- Associated Press - Sunday, September 12, 2010

SEATTLE (AP) - WNBA commissioner Donna Orender said the league remains interested in putting a franchise in the San Francisco area, but will not rush the process.

Speaking to reporters prior to Sunday’s first game of the WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Atlanta Dream, Orender said the league will be taking a closer look at that region during the upcoming offseason.

“There’s lots of discussion _ I would call it quiet discussion _ in the Bay Area,” Orender said. “There are several interested ownership groups. I think we’ve made the decision to take it slow and let them find their way and put together their funding and put together how they want to do business on their own time frame at this point.”

The Northern California area had the Sacramento Monarchs from the inception of the league in 1996 until the team folded after the 2009 season.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be a strong market for the WNBA,” Orender said. “There are 2,000 season ticket holders there already waiting for a team to cheer for. This offseason, we’ll be spending a little more time out there trying to figure out the next step.”

Orender also indicated that the 11-player rosters likely will remain for next season, although that topic is very likely to come up during league competition committee meetings next month. Teams have been limited to 11 players for the past two years.

“There’s no one in our league who wouldn’t agree or wouldn’t support the fact that the last two years have been tremendously competitive,” Orender said. “We don’t think in any way we’ve been compromised in that effect. That said, there will be competition meeting in October, and every aspect of our business is always on the table for discussion.”

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