We’ve had a strange year as a global pandemic took sports away from us while every league attempted to declare some version of a champion. The Wubble was a success (if you ignore that they alienated their biggest star, Elena Delle Donne and gave the players like, grilled cheeses that were prepared in someone’s home kitchen and mailed to Orlando).
We then followed that up with the NCAA treating the women’s basketball tournament like some after school intramurals not even allowing them to use the words ‘March Madness’ on the courts or in promos.
Let’s talk about the current state of women’s basketball.
Who was the star of the 2021 March Madness Tournament?
Lester: Oregon’s Sedona Prince posted the Tik Tok that exposed the ‘weight room’ the NCAA provided for the women that appeared to consist of like, 3 5-pound rubber dumbbells that some board member found in their attic that morning. Women’s tournament ratings went up this season and the NCAA still gave these women a handful of mixed nuts to eat for two weeks. Burn it all to the ground.
Also quick shout out to Caitlin Clark: Bucket-getter.
Caitlin Clark pulling from the logo with ease!
🔥 35 Pts
🔥 5 Threes
— espnW (@espnW) March 7, 2021
Karlee: Lash and nail techs across the nation rejoice because the girls were looking gewd in this tournament. Players like Didi Richards, Dijonai Carrington, Dana Evans, Chelsea Dungee, and others look like they got fresh fills before the tournament and exemplified the motto ‘look good, play good’. Carrington played the Final Four thriller against UConn in a full beat and she put up 22/7/3 off the bench. An icon.
Chauny: Hayley Jones quietly stole the show in a tournament full of big stars. Her impact was felt on both ends of the floor and her feel for the game made you forget she was just a sophomore.
I’d like to co-sign Lester and shout out Caitlin Clark. She’s like that!
Should the WNBA change their draft eligibility rules to allow players like Paige Buckets to enter the league early?
Karlee: The short answer is yes. The long answer is it isn’t viable until the league expands. League expansion isn’t viable until there are significant financial investments in the league. Significant financial investments aren’t viable until the league better markets their product.
Chauny: Not until they get a couple of expansion teams will that be remotely sustainable. Even then I think part of what makes the women’s game more fun to watch, in my opinion, is being able to really get to know a play and see them grow from year to year, but I’m all about them being able to make their money as soon as possible so one and done them lol.
Lester: You should be allowed to join the league out of high school and 1000% after 1 or 2 years in college however, the overall health of the game is improved as we watch these women evolve from their freshman year to the day they graduate. Paige Bueckers benefits in the long run from being the UConn star of the tournament every season. For now.
Draymond Green went on a Twitter rant essentially blaming the women in the league for their own low wages and lack of fan interest and then proceeded to double-down in a post game interview where he told women to “stop complaining”. No actual question here. The floor is open for any and all draymond slander:
Chauny: Slack jawed mouth breather was just talkin cuz it was free. It was disappointing to see him go unchecked by any of his NBA peers who wear orange hoodies and seem to be about helping to push the women’s game forward (coughcoughSTEPHcough).
Lester: Draymond is a dirty-breathed tiny two-toned dick neanderthal that somehow gets the label of being intelligent because he has the mental capacity to know he should pass the ball to Steph Curry. He is so clearly angling for the opportunity to replace Charles Barkley on TNT without realizing that Barkley had an astronomically more impressive NBA career which gives him the room to talk shit. Draymond is going to be doing a Barstool podcast with Frank Kaminsky in a couple years if he doesn’t hit a jumper soon.
Karlee: I think Draymond’s pea brain sincerely thought he was being this triumphant ally when in reality he was just talking ignorantly out of his ass without any research or attempt at research. This is a dude who hasn’t attended a WNBA game, doesn’t share much, if any, of women’s sports to his socials, hasn’t made any significant monetary donations or investment into women’s basketball, telling women how to fix their sport. The man basically said ‘if I were a woman in basketball, I would simply be a privileged man.’ Just the absolutely worst combination of loud and wrong. Also Draymond, learn how to create a Twitter thread.
Are there any immediate and/or tangible changes the WNBA can make this season to improve viewership?
Lester: First fix league pass. Why does every major sports league struggle with league pass? But more importantly, continue treating the players like humans. The WNBA is a league exclusively full of female employees that did not have paid maternity leave until last year. Make the league something that young girls aspire to join. Why is my girl Liz Cambage flying coach?? Improve the lives of these women and you’ll get higher quality basketball if Skylar Diggins doesn’t to play in war torn nations on her off days to make ends meet.
Karlee: They can start by stopping. Stop making Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, two non-black 40-year-olds, the face of the league. They are obvious icons, but your league is 70% Black, yet everywhere we turn it’s Sue and Diana. We need more A’ja, Arike, Chennedy, Diamond, Jewell, or literally anyone other than two players that are retiring within the next two years. And if they are insistent on going with a non-black athlete, at least use one of the most transcendent talents we’ve ever seen in Breanna Stewart.
Chauny: 🗣️ PROMOTE THE STARS. All of the WNBA anniversary tweets reminded me that I could see a milk ad or open a Sports Illustrated for Kids without seeing WNBA players. I remember my favorite shows featuring guest appearances from stars of the league and how they were really integrated in pop culture. Gotta get back to that. Get A’ja on Sesame Street and go from there.
Okay okay back to positivity. What are you most excited to see in the 2021 WNBA season?
Karlee: Parity! The league is still top heavy with Seattle, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Washington, but in year’s past there was a STEEP drop-off after that. This season I think that all teams (aside from the Fever– god bless Fever fans), can be competitive on a game-to-game basis. You’ll get your money’s worth with WNBA League Pass this year.
Lester: The Chennedy Carter/Aari McDonald backcourt in Atlanta is TOUGH. Also, shoutout to Atlanta getting Kelly Loeffler alllllllll the way out of here. She now has plenty of time to prepare for her eternal stay in hell.
Chauny: All the stars back at full strength. I missed seeing big bully Liz Cambage on the block and Elena Delle Donne tearing up the league. The Wubble introduced me to some legit, lesser known talent though and I’m thankful for that and curious to see how they do this year.
And finally, who will win the Chip?
Chauny: It’s Seattle’s to lose imo. Obviously Chicago poses the biggest threat followed closely by Las Vegas.
Karlee: If you asked me a month ago I would’ve said the Mystics with the return of Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, and Tina Charles, coupled with the acquisition of Alysha Clark. But since then Clark suffered a foot injury that will keep her out of the season and we’ve learned Emma Messeman is unlikely to join the team until after the Olympic beak. So now I’m rolling with the Storm. They’re roster is so balanced; it’s hard to see them losing a playoff series.
Lester: The New York Liberty. Duh. Who else was I going to say? The Aces? Lol.