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.