The Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge (1997-2020) Winner Is…

The winner of the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge presented by www.wbasketballblog.com is Candace Parker! Congratulations to Candace Parker. She defeated UConn Husky Diana Taurasi in the final public Twitter poll by 9% (54.2 percent compared to 45.8 percent.) View the bracket here.

Candace Parker at the University of Tennessee. Photo courtesy of Tennessee Athletics.

Candace Parker was the #1 seed in the Summitt Region. The region was named after her college coach, Patt Summitt. She defeated Dewanna Bonner in the Round of 64 and her former team mate Kristi Toliver in the Round of 32. She then, defeated Skylar Diggins in the Sweet 16. She defeated legendary Lady Vol alum Tamika Catchings in the Elite 8. In the Final four semifinal, she beat out legendary Husky Breanna Stewart who was performing extremely well in the Twitter Polls to advance to the Final.

Candace Parker had a decorated college career at the University of Tennessee and now can hold the crown for winning the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge from the year 1997 to 2020. Thank you to everyone who was on the selection committee, thank you to everyone who made and edited videos as well as images. Thank you to everyone who voted in the Twitter Polls as well as people who sparked discussions about the structure of the bracket. All of it. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

Take care,

Aneela Khan

Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players (1997-2020) Bracket Challenge Selection Committee Weighs in on the Final Four.

The Final Four for the Greatest Women’s Basketball Players from 1997-2020 is set. The selection committee has been crucial in terms of deciding what players would make the the top 64. Now that we are down to the Final Four, it is time to get the selection committee members thoughts on what they thought of the Final Four as well as their general thoughts about it all.

Question 1: At first glance, what do you make of the Final Four that was voted on by Twitter?

Alexandria:  I believe that the final four women players are made up of players that have done and/or still doing great things for women’s basketball and are some of the popular players.

Porter: There was no surprises when it came to the Final Four as all 1 seeds made it.

Colleen: I think the final four is well represented and was well chosen.

Katie: I’m not that surprised by the Final Four results. I was expecting it to be chalk, especially given who the #1 seeds were. I may be a little surprised that Sabrina Ionescu didn’t overtake Maya Moore with all the publicity that Ionescu received(s), but it’s Maya. Also, Sabrina didn’t have the opportunity in the tournament last year to add to her legacy.

Mary: I’m surprised it went chalk. I really expected A’ja to surge to a victory. 

Jaison: It seems very UCONN-centric and they are some of the more popular WNBA players.

Mike: Not surprising. Those players are amazing and they were the #1 seeds for a reason. 

Glenn: To me, it’s not surprising that the top #1 seeds made it to the Final Four. You could make a strong case for A’ja Wilson had she been in a different bracket and Sabrina Ionescu had a strong case for making the Final Four as well.

Question 2: As a selection committee member, what surprised you the most about the whole process?

Alexandria: Nothing really surprised me about this process. 

Porter: The biggest surprise was the reaction from the players who liked and shared the polls via their Instagram Stories, retweets on Twitter, etc. It was nice to see the women’s basketball players appreciate it!

Colleen: I am a newer women’s basketball fan, so I did not watch some of these women play in college, so having the input and opinions of others was surprising, in a good way.

Katie: The entire process was very difficult. Any time you make a “best of” list, it’s going to be hard because everyone brings their own value set to the rankings. Do you favor championships? Stats? Meaningfulness to your team? Position? Era? All these things factor in. I guess I was surprised that everyone’s pool of 64 players wasn’t all that different. There were maybe like 10 spots that were disputed? (I don’t know the exact number, but that’s what it seemed like). But the rankings within the 64 were very different, especially beyond the 1 and 2 seeds. 

Mary: How hard it was to pick a 64 person field. And then initially I misunderstood the possible choices, because of what years were involved, but that just made it harder to choose. (I still think Husker legend Kelsey Griffin belongs in this 64. (Joking of course!)

Jaison: There weren’t any surprises to me really. Wait, I thought Britney Griner would have made it to the Final Four.

Mike: I was surprised how many players were seeded higher based on team championships won rather than individual accomplishments.

Glenn: I would have seeded them very differently in my personal opinion. I think that if certain players should have been seeded a bit higher and some lower than they were originally seeded. But it is difficult, because it is hard to judge what the general public will do.

Question 3: Who do you think will be named the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Player (1997-2020)?

Alexandria: I think Diana Taurasi will be named greatest women’s college player

Porter: I think Diana Taurasi will be the winner as she in my opinion was the greatest to ever play for UCONN and all of college basketball.

Colleen: I think ultimately it will be Breanna Stewart.

Katie: I think it’s going to come down to Taurasi and Stewart. Personally, I think Breanna Stewart is the greatest women’s college basketball player ever, but Diana Taurasi is the greatest women’s basketball player (as of right now), if that makes sense. It’s hard to argue with 4 championships, 4 Tournament MOPs, and 3 POYs. Diana has the benefit of age to accumulate the WNBA championships and Olympic gold medals. I remember Stewie’s freshman year in the Final Four… she single-handedly (it seemed) beat my Notre Dame team. If she weren’t out there, ND would’ve won the game, and presumably the National Championship. She did that as a freshman. So, a long-winded way of saying, I think Breanna Stewart will be named the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Player.

Mary: Breanna Stewart.

Jaison: Breanna Stewart

Mike:  Breanna Stewart, because of the 4 championships.

Glenn: Breanna Stewart, I think will win because of the 4 consecutive championships she won in college.

Question 4: During the voting process, were you surprised by any of the results? If so, why? Or why not?

Alexandria:  No, I wasn’t shocked by any results. When there is a mass vote like this some people vote of pure popularity and not off talent so with some of the votes I expected that to happen.   

Porter: I think this went great and wouldn’t change a thing. 

Colleen: I was surprised by some of the closer polls, some of the matchups I thought would be blow outs but the polls were close. 

Katie: I’m not too surprised by the voting. Some results here and there made me raise my eyebrows, but it was fairly chalk. I guess maybe that’s what surprised me the most– that there weren’t more upsets.

Jaison: I’m not surprised. I think basketball is relatively new to some people so the voting process went the way it did.

Mike: .Not surprised. It’s Twitter, so it becomes a bit of a popularity contest. Seems like some players won based on their WNBA career instead of their NCAA career.

Final question: What are your final thoughts on the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Challenge? Do you think it was different? What would you have done differently?

Alexandria: My final thoughts about the bracket is that I enjoyed it. It’s fun creating the list and thinking of memories of all these great players. Then to watch it all to come together and people vote is exciting. I appreciate being apart of this and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you.

Porter: The votes and the committee having different inputs were awesome and can’t wait to do the next one!

Colleen: I liked it. I would be interested to do another in a smaller one. Instead of the greatest of all time, doing potentially the greatest of of the early 2000’s or the greatest of a certain conference. There is nothing I would do differently. 

Katie: As I said earlier, with everyone bringing different criteria to the conversation of who is “best”, I thought there would be more discrepancy in who would move on. I guess the committee got it mostly right! 🙂

Mary: I tried to clear my mind of expectations as I found the final field of 64 to contain folks I had not thought of in spaces I had not thought of. I would order my 64 now very differently having seen the field as selected. I learned a lot. 

Jaison: This is first I’ve ever seen or heard about something like this. I think it was done very well and it takes a lot of work to put something like this together. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Mike: It was fun. Only thing to do differently would be to maybe extend the time period to the 80’s and early 90’s. But there was already a bit of a recency bias in some of the matchups in this challenge, so it might have been worse to include those players who many people on Twitter never saw. 

Glenn: Yes, I would shake up the bracket! It’s because I have been a women’s college basketball fan for so long and I have seen some great players play that were in my opinion, under seeded or over seeded. I would place them in different brackets so I could see the results differently. Other than that, I am thankful to be apart of this Greatest Women’s College Basketball Bracket Challenge and it was very nice to see how well received the challenge was.

Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge (1997 to 2020)

Welcome to the Greatest Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge presented by http://www.wbasketballblog.com! We have assembled the greatest women’s college basketball players starting from the year 1997 to 2020.

In order to be named as a player in this bracket challenge, there had to be a few criteria. First of all, all of the women’s college players listed played as a freshmen in 1997 or later. No players that played earlier than that were included, because there are so many great women’s college basketball players and there had to be a specific time frame. Second of all, no active players were included because they are still playing and making their college careers.

We assembled a selection committee made up of women’s basketball media, coaches, fans to come up with a top 64 of women’s college basketball players who fit the above criteria. To learn more about the selection committee, you can scroll down after the bracket to learn more about each member.

In our top 64, four players were named the #1 overall seeds. Breanna Stewart of Connecticut, Diana Taurasi of Connecticut, Maya Moore of Connecticut and Candace Parker of Tennessee. Breanna Stewart was named the #1 overall seed because she was named as the top player in most of the selection committee’s lists.

Voting will commence a few days from now and votes will be determined by the Twitter Polls we send out. The winner will be selected sometime in April.

The bracket can be viewed below. We hope you enjoy this challenge and make sure to let everyone know about it!

Women’s College Basketball Players Bracket Challenge (1997 to 2020)

Selection Committee

Mel Greenberg – Twitter

Mel Greenberg has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1970 where he covered college and professional women’s basketball. He helped pioneer national coverage of the sport and organized the first Top 25 women’s college basketball poll. He has been called “The Guru” of women’s basketball. In 1991, Greenberg received the first media award from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, an award that has since been named after him. The annual Mel Greenberg Media Award is given to “a member of the media who has best displayed a commitment to women’s basketball and to advancing the role of the media in promoting the women’s game”. In 2007, Greenberg was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Katie Moore – Twitter

Katie Moore is a 37 year old stay at home parent of three living outside of Philadelphia, but she grew up in Virginia and Texas. She’s been a women’s basketball fan since the 1993-1994 season in which she started playing basketball herself. She loves all sports, but basketball is her passion. She wished she could’ve played in college, but being vertically challenged (5’3″) and not that athletic, she was forced to stick to watching and cheering. She graduated from Notre Dame.

Glenn Starkey – Twitter

Glenn Starkey has been following women’s college basketball since 2001 and has followed teams from the New York metro area. He started following the Rutgers women’s basketball team in 2001 to 2010 which quickly became into a fan of all of women’s college basketball. He moved to support the St.John’s women’s basketball team after 2010 as he lives a mile within an arena. He has developed relationships with various coaches of women’s college basketball and has supported several schools for the past 11 years. He works in insurance and supports the New York Liberty WNBA team and the Sky Blue soccer team in the summer.

Mary Carol Bond – Twitter

Mary Carol Bond (Mac to her friends, she/her) is a lifelong women’s basketball fan, whose father loved March Madness and began to include women’s teams in the family tournament as soon as his daughters began to play the sport in the 80’s.  Raised in Chicago on Notre Dame and DePaul, Mary Carol has lived for years on the Great Plains, and is now a Husker women’s basketball season ticket holder who is relied on to have the game scout for her entire section of Pinnacle Bank Arena, a frequent traveler to WNBA and NCAAW games all over the mid-west and when travel is safe again has promised herself that she will see a Final Four in person. 

Craig Morancie – Twitter

Craig Morancie has been a basketball fan since the 1980’s. He has done radio broadcasts for his college team (Georgetown) from 1984-1987 as well as Brooklyn College from 1993 to 1994.

Jaison King – Twitter

Jaison coaches high school, club and AAU basketball. He coaches on the girls side. He is currently coaching the North Toronto Huskies basketball club, Havergal College and the Stanford University girls elite camp. In the summer, he also coaches with Ontario Basketball as part of the Ontario Summer Development Program and the Ontario Summer Games. He is also the head coach of the U14 girls team for the Toronto region. In 2020, he was awarded the Excellence in Coaching award from the Ontario Coaches Association in part for his work with women’s basketball.

Porter Hayes – Twitter

Porter Hayes covers women’s sports at the University of Arkansas. He has been following women’s basketball for over 25 years. It started when his father was stationed in Connecticut for the Army. He started to watch the UCONN women’s basketball and fell in love with the game. He is married to a wonderful wife, Amber, for 5 years and has three boys, Danny (15), Elijah(11) and Gavin (11).

Mike DeKalb – Twitter

Based in Los Angeles, Mike DeKalb is a lifelong sports fan who recently started his own women’s basketball blog called “Goose on Hoops”.

Colleen Couture – Twitter

Current college student and women’s basketball fanatic, Colleen Couture began her love for professional basketball just a few years ago. She and her sister traveled from Vermont (her home state) to Tennessee to see the Lady Volunteers take down Ole Miss. Fast forward a few years, she has now been a sports writer since 2020 and typically covers the Tennessee Lady Volunteers but is also an avid fan of the WNBA. She writes for Global Women’s Sports Radio and is a free lance digital sports illustrator, @she.drawssports. When she finds free time away from college homework you can find her catching up on the latest stats from the game and reading biographies of women in sports. 

Alexandria Miller – Twitter

Alexandria Miller lives in Westland, Michigan. Basketball was her first love. She plays junior college basketball. Women’s college basketball is seeing raw talent and that is why she enjoys watching every part of it.

Michael McManus – Twitter

Michael McManus is currently based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, originally from Bennettsville, South Carolina. He fell in love with women’s college basketball, when he watched Candace Parker defeat Candice Wiggins in the 2008 National Championship game. As time went on, he learnt more and more about the history of the sport and his fondness became a passion. You can usually find him watching any and every college game he can find on 4 devices at home.