Miami from 2000 to 2002
  • 1 Playoff Appearance in 2001
  • Head Coach for Eastern Illinois Women’s Basketball (2013-2017)
  • Ohio State Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach (2005-2013)

Marlies Askamp

  • 4.0 Points per Game, 4.0 Rebounds per Game, 0.6 Assists per Game
  • Played for Miami from 2000 until 2002
  • Guided Sting to 2001 WNBA Playoffs
  • Askamp is from Germany

Sandy Brondello

  • 10.8 Points per Game, 1.5 Rebounds per Game, 1.9 Assists per Game
  • Played for Miami Sol from 2001 to 2002
  • Led Sol to WNBA Playoffs in 2001
  • Phoenix Mercury Head Coach (2014-Present)
  • Guided Phoenix to 2014 WNBA Championship

Ruth Riley

  • 6.3 Points per Game, 3.8 Rebounds per Game, 0.9 Assists per Game
  • Played for Miami from 2001 until 2002
  • Guided the Sol to 2001 WNBA Playoffs
  • Went on to Win 2 WNBA Titles with Detroit Shock in 2003 & 2006
  • 2003 WNBA Finals MVP & WNBA All-Star in 2005

Ron Rothstein-Head Coach

  • Coached the Miami Sol from 2000 until 2002
  • Only Head Coach in Franchise History
  • Compiled a 48-48 record with team; 1-2 in Playoffs
  • Led the Sol to 2001 WNBA Playoffs
  • Miami Heat Assistant Coach (2004-2014)
  • Won 3 NBA Championships & 5 NBA Finals Appearances with Heat
  • Miami Heat Head Coach (1988-1991, 2007)
  • Was Interim Head Coach for Miami Heat in 2007 while Pat Riley was recovering from surgery

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Here’s What Led to the Demise of the Miami Sol

Lack of Success for the Franchise

Why would the Miami Sol last only three seasons in the WNBA? Other than reaching the playoffs in 2001, nothing else significant happened for the Sol. The team had never been to the WNBA Finals nor won a conference title. For the 2000 and 2002 seasons, Miami finished those campaigns below the 0.500 mark.

The Miami Sol is No More in South Beach: WNBA Decides to Fold

With the 2002 season ended with short expectations for the franchise, things turned for the worse for the Miami Sol. After the 2002 campaign, the WNBA decided to restructure its financial guidelines. Based to the league’s reconstruction, as well as the country’s economical impact from the September 11th 2001 tragedy, Owner Micky Arison and the management group realize that they didn’t have enough money to control both the Sol and the Heat. Due to financial concerns involving the franchise, the ownership had no choice but to fold the Miami Sol. The folding took place in late 2002 after the WNBA franchise lasted only three seasons (2000-2002). According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Heat ownership group then relinquished the franchise to the WNBA. Arison and the management decided it was best to focus contributions to the Miami Heat rather than manage on the NBA club as well as the WNBA franchise.

The Sol compiled a 48-48 regular season record as well as a 1-2 record in the playoffs. The Miami Sol became one of the two teams that folded after the 2002 WNBA Season. The other club that bit the dust was the Portland Fire and they, along with the Sol, also lasted just three seasons. Miami and Portland are currently the shortest-lived franchises in the history of the WNBA. Miami was not the only Florida-based WNBA team that ended operations after 2002. The Orlando Miracle relocated to New England to become the Connecticut Sun in time for the 2003 season. Interestingly, the Connecticut franchise made their logos and brands that looked similar to the Miami club.

When was the Sol’s final game? What happened to the Miami Sol Players?

The final game in the history of the Miami Sol took place on August 13, 2002 with Miami winning at home vs. Detroit Shock 61-56. As a result of the club ceasing operations, the players were eventually sent to other teams in the WNBA via dispersal draft.

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The Aftermath of the Miami Sol Becoming Extinct

Since the Sol ceased operations, a lot of things occurred since then. Mickey Arison is still the Miami Heat Owner to this day as the NBA club won three championships in a decade. Meanwhile, the Sol’s only head coach Ron Rothstein became a major presence in the Miami Basketball scene as he became an assistant coach for the Heat. During Rothstein’s tenure as assistant coach, the Heat won 3 NBA Titles (2006, 2012, 2013) and played in 5 NBA Finals (2006, 2011-2014). Sandy Brondello, who was one of the Sol’s main stars, became the head coach for the Phoenix Mercury and guided the team to a WNBA championship in 2014.

Will the WNBA Return to Miami One Day?

As of now, there are currently no discussions on whether the WNBA plans to expand. Based on the Sol’s short-lived history, it appears that the resurrection of the Miami WNBA team is more unlikely. Perhaps the reason Houston has a higher chance of landing a WNBA team one day is due to the huge fan base during the Comets’ era. The Sol might had a taste of the playoffs, but they did not have the same big fan following as the Comets had.

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