Bullett lands spot on WNBA team in Charlotte

January 22, 1997

From staff and wire reports

SECAUCUS, N.J. - Vicky Bullett longed for a time when she could come home to play basketball. But until this year, there wasn't a women's professional league in the United States.

There had been some attempts at women's leagues, but none had survived. But then, none had the outlook of the Women's NBA.

Bullett, a Martinsburg, W.Va., native, was assigned to the Charlotte, N.C., franchise on Wednesday as one of 16 cornerstone players in the new eight-team league. It was a moment Bullett had thought about often.


"It's an opportunity and I'm glad it's there for us," Bullett said of the new league when she spoke at a Shepherd College basketball camp in June. "I would ultimately like to end (my career) here and I will come back to be in basketball. I love home and I hate it when I have to go, but you have to go where the opportunity is."

The opportunity is now in Charlotte. Bullett, 28, joined a number of former Olympians and former college All-America players to get the WNBA - which is owned equally by the 29 NBA teams - off the ground.

Each of the eight teams were allocated two of the 16 players on Wednesday. WNBA president Val Ackerman said the league tried to balance the team's talent in assigning players, but that some were assigned because of popularity in a geographic area. Ackerman said the league plans to sign another 16 players soon and assign them by the end of February. A draft will be held April 28.

Bullett, a University of Maryland graduate, will be joined in Charlotte by Andrea Stinson, who was two-time All-America selection at North Carolina State.

Sheryl Swoopes, regarded by many as the top women's player, was assigned to Houston along with guard Cynthia Cooper. Swoopes is expecting a baby on June 21, the day the league begins its first season.

Fellow Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie was assigned to Los Angeles along with guard Penny Toler. Phoenix got Australian Olympian Michele Timms and Jennifer Gillom, Sacramento was assigned Ruthie Bolton-Holifield and Bridgette Gordon and Utah got Russian Olympian Elena Baranova and Lady Hardmon.

Former Connecticut star Rebecca Lobo was assigned to New York with Teresa Weatherspoon. Janice Lawrence Braxton and Michelle Edwards went to Cleveland.

Charlotte will play in the Eastern Conference with New York, Cleveland and Houston. The Western Conference will have franchises in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento and Utah. The eight-team league will start June 21 and finish Aug. 30. The teams will play 28 games.

Bullett played professionally in Italy for the last six seasons. The 6-foot-31/2 forward played three years for Bari in the Italian League before moving over to play for Cesena. She played at Martinsburg High for coach Don Bullett, her brother, before attending Maryland. Bullett, a 1989 Kodak All-America, played on the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams.

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