An “All-Star” Break

Now inching up on the five month mark since “Across the Timeline” started, we’ve hit a short break in the WNBA season for this weekend’s All-Star game.

With the break in the action, this is a good time — like the league’s players and coaches — to reflect on where we’ve gone so far and goals moving forward. The response so far to the content on this website and the Twitter feed (@WBBTimeline) has been tremendous. With so many new eyes looking in, I want to take a step back and reiterate how this started and regroup in terms of what’s to come.

How It Began

I’m the type of person who loves to dig deep in to the minutiae of, well, everything. (In fact, I just got pulled away from this for about ten minutes researching the etymology of the word “minutiae”. What a strange-looking word!) If I get in to something, I want to understand how it works, who’s involved, and the history behind it. Hell, I spent an hour or so of my night not too long ago just figuring out the most common player name in the WNBA.

I have been a women’s basketball fan for years, and while I’ve consumed the product for a while, I never contributed to it. And when this past college season wrapped up, with the near-palpable excitement around women’s basketball, I felt like there was no reason I shouldn’t be giving back. We hear so often that up-and-coming players and newer fans don’t know past players (or even active players, sometimes) or the history of the game, but it’s hard to blame them too much when the history of the game is so rarely covered in-depth.

So, on the heels of Arike Ogunbowale’s clutch National Championship performance, I set wheels in to motion and birthed “Across the Timeline”, so to speak. The first deep dive was on NCAA Division I Final Four and National Championship appearances (schools and coaches alike), and simply due to timing, then on to the WNBA season.

How It Goes

The primary focus is to dig up the history of women’s basketball, share it, analyze it, and talk about it. Where possible — and it almost always is — I want to tie the history into the current state of the game. This helps make it more palatable and gives insight into how the game has developed.

I do this in a few ways:

  • On this day…: Regularly on the Twitter feed (@WBBTimeline), I post throwbacks to important events in women’s basketball history in a “On this day…” format. Many times these are simply nostalgic and fun to look back on, but at times they also say a lot about the state of the game since.
  • Data Sources: Over time, I’ve compiled a couple of data sources pertinent to women’s basketball, and specifically, the WNBA (WNBA Draft Database and WNBA Attendance Database). This provides a lot of great numbers to help break down the history of the league and trends over the years.
  • And One: There are a lot of names in the history of women’s basketball that get left behind once at a certain point, like when players retire from playing in the WNBA. The And One series is an opportunity to profile some of the figures in women’s basketball history that we may not talk about enough.
  • Leader Boards: I regularly post on Twitter when players, coaches, or teams are approaching major movements on statistical leader boards or when coaches or franchises are approaching milestones. This serves two purposes: (1) helping to explain the place of active players and coaches in the history of the game, and (2) bringing up past players and coaches as their records are chased.
  • The Rest: Sometimes, topics come up that are reeling with opportunity for a historic breakdown and/or numeric analysis. This includes posts like Player to Coach, the GM Survey, Coaching Staffs, Player Movement, Schedule Pain, and the All-Star Game.

Where to Go

Make sure you’re following @WBBTimeline and sharing with fellow basketball fans. Whether they have been following the game for years, are relatively new, or don’t know if they’re interested, everyone can benefit by better understanding the history and stories behind the game.

As for me, I’ll be taking a brief “All-Star” break of my own, but new content will be coming after the All-Star Game.

If you have any comments or feedback, please feel free to reach out on Twitter (@WBBTimeline) or send an email to wbbtimeline@gmail.com.

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