With 2018 just around the corner, what were the biggest stories in women's basketball this year?
These 10 moments moved the needle in 2017, both in the college game and the WNBA.
10. Viva Las Vegas: Stars turn into Aces
It was unfortunate news for the team's fans that the WNBA's Stars were leaving San Antonio, where they had been since 2003. The good news, though, was that they were wanted elsewhere. MGM Resorts International bought the Stars, relocated them to Las Vegas and changed the nickname to the Aces. They had a splashy official introduction this month, and there's a sense that the franchise now has management support, which had diminished in San Antonio. The Aces also have young talent, an experienced coach in Bill Laimbeer and the No. 1 pick in the draft for the second year in a row. While the WNBA still awaits the expected sale of the New York Liberty by MSG -- the 2018 schedule can't be set until that's resolved in some way -- the ownership in Las Vegas brought new life to a franchise that needed it.
9. Seattle's best: WNBA All-Star Game a hit
For the first time, the Storm hosted the WNBA's annual showcase of the league's best players -- and Seattle really embraced it. Players enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere in the city and appreciated how engaged the fans were at KeyArena in July. It was a chance for the Storm faithful to display their great affection for Storm point guard Sue Bird, and also cheer on stars young and old. Minnesota's Maya Moore was the All-Star MVP, but Connecticut's Jonquel Jones, in just her second WNBA season, stole the show with a powerful performance that included a dunk.
8. Geno backs Quinnipiac: UConn's favorite Cinderella
Two double-digit seeds made the NCAA Sweet 16 in March. UConn coach Geno Auriemma rooted for one -- and then routed the other. In the Stockton Regional, No. 12 Quinnipiac -- located in Hamden, Connecticut -- beat No. 5 seed Marquette and No. 4 Miami to advance to the regional semifinals against top-seeded South Carolina. Meanwhile, Auriemma showed up to a news conference at the Bridgeport Regional wearing a Quinnipiac T-shirt in support of his fellow Nutmeg State school. He had his own Cinderella to deal with, though. No. 10 seed Oregon upset No. 3 Maryland -- after having already gotten past No. 7 Temple and No. 2 Duke -- to advance to the Elite Eight. But the Huskies ended the Ducks' dream run 90-52. Oregon, a Pac-12 program on the rise behind super sophomore Sabrina Ionescu, won't be a Cinderella in 2018; the Ducks currently are ranked No. 10. But the Quinnipiac Bobcats, who fell 100-58 to the Gamecocks to end last season, hope to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference again and go on another Cinderella run.
7. Super friends: Taurasi, Bird become record-holders
Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird have been pals since their UConn days. Both were WNBA No. 1 draft picks, and they've become the faces of their respective franchises in Phoenix and Seattle. They've also played together overseas and on the U.S. national team, winning four Olympic gold medals. This past WNBA season, both reached the summit of what they do best. Taurasi became the league's all-time leading scorer June 18, and now has 7,867 points. Bird became the WNBA's all-time assists leader Sept. 1, and she's at 2,610 in that category. (Also consider 1,081 playoff points for Taurasi and 203 playoff assists for Bird.)
6. Join the club: Three coaches reach 1,000 wins
There was only one Division I women's basketball coach who had 1,000 victories before 2017: the late Pat Summitt of Tennessee. But this year, three more joined her. Stanford's Tara VanDerveer did it in February. Then, in an astonishing coincidence, both North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell and UConn's Geno Auriemma did it just hours apart Dec. 19. Put the four of them together, and you've got 4,116 victories -- and countless lives impacted. Next up to join the 1,000 club: Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer, who is 11 victories away.
5. Century mark: UConn streak hits 100 and beyond
The Huskies had previously set records with 70 consecutive and 90 consecutive victories. They officially set a new mark with 91 at SMU in January. Then they outdid themselves by getting into triple digits, hitting 100 in February at home against South Carolina. The streak got all the way to 111 as the Huskies advanced to their 18th Final Four. But there, in the national semifinals, it came to an end at the hands of Mississippi State. (Think that's in the countdown?)
4. Filling the basket: Plum becomes top scorer
Washington's Kelsey Plum began her senior season with her sights set on exceeding a player who was a lot like her: Missouri State's Jackie Stiles. Both made their mark as hard-working, sharp-shooting guards. Stiles set the NCAA's career scoring mark at 3,393 in 2001. Sixteen years later, it was Plum's turn, and she did it grand style, scoring 57 points at home on senior day against Utah on Feb. 25 to pass Stiles. Plum finished her Washington career with 3,527 points and was the No. 1 draft pick by the Stars.
3. Hear them roar: Lynx win fourth title
Minnesota has won the league championship in 2011, '13, '15 and '17. The Lynx were also in the WNBA Finals in 2012 and 2016, losing to Indiana and Los Angeles, respectively. Last year's loss in five games to the Sparks was especially disappointing to the Lynx, who fell on their home court in Game 5 to a last-second shot by Nneka Ogwumike. The 2017 Finals played out very similarly to 2016, featuring the league's two best teams, but with a different ending. Once again, the series went to Game 5 in Minnesota. But this time, led by 2017 regular-season and Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles, the Lynx prevailed.
2. Mighty Morgan: Mississippi State upsets UConn
The Huskies' winning streak and quest for their 12th national championship were the big stories going into these teams' national semifinal in Dallas on March 31. But the smallest player on the court was the story when it was over. Bulldogs point guard Morgan William already had put on a show with 41 points in an overtime upset of Baylor in the regional final. Then she hit a jump shot as time expired in overtime as Mississippi State upset UConn 66-64. It was one of the all-time stunners in Women's Final Four history, especially considering the Huskies had defeated the Bulldogs by 60 points the previous year in the NCAA Sweet 16. The streak ended at 111, and Mississippi State advanced to its first NCAA final.
1. South Carolina celebrates: Gamecocks are NCAA champs
Three times as a player at Virginia, Dawn Staley went to the Final Four and came home with heartbreak. Staley made her Final Four breakthrough as South Carolina's coach in 2015, but fell to Notre Dame in the semifinals. In the Gamecocks' second trip --- led by hometown hero A'ja Wilson -- they claimed the 2017 championship over Mississippi State. It ended a 25-year wait for Staley from the end of her Cavalier career (a national semifinal loss to Stanford), and she's still taking the victory lap by sharing it with everyone and every place that has been part of her journey. This week, that included her hometown of Philadelphia and Temple, where she began her coaching career.