On a scale of one to basketball: WNBA season-ending grades


Well, the WNBA season is over. The last game happened, and after the last game there weren’t any more. It’s kind of like when you eat the last chocolate in your chocolate bucket, and then you’re like “Darn. No more of those left,” and there’s nothing left to do but put it back in the freezer, but instead of all that it’s basketball.

But let’s not mourn. Good times were had, games were watched, and everyone came away with a big smile on their face. Except the Mystics. It’s probably safe to assume that many of them had a rough time on Wednesday night. I asked my friend in Washington D.C. what the mood was like in town, and he replied “Dude, I haven’t lived there in six years.” Either he’s lying or he’s not, but I don’t see any reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. He still owes me an item from Taco Bell that they don’t even serve any more (a Chicken Border Bowl), so we’re not really on good terms.

Anyways, now that we’ve had a good 24 hours or so to let the finals sink in, that should be enough time to have every single one of our thoughts on the WNBA season processed and filed neatly into overly simplified categories. It’s time to look back on the season and see what went well, what could go better, and what just kind of went without any shade to the positive or negative.

You might be wondering what makes me qualified to do this kind of thing. My response to that is “shut up.” How about that for qualifications, dork?

Hype was happening early: A

It was great. I felt an actual buzz, like when you drink alcohol or cough syrup, and the room just wants to give you a big hug as it spins around and around and around.

Short of a long history of specific fandom or generally just watching the WNBA, I was trying to gauge my emotional reactions to various players. With Brendon Kleen’s help last year, I had picked out the Phoenix Mercury to be my team. I wasn’t sure that would hold true as my Griner infatuation had turned into a mild Griner interest.

However, the first time I saw Dewanna Bonner play, I was hooked back in. And hearing Rebecca Lobo call Diana Taurasi the GOAT throughout the year.

Bought WNBA Season Pass early: A

In fact it was so early that I think it carried over from me buying it just before the playoffs last year. League pass all year for the first time this year. I’ve earned this A.

(Since I’ve not made it clear, I should mention I’m grading myself on how I followed the WNBA, not grading the WNBA itself. That would presumptuous at best and insulting at worst.)

WNBA Season Pass being a better deal and format than NBA Season Pass: B

That’s the way I feel anyway, and feeling that way makes me feel special.

Rookie of the Year is a homophone for a continent: A+

A’ja Wilson, mfers. First time this happened in a professional league since baseball’s Jiminoplis Yurop took the award back 1898. What a time to be alive.

Lindsay Whalen has retired: F

I’m going to miss her. She gave me my favorite-ever night terrors. I’d wake up screaming and sweating, but I’d be smiling too. 🙂

Lindsay Whalen now has more free time, meaning I’m probably more likely to encounter her in person, and possibly disintegrate from terror: F-

I don’t wanna die.

Stars upon Stars upon Personalities upon Stars: B-

There are so many players on so many teams I find myself caring about. I’m sure having talent compressed to just a few teams helps to make sure every team has a player I feel invested in, but even just in total, the WNBA has the edge on the NBA for me.

In the NBA, I can feel myself being attached to LeBron, Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin purely due to how his trade to the Pistons went down, Kyle Lowry, and Joel Embiid. That’s it.

In the WNBA just off the top of my head, I got Shavonte Zellous, Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, Candace Parker, Dewanna Bonner, Lindsay Whalen, Sue Bird, Jewell Loyd, Breanna Stewart, and Liz Cambage. I found myself at conflict with myself many times this year. It was an entirely new feeling. Not pleasant, but novel. That’s why the B has a minus.

I fell in love with Liz Cambage: A+

Please come back.

I missed opening day this year because I’m terrible (C-), and Liz Cambage was the first player that caught my attention in the first game I watched the following Monday. I didn’t know who she was, didn’t understand how she was doing so well, and was mostly chalking it up to the Liberty having a rough time.

Well, it turns out the Liberty were having a rough time and would continue to for much of the year, but Cambage also turned out to have an MVP caliber season. And also the person I most wanted to win MVP. I hope she returns. So, so much.

Fell out of habit of watching around midseason to pick up the habit of watching GameCenter CX again: D-

This isn’t anyone’s fault. I say this because most people would call it my fault, and I really don’t feel like being blamed for anything right now. Especially at this time of day.

This Tweet: A

I had nothing to do with it, but when I saw it happen it made me feel like I had won.

Your weekly WNBA game schedule: A+

I’m bad at following what is where and when it’s there and why. It’d be good to get around to improving that at some point. I’m in no hurry.

With the NBA, on pretty much any night you can pop on league pass and know there will be some sort of matchup. It may be a bad matchup between two teams you don’t care about, but at least there will be basketball.

The WNBA is not so lucky. As such, it’s easy to fall out of a viewing routine (see above).

The Your WNBA Schedule emails were crucial to me as both a means of getting myself excited for a matchup or two and also for checking back when I get home from work to make sure I had dinner ready and chores done in time. It was nice to have that come to me instead of me going out to find it.

Felt like I was watching the indisputable GOAT of a league play at their best while I was rooting for them: A+

I am not going to forget Diana Taurasi from this playoff run. Not only was she incredible, but across Twitter, and commentary, and articles, it felt like people were mostly trying to take a step back to make sure they could catch everything Taurasi was doing. It wasn’t matter of drilling into her performance piece by piece; it was appreciating the whole and letting oneself be amazed by it. It was watching her get angry, and letting a grin creep up your cheeks as she hit shot after shot, telling nobody in particular that you knew that was going to happen. There was an inevitability about it all, and inevitability is rarely joyful.

dark. Next. The WNBA's history and future meet at the Storm's third championship

Overall Grade: C+

There are a few things I need to do going into next year.

  1. Come up with a grading system that makes sense.
  2. Watch the whole year. No breaks, idiot.
  3. Maybe not root for a team and just have fun watching night to night because that’s what I enjoyed most this season.

All that said, while there was room for improvement I would say that, overall, this was a successful WNBA season for me. I haven’t heard any complaints about my watching from anyone else, and I certainly don’t have any. I should probably close by saying thanks to everyone involved in my watching basketball this summer. You’re welcome, me. We did it together.