WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge Winner Is…. + Final Thoughts from the Selection Committee.

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

 

Congratulations are in order for the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time Bracket Challenge winner Diana Taurasi! She won over Maya Moore who was the runner up. View the updated and final bracket here.

Diana Taurasi was placed in the first region, Region W. She beat out #16 seed Jewell Loyd in the Round of 64, #8 seed Dawn Staley in the Round of 32, #4 seed Sylvia Fowles in the Sweet 16, #2 seed Sheryl Swoopes in the Elite 8, #1 seed Lauren Jackson (from Region N) in the Final Four. She beat out several high profile players with terrific resumes of their own and it speaks to her popularity that she is the winner of this WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge.

Listed below are the final thoughts of the committee members who helped shaped the process of making the bracket, selecting the players and shaping the overall bracket.

Committee Member: Kevin Brown | Twitter @over_short

Final Thoughts:  We must have done pretty well with the seeding, given how few upsets there were.  The Final Four are not the four I would have chosen, but I’ve never been one to share popular opinion.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  In a popularity contest, she was the inevitable choice.  Fans love scoring, and nobody did more.  Fans love swagger, and nobody had more.  All the quibbles about defense and only having one MVP fall to the side in the face of her iconic bun.

Committee Member: Nathan Hiatt | Twitter @NATE_HIATT 

Final Thoughts: It was definitely an interesting process. As a person that loves sports and the WNBA in general, I thought that this would be a fun way to be creative and cope without any sports because of COVID-19. As a committee, we looked to make the bracket challenge as fair and as simple as possible, and I think we did pretty decent at that, though there was always bound to be debates throughout the process. It was certainly interesting to see how everything has panned out with some upsets, but for the most part this challenge went about as I expected as players now are more popular within the media and social media.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: Diana Taurasi has definitely been an unbelievable player for many, many years and extremely popular with fans. As the WNBA all-time scoring leader, her three WNBA Championships rings, basketball talent and her on-the-court and off-the-court personality and popularity with fans, it is easy to see why she won the bracket challenge as the Greatest Player of All-Time.

Committee Member:  Aneela Khan | Twitter @whoopsblogger

Final Thoughts: It was an interesting process. We tried to make it fair and try to make something enjoyable for all of us during these uncertain times. We did try to make the seeds fair and balanced but unfortunately, people seemed to disagree. Which is ok, when you build a bracket, because that usually happens. It is interesting how far some players got ahead of others because certain players are more visible in the media than the other players or that they simply do not or were not aware of some WNBA historical legends.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  Diana Taurasi is just fun to watch. Her ability to score points, her ability to lead her team when she needs to, her ability to help build up her team mates, her personality shines through. She is larger than life. As the all time WNBA scoring leader, she is truly remarkable and for that is she is the WNBA Greatest Player of All Time.

Committee Member: Michael Olsen | Twitter @colombianmikey

 

Final Thoughts:  I am so thankful for this opportunity.  As I begin to embark on my journey with college and figuring out what I want to do with my life, this tournament was an eye opener. I realized that whatever happens, I want to make basketball apart of it. I think the tournament turned out really well! Obviously, nothing is ever perfect and I wish some people would’ve won over others, but that’s the nature of voting. I hope that this tournament was a way for basketball fans to get a taste of basketball that they were missing. 

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner:  I was not  surprised. Many people have often said that she is the GOAT. Her career is none other than spectacular. I hope that we will continue to see her greatness for the next couple of years. She is getting up there in age, but I truly think that her desire will keep her playing for longer than people expect. She is impossible not to watch when she is on the basketball court and I know that she is an inspiration for any kid growing up with a basketball in their hands.

Committee Member: Lamar Smith | Twitter @inside380

 

Final Thoughts:  Despite, some players advancing based on their strong fanbase or controversy over some lower seeds,  I think the bracket was well done. The last two players in mind are the two best WNBA players right now. I had Maya ranked No. 2 and Taurasi No. 1 so I’m not surprised they are in the final.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: She’s the most fierce competitor and best scorer in the history of the league. She is what Kobe Bryant was to the Lakers or Tim Duncan was to the Spurs and that’s the embodiment of a franchise. She set the precedent for the culture, she’s won three rings and the Mercury consistently have one of the best attendances records every year. She’s simply MUST SEE TV.

Committee Member: Glen Starkey |Twitter @Starkman55

Final Thoughts: It was a long bracket and a tough process. Honestly, there were lower seeds worthy of more votes and high seeds who could have been knocked off early. But the chalk was fair and the final lineup despite some recency bias was how I judged the Final Four. Maya Moore vs Diana Taurasi is a terrific match up for the final (despite being an all UCONN final). I also thought Tamika Catchings deserved a place in the Final Four. But it is certainly a fair representation of the WNBA’s greatest players. That said, forgetting Yolanda Griffith still bothers me. She was a beast and one of the best pure defensive posts in the game.

Cynthia Cooper made it to the Final Four but to win 4 titles in the twilight of your career and be Finals MVP in all of them from ages 34 to 38 after spending a decade overseas is one feat I hope never gets forgotten as the WNBA grows a new generation of players.

Sue Bird may have gotten more of a push to the Final Four than expected but to be honest, her current notoriety and her reputation as a great clutch player overcomes any statistical shortcomings.

Thoughts on Diana Taurasi being the winner: Diana Taurasi certainly has the credibility throughout her career. Each of her three titles were earned and she was the key cog in all of them. In addition, when she plays, Phoenix wins. Period. While the end seems to be near with a very serious back injury, Diana Taurasi’s career is one of the finest. She has earned the right to be named the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time.

 

WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge – The Final Four

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

By now, you have heard of the WNBA Greatest of All Time Bracket Challenge. This bracket challenge was designed as a way to help recreate the March Madness feel that was missed this year. We started voting last month and now it has come down to the Final Four. The Final Four players left are Diana Taurasi (from Region W), Lauren Jackson (from Region N), Maya Moore (Region B) and Sue Bird (Region A). You can view the updated bracket here.

Each has their own respected WNBA resume and has left quite a mark on the WNBA. Diana Taurasi is the WNBA’s leading scorer and one of the most thrilling players to watch in the WNBA.  Lauren Jackson is one of the WNBA’s first international superstars who helped change the game for forwards/centers with her versatile style of play. Maya Moore won often and early in her WNBA career and all of it was accomplished before she was 30 years old. Sue Bird is a WNBA legendary guard and the all time WNBA assists leader.

The Final Four players beat out great players along the way and in three regions (Region W, N, B) all the #1 seeds advanced. But, in the last region (Region A), #2 seed Sue Bird beat out the #1 seed Lisa Leslie by a narrow vote.

The Final Four voting will begin on Saturday, April 25th at 10 am EST with the first two regions, Region W and Region N facing off. Diana Taurasi vs Lauren Jackson. On Sunday, April 26th at 10 am EST,  the other two remaining regions, Region B and Region A will face off. Sue Bird vs Maya Moore. The “championship” vote will be voted on April 28th at 10 am EST. The winner of the G.O.A.T WNBA Bracket Challenge will be announced officially on Wednesday, April 29th.

WNBA G.O.A.T Bracket Challenge – Selection Committee weighs in on Sweet 16

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

Our selection committee has come together once again to discuss the WNBA G.O.A.T Sweet 16. We shared our thoughts and opinions on the various players that made it into the Sweet 16. The updated bracket can be viewed here.

Just as a reminder, the selection committee members are: Kevin Brown, Nathan Hiatt, Lamar Smith, Michael Olsen, Aneela Khan and Glenn Starkey. We discussed our thoughts & opinions below. Enjoy!

Q: What were your initial thoughts on the Sweet 16?

Aneela: It’s an interesting field. All of the 16 WNBA players that have been voted in by WNBA Twitter users have great resumes and only one of them is under 30 years old. I would say that the variety of different players left that could be called the WNBA Greatest Player of All Time is definitely intriguing.

Glenn:  So the sweet 16 is set and so far, there are few surprises.  Voting did skew a bit towards the present players but aside from Yolanda Griffith not making it, I was not as taken aback by the finalists as others.

Kevin: Not many surprises in the S16, as there have been few upsets.  Brittney Griner as a #6 is the underdog, but she was seeded too low to begin with so it isn’t really a surprise.

Lamar: I’m very surprised Brittney Griner beat out Seimone Augustus. I think overall, Seimone is a better player and has had a better career overall. I feel Griner upset Seimone because she’s one of the more known WNBA players and has a strong fanbase.

Michael: I expected the sweet 16 to look something like this if I’m being honest. I think that all these women have earned their spots on this list.

Nathan: I think that the Sweet 16 has a really decent mix, and I believe that there are some extremely interesting matchups. There are a few matchups that I personally could see going either way for a Final Four spot. I think I am most intrigued for the matchup winner between Lauren Jackson and Elena Della Donne in Region N.

Q: What are your thoughts on both the Round of 32 and the Round of 64?

Aneela: There were some interesting match ups and there were some definitely some hard ones to vote for. Cash vs Vandersloot, Griffith vs Cash, etc. Breanna Stewart vs Maya Moore was the closest for the #1 seed in in terms of voting, all the #4 vs #5 matchups in the second round were too close to call.

Glenn: There were some players who were under seeded and Yolanda Griffith not advancing past round 1 was a crime, both in terms of seeding and many people not knowing how much of a presence Yolanda Griffith was in early history.

Kevin: The one major upset was Courtney Vandersloot over Yo Griffith.  Comes from the nature of the voting, I suppose.  Lots of newer fans who either never saw Griffith or only saw the over-the-hill version in Seattle and Indiana wouldn’t vote for her. Add in a little projection of what Vandersloot might do in the rest of her career and her also being seeded too low and it’s a shocker.

Lamar: Their weren’t many upsets but both were surprising upsets. Courtney Vandersloot and Skylar Diggins-Smith surprisingly advanced to the next round, I think decency bias had a lot to do with it. Especially in the case of Vandersloot because most people probably didn’t see Yolanda Griffith play. Everything else was very predictable.

Michael: I thought the voter turnout for the first two rounds was amazing! I am super excited to see what happens with the next rounds.

Nathan: I thought that the Round of 64 and Round of 32 went pretty straight-forward, but there were a few upsets. I was certainly the most shocked with the Yolanda Griffith loss against Courtney Vandersloot in the Round of 64. With Courtney Vandersloot currently a big name in the WNBA and many fans might not remember Yolanda Griffin, so that makes some sense.

Other than that, I was a little surprised with the Brittney Griner win against Seimone Augustus in the Round of 32 and the Skylar Diggins-Smith win against Deanna Nolan in the Round 64. I might have honestly picked Brittney Griner, as well, but definitely would have been a hard decision. It was a similar situation with Yolanda Griffith and Courtney Vandersloot and, then, Deanna Nolan and Skylar-Diggins Smith as Skylar Diggins-Smith has been extremely popular with fans since she was at Notre Dame.

Q: Who do you think will advance to the Final Four?

Aneela: I think Diana Taurasi, Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson and Lisa Leslie narrowly make the Final Four. Although I expect it to be really tough.

Glenn: Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, Tamika Catchings and Sue Bird.

Lamar: Cythnia Cooper, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Tina Thompson

Michael: I think the final four will be Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Tamika Catchings, and Lisa Leslie.

Nathan: Diana Taurasi vs. Lauren Jackson and Maya Moore vs. Lisa Leslie. All chalk.

Q: Any surprises or extra comments you would like to make on the tournament so far?

Aneela: Popularity definitely helps. Although, a ton of younger voters may not have had the pleasure of seeing some of the earlier players, so that’s why the voting could be skewed. But I think they did a pretty good job. I would I say agree with a large majority of their choices.

Glenn: The sweet 16 really shapes up for some close polls. In the  W region any one of the 4 remaining can be considered the GOAT based on the metric and DT and Swoopes who are my Elite 8 picks is a tough decision. It’s the  best of the first generation vs the best of the 2nd. In the N region, it is old vs new.  Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner surely will have their places in history but against Cynthia Cooper and Lauren Jackson, it gets pretty tough. In the B region, I sure hope Tamika Catchings gets her due but it will be tough against Maya Moore. In the A region, there are a variety of difficult choices to decide on who moves forward between Sue Bird, Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie. 

Kevin: Region N should have the closest matchups in the S16.  Delle Donne is a tough #4 seed with her two MVPs.  In the other matchup, Cynthia Cooper’s best years happened two decades ago.  Easy to see the low seeds making both those races tight.  Regions W & A should also be competitive.  Region B…not so much.

Lamar: I think it’s been interesting to see how close a lot of the votes have been thus far. I think recency bias has played a lot in some of the voting. A lot of the players that played in the early stages of the WNBA were hurt by the lack of marketing and publicity. That’s why I think most of the Sweet 16 consists of players that played during an era where the WNBA started to establish footing.

Michael: I was a little shocked that Britney Griner beat out Seimone Augustus if I’m being honest. Personally, I’m hoping for more upsets because it creates more drama and draws more attention to the tournament as a whole!

Q: Final question, do you see any potential upsets happening? Do you see a #1 seed falling?

Aneela: Yes. I forsee that in the Region B where I can see the #1 seed falling to the #2 seed. Other than that, it will be very close. It will be very tough, no doubt about it.

Lamar: I think Lauren Jackson has the best chance of getting upset in her side of the bracket. Both EDD and Coop have big fanbases and are very accomplished players. EDD just won a championship last year and arguably is pretty comparable in talent to Jackson.

Michael:  I could see Tina Thompson beating out Sue Bird. I also think that Tamika Catchings will upset Maya Moore.
Nathan:  I personally wouldn’t pick any No. 1 seeds to get upset, but I think I could see a case with a Lauren Jackson loss to Elena Delle Donne and a Lisa Leslie loss to Sue Bird because current popularity in the WNBA.

Who is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time? Tournament Bracket Challenge!

Greatest of All Time Player Bracket Challenge!

Welcome to the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time Tournament Bracket Challenge presented by wbasketballblog.com!

The constant debates between who REALLY is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time can be put to rest in this bracket challenge. There are so many different ideas of what makes a great player in terms of scoring the ball, defending, rebounding and what kind of impact they had in the game, etc.  We thought it would be a great idea to put it in the public’s hands once and for all to determine who is the Greatest WNBA Player of All Time.

The world is consumed of bad news everyday and since the NCAA Tournament was cancelled, why not throw our own tournament but still represent the WNBA and women’s basketball? So, we came up with this idea.

In order to undertake this challenge of putting the top 64 players, I reached out to ask individuals if they would like to participate. In turn, I received a lot of interest and we were able to quickly form a committee. The following committee members are: Kevin Brown, Glenn Starkey, Nathan Hiatt, Lamar Smith, Michael Olsen and myself (Aneela Khan).

As a committee, we decided that Diana Taurasi is the overall #1 seed and the four #1 seeds are Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson, Maya Moore and Lisa Leslie. The four regions are named W, N, B and A. Tomorrow, we will release the 64 players bios to give you an informed opinion on who to vote for.

Voting will begin at 10 am EST on Monday, March 30th and we will conduct the polls via Twitter. We will do one region each day. The winner will be announced some time in April.  Voting will be for 24 hours.

The G.O.A.T bracket is below. (We apologize for the size of the table and how small it is but it will make it easier for you to see.) Again, we deeply apologize for the size and the fact that there are no printed copies. Truly.

Listed below are the committee members bios who contributed to making this bracket happen. They are very diverse and come from different walks of life.

Aneela KhanTwitter@whoopsblogger

Aneela Khan is the owner of wbasketballblog.com. She became a fan of the WNBA in the year 2008 when Candace Parker entered the league. She was a fan of the San Antonio Stars before they were sold to Las Vegas. She started to blog and write about women’s college basketball, WNBA, Canada’s Senior Women’s National Team seriously in the year 2016.

Glenn Starkey  – Twitter – @Starkman55

Glenn Starkey has followed the WNBA since the year 2000. In 2004, he became a season ticket holder to the New York Liberty. He married a fellow New York Liberty fan, Rebecca in 2011. He has seen the New York Liberty go through many ups and downs throughout their tenure and has found a community with many other fellow Liberty fans. Glenn works in business insurance and also supports six women’s college basketball teams.

Kevin BrownTwitter – @over_short

Kevin Brown has been a WNBA fan since the inaugural season. He preferred the WNBA over the ABL because of how dominant Sheryl Swoopes was. Kevin has tracked WNBA stats and trivia over at his personal website WNBA odds and ends in which he has kept records from old and new seasons. His site has been simply instrumental in keeping WNBA data when there was no other option.

Lamar Smith – Twitter – @inside380

Lamar Smith is a sports journalism Masters graduate at Arizona State University. He is an avid basketball fan and in the fall he will be publishing his first book.

Michael OlsonTwitter @colombianmikey

Michael Olsen is a senior in high school. He is from Minnesota and is a Lynx fan and was able to witness the Lynx’s great dynasty. He really became supportive of the WNBA in 2016 and in his free time, he watches women’s college basketball, the WNBA and he also plays basketball. He also likes to study both the history of the league and historical players while still watching the young talent we see in the game today.

Nathan HiattTwitter – @NATE_HIATT

Nathan Hiatt is a sports journalist who graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018. He currently attends Arizona State University as a graduate student and is set to graduate this coming May.