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If a Draft Happens Without Coverage… Everyone Loses.

The WNBA Draft happened this week, but just like everything else surrounding the women’s game, it wasn’t given its shine. This has to change.

Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream (7/21/19) by All-Pro Reels is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

If a Draft Happens Without Coverage… Everyone Loses.


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

I have been writing for this site, in one variation or another, for a little over 5 years now. Not once in that time has an article of mine seen comment traction like my take on the Brittney Griner situation last month. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that piece got as many, if not more, comments as the other 100+ posts combined. Why do I bring that up? Because Monday night was the WNBA Draft, though the casual fan would not be faulted for not knowing that was the case. This has got to change. 

The Draft

Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard went number 1 to the Atlanta Dream, who traded up to the top spot last week by giving up their 3rd and 14th picks to the Washington Mystics. Howard was a two time SEC Player of the Year before Aliyah Boston took that honor this year, and was correctly pegged by most analysts to go number 1. But beyond that, most people’s mock drafts were extremely wrong. The Indiana Fever had 4 of the first 10 picks, so things were bound to get a bit screwy and boy did they.

Schools that are the blue bloods of Women’s basketball like the two teams that met in this year’s Finals didn’t see their players go until the second round. Northwestern and Florida Gulf Coast had players go in the first round. A player from an HBCU was selected, which hasn’t happened since the early days of the league. By and large, the player selections of the Draft further represented the parity that seems to be coming to the women’s game in the NCAA, which is fantastic. It was a draft with moves and uncertainty that the other leagues would sell their souls for (if they had any.)

HOWEVER

There was scantly a single mention of any of these on the major sports shows on Tuesday. On the flagship programs over on The Mothership, really only Around The Horn gave the draft any significant coverage, and I would have to imagine that program only covered because of Sarah Spain’s involvement, as PTI only mentioned Howard in the final minute big finish. This brings us back to all those comments on the Griner post, which were predominately summed up as “nobody cares about the WNBA.” Now, this is not to unpack that sentiment is on the topic of that article. Nor is it to point out those comments really went far to prove the point I was making. It’s to ask a simple question:

WHY?

Why does “no one” care about the WNBA? It seems to me all these comments come from people who haven’t even made an effort to watch the WNBA. And if you were to ask those people why they don’t they would say something about an inferior product, or the games not being as exciting, to which my argument would be those are all things that are really hard to determine when you haven’t bothered watching. Yes, 25 years ago, the WNBA was in its infancy and the on court product reflected that. But the league is over 25 years old and is just as compelling as the men’s counterpart. No, there aren’t as many flashy dunks, but the game itself is just as skillful, if not sometimes more so. 

But maybe no one cares because no one in the media is trying to make people care. They would argue that not enough people consume the women’s game to prioritize the coverage, in quite a substantial ouroboros. So please watch some WNBA, so in turn we can get more shine for these women who certainly deserve it. Please.

Andrew Mark Wilhelm is a professional Sound Engineer/Designer, and amateur photographer, writer, musician who recently relocated from California to Rochester, NY. Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit has made Andrew an avid fan of all things Detroit but nothing more so than his beloved Detroit Tigers. Every year he tells himself he won't drink the Lions Kool-Aid, and every year winds up heartbroken come January. A Spartan by heart, and a Golden Grizzly by degree, you can catch his (almost) weekly Hot Takes every Hump Day here at The Turf.

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