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 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.

Thoughts on the Candace Parker signing with the Chicago Sky

Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky.

WNBA Free Agency started a bit earlier this week when we first got word of rumors of Candace Parker leaving the LA Sparks. At first, I did not believe it because there are so many rumors over the years over free agents possibly leaving or not, among other things. But, when Candace Parker’s agency tweeted out that big things were coming, I started to take notice. Then the ESPN article came out. And suddenly, it was real. Candace Parker was headed to the Chicago Sky. The news, ironically came out when I was watching the WNBA General Managers chat with the AP writer, Doug Feinberg. Both the Chicago and LA General Managers were apart of the video call. It was awkward, to say the least.

Then, I started to actually process the news. LA was going to be different. There was going to be a new franchise player. The team would be different. It was overwhelming. I am not a Sparks fan. But, I know several of them. I know how hurt they are feeling. I know it goes much deeper and that there is no love lost for the head coach/GM Derek Fisher.

For me, the news hit me on a personal level. You see, I became a fan of the WNBA through Candace Parker. I saw Candace Parker’s national championship game, I saw her get drafted, I saw her have the best rookie debut in WNBA history, I saw her have an immediate impact with the Sparks. I saw Lisa Leslie making sure that Candace Parker was going to take over from her as the new franchise player. I remember vividly seeing Lisa Leslie on the court, making sure that her rookie was growing and learning everyday. Lisa Leslie was proud of Candace Parker, there’s no doubt in my mind about that.

I did not stay as a Sparks fan for very long, I transitioned into a fan of the San Antonio Stars (before they became the Las Vegas Aces). But, I still kept tabs on the Sparks, specifically Candace Parker. I remember her dunks, double doubles, MVP’s, championship run and her becoming an analyst on the NBA side. Her daughter Lailaa is apart of the Sparks too. She also has history with the Sparks organization from when she was a little baby.

Over the years, Candace Parker grew up. So did I. I became a fan of the WNBA when I was 18 years old and now I am a fully grown woman. But, I still identify with Candace Parker as the reason for my introduction to the WNBA and now seeing her change teams after so many years, strikes a chord with me. It’s going to be so different. Candace Parker is home. She is in Chicago. Not in LA. It’s still weird to me. She will officially sign with the Chicago Sky on Monday. I bet the Sky will hold a news conference to introduce her. A number of Chicago TV/print/radio outlets will be interviewing her on Monday. Still feels so weird.

I know this is selfishness talking, but I really did want to see Candace Parker retire as a LA Spark. I wanted her to end her career in LA. But, I am not Candace Parker. Candace Parker knows what she wanted and this time, she wanted the Chicago Sky. I’m going to have to learn to like it. I hope the Chicago Sky do win a title with Parker. Some of the great fans are Chicago Sky fans and they have been through A LOT and they deserve some good times too.

This WNBA season will either played in a bubble or in arenas, most likely without fans. I bet the Sky broadcasts will be one of the top viewed and a bunch of their games will be on ESPN. Watch. Tune in. Support the league. I, just like all of the other LA natives/fans/people will just have to get used to seeing Candace Parker in a Sky uniform. I may cry, honestly. But, I hope she does have a good debut and that the team excels with her on the court and off the court (business wise).

Good luck, Candace Parker. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,

Aneela