Women's Basketball: Looking Back at Three WNBA Finals Stars’ College Careers

ByAndrew Pistone

4 min read

Women's Basketball: Looking Back at Three WNBA Finals Stars’ College Careers

The WNBA Finals matchup has two star studded teams doing battle, and the league has to be thrilled with the way it turned out. The Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky are in the middle of a best of five series that will award one of them with the ultimate prize. The Finals began on Sunday, with the Sky taking Game 1 on the road by a score of 91-77. With both teams featured some of the game’s best talent, home court may not matter all that much.

Because the rosters are so loaded, it’s hard to hone in on just a few players to focus on. As tough as the exercise was, we’ll look at three of the biggest stars in the WNBA Finals, and reminisce on their brilliant collegiate careers.

Brittney Griner

Currently locking down the middle of the paint for the Mercury during the Finals, Brittney Griner has been a force in the middle since her days at Nimitz high school. She’s a Texas native, and decided to stay local in college by choosing to play with the Baylor Bears.

Griner didn’t just participate; she absolutely dominated. There are many numbers that support Griner’s case as one of the best women’s(or perhaps in general) college basketball players of all time, but the shot-blocking numbers she posted were eye popping. As a freshman, she led the nation in blocked shots with 223. Not only did she do that in her first year in school; that total was 28 more than the next highest player.

She led the Bears to a national title in 2012, and thoroughly impressed men’s college basketball Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight.

“I saw her score five different baskets on five different moves,” Knight said. Via Vault.Si.com

Candace Parker

Candace Parker has had an outstanding WNBA career, and will likely be a fixture in the media for a long time to come after her playing days are over. She routinely sits on the TNT studio show analyzing NBA games next to the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade. Parker was a shooting star since her high school days*.

One of her coolest claims to fame was winning a Slam Dunk competition full of future NBA players. During the festivities surrounding the 2004 McDonald’s All America Game, Parker beat the likes of J.R. Smith, Josh Smith and Rudy Gay by throwing it down with authority. She took her hops to the collegiate level, and became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game while playing for the University of Tennessee. She led the Volunteers to NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008, playing a brand of basketball not yet seen before in the women’s game.

“Through all of that, Candace has never lost sight of where she’s come from and how hard the road has been go get there. I think she loves this program as much as anyone can,” said former Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Holly Warlick. Via OurTennessee.Edu

Diana Taurasi

No list of WNBA stars is truly complete until Diana Taurasi is mentioned. She’s got the mentality of a Kobe Bryant, and loves to outwork and outcompete anyone that stands in her way. The Mercury were in a see-saw affair against the Las Vegas Aces in the deciding game of the Western Conference Finals last week, and it was Taurasi who took over. She nailed a couple of smooth three pointers down the stretch, which went a long way towards getting Phoenix into their first WNBA Finals since 2014.

There may be no player in the women’s game who’s been as clutch as Taurasi, and that big game mentality was fine-tuned at the University of Connecticut. The Huskies won three national titles with Taurasi as their leader. The Los Angeles native could have stayed local and played with a Pac-12 school, but instead wanted to prove herself at one of pre-eminent basketball programs of all time. She definitely did just that, as the team went 139-8 during her four year career.

“And even on her days off, she would find a way to get a basketball in her hands. And there was probably never a time when she didn’t think about it and she didn’t strategize over something or how do I get better or how do we beat this team or how do I beat that guy,” University of Connecticut women’s head coach Geno Auriemma recalled about Taurasi. Via SI.com
Are you an Athlete?

Create a free profile to access the largest network specifically designed to connect athletes to opportunities. Get started.

RELATED ARTICLES
The Recruiting Process Simplified: Tips for Athletes

The Recruiting Process Simplified: Tips for Athletes

Growing up, many athletes dream of hitting the game-winning shot. A stadium roaring with fans,...

ByTiffany Allen | Tue Jan 02 2024
GMTM Launches New Recruiting Education Course

GMTM Launches New Recruiting Education Course

“How do I get recruited?" This is a question we hear from athletes all the time at GMTM. We know...

ByTiffany Allen | Tue Dec 12 2023
Athlete Scholarships: Your Pathway to Success

Athlete Scholarships: Your Pathway to Success

Are you an athlete looking to unlock the path to your dreams with a college scholarship? Beyond...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Dec 07 2023
Beyond NCSA Athletic Recruiting: Get Ahead in Your Journey

Beyond NCSA Athletic Recruiting: Get Ahead in Your Journey

Navigating the recruiting landscape in sports can be difficult and complex. If you're an athlete,...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Nov 30 2023
What Do Coaches Want? Unlocking the Secrets of Athletic Recruitment for New Talent

What Do Coaches Want? Unlocking the Secrets of Athletic Recruitment for New Talent

Picture this: You're out on the field, giving your all, with the wind in your hair and the crowd's...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Nov 20 2023
Recruiting in Sports: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Recruiting in Sports: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide

Are you an athlete looking to uncover the keys to success in sports recruiting? Unlock your...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Nov 13 2023
How to Train for Football Combines & Camps

How to Train for Football Combines & Camps

The NFL combine is the ultimate opportunity for athletes to showcase themselves in front of NFL...

ByMathias Torp | Wed Nov 08 2023
5 Stages of College Recruiting Process

5 Stages of College Recruiting Process

The recruiting process can be compared to a funnel containing five specific stages. College coaches...

ByMathias Torp | Fri Nov 03 2023
Flag Football: Unlocking Your Path to Pro Sports

Flag Football: Unlocking Your Path to Pro Sports

Are you passionate about sports and dreaming of excelling in a new sport? Look no further than flag...

ByTiffany Allen | Fri Oct 13 2023
Recruiting for Football: The Ultimate Guide

Recruiting for Football: The Ultimate Guide

Are you a football coach or recruiter looking to build a winning team? Crucial for success on the...

ByTiffany Allen | Mon Sep 11 2023
AFFL Opens Talent ID Event For Upcoming Pro Tryouts In Dallas & Three Other Cities

AFFL Opens Talent ID Event For Upcoming Pro Tryouts In Dallas & Three Other Cities

The American Flag Football League is hosting an in-person tryout for male athletes interested in...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Jun 29 2023
Sports Career Success: Tips for College and Pro Athletes

Sports Career Success: Tips for College and Pro Athletes

Sports come with a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As an athlete, pursuing a career in...

ByTiffany Allen | Wed Jun 21 2023
Volleyball Recruits: 10 Tips For Acing The College Recruiting Process

Volleyball Recruits: 10 Tips For Acing The College Recruiting Process

The college volleyball recruiting process can be intimidating for high school athletes, but with...

ByOVA Team Ontario | Fri Jun 02 2023
Learn How USA Football Selects The Flag Football National Team

Learn How USA Football Selects The Flag Football National Team

The sport of Flag Football has continued to grow in popularity in recent years. The introduction to...

ByTiffany Allen | Thu Jun 01 2023
College Basketball: Four Coaches Who Could Switch Jobs After March Madness

College Basketball: Four Coaches Who Could Switch Jobs After March Madness

While the games from November through February certainly count in the standings, the tilts that...

ByAndrew Pistone | Wed Mar 15 2023
Name, Image, & Likeness: March Madness Offers Rare NIL Opportunities

Name, Image, & Likeness: March Madness Offers Rare NIL Opportunities

For college basketball fans around the country, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year....

ByAndrew Pistone | Tue Mar 07 2023
How Many Scholarships Does Each Collegiate Sport Offer?

How Many Scholarships Does Each Collegiate Sport Offer?

It's time to start applying for schools and begin your recruiting process. You have been working...

ByJohnathan Wright | Tue Feb 21 2023
Five Reasons Why College Basketball Coaches Rescind Scholarship Offers

Five Reasons Why College Basketball Coaches Rescind Scholarship Offers

It’s what you have dreamed of, worked for, and waited on your whole life - a coveted college...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Feb 13 2023
Sports Injuries and Insurance: Four Facts Parents & Recruits Should Know

Sports Injuries and Insurance: Four Facts Parents & Recruits Should Know

Injuries are a major part of athletics, and a high percentage of student-athletes competing in NCAA...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Feb 07 2023
Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

Why The Transfer Portal Is So Important For College Basketball Coaches

2019 was a transformative year in NCAA athletics. The NCAA Transfer Portal, a database which allows...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sun Dec 11 2022
Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Recruiting Rankings: Should I Be Worried If I’m Not A Ranked Basketball Player?

Getting ranked - it’s the ultimate goal and source of motivation for many basketball players across...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Dec 04 2022
How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

How similar is the NCAA Transfer Portal to free agency in professional sports?

The NCAA Transfer Portal is a great platform that is beneficial to student-athletes. It allows...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Dec 02 2022
"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

"What Is A 5-Star Recruit?": Explaining how high school basketball prospect rankings work

High School basketball players like Bronny James are all over TV and social media nowadays, with...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Dec 01 2022
College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

College Soccer: What is the difference between NCAA Division-I & NAIA?

Many soccer athletes across the United States aspire to play their sport at the college level, and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sat Nov 26 2022
College Volleyball: What Is The Timeline For A High School Recruit

College Volleyball: What Is The Timeline For A High School Recruit

Playing volleyball at the collegiate level is almost every single player's dream as a young...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Nov 24 2022
Baseball Recruiting: Tips For How To Find A Showcase Team

Baseball Recruiting: Tips For How To Find A Showcase Team

It isn’t always easy to find a team that’s the right fit for you. It wasn’t easy for me. Some guys...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 23 2022
How To Improve Your Golf Game With A New Workout Routine

How To Improve Your Golf Game With A New Workout Routine

The potency of preparedness in winning all battles, from the most ferocious to the most trivial of...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 22 2022
Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Five Ways To Boost Your Basketball Recruiting with Social Media

Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, GMTM, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook... Social media is a...

ByKeiwaine Hicks | Sat Nov 19 2022
Which High Schools In America Produce The Most Female College Athletes?

Which High Schools In America Produce The Most Female College Athletes?

It may come as no surprise to hear parents want what is best for their children. If parents have...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 15 2022
How To Play Division-I College Football: Four Requirements For Every Athlete

How To Play Division-I College Football: Four Requirements For Every Athlete

It is no secret that it is often a young football athlete's dream to play their favorite sport at...

ByScotty Jenkins | Mon Nov 14 2022
Is playing Division-II college sports worth it?

Is playing Division-II college sports worth it?

Being a Division II collegiate athlete was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Having...

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Nov 08 2022
Five major benefits of playing at a large high school for hopeful recruits

Five major benefits of playing at a large high school for hopeful recruits

Quality of Competition Large high schools tend to have bigger athletic departments and budgets....

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Nov 02 2022
Eight Football Athletes Using GMTM To Find Opportunities To Play

Eight Football Athletes Using GMTM To Find Opportunities To Play

There doesn't seem to be a clear start and finish to the football season anymore. In today’s day...

ByScotty Jenkins | Fri Oct 28 2022
WNBA Star Denied Appeal To 9-Year Prison Sentence In Russia

WNBA Star Denied Appeal To 9-Year Prison Sentence In Russia

Brittney Griner was dealt another blow in her hopes to return home to the U.S. Tuesday. The WNBA...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Oct 26 2022
College Volleyball Recruiting: How Athletes Can Get Ahead Before High School

College Volleyball Recruiting: How Athletes Can Get Ahead Before High School

The first step in getting recruited by a college volleyball team is to take advantage of the...

ByScotty Jenkins | Sun Oct 23 2022
The Four Best Quarterbacks Turned Wide Receivers in NFL History

The Four Best Quarterbacks Turned Wide Receivers in NFL History

Playing quarterback may be the toughest job in professional sports, with just thirty-two jobs in...

ByBryan Armetta | Sun Oct 16 2022
Three Tell-Tale Signs You Are Ready For College Sports

Three Tell-Tale Signs You Are Ready For College Sports

Plenty of high school athletes think they have what it takes to play sports in college. However,...

ByBryan Armetta | Thu Oct 13 2022
How Athletic Scholarships Work: A Quick Guide To Paying For College

How Athletic Scholarships Work: A Quick Guide To Paying For College

It is no secret that college is expensive, and as time goes on, the price continues to increase....

ByScotty Jenkins | Tue Oct 11 2022
Think you can play college football? Here’s what to expect in the recruiting process

Think you can play college football? Here’s what to expect in the recruiting process

Playing college football is a dream for many high schoolers but the recruiting process can be...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Oct 06 2022
College Basketball: Midnight Madness and the start of the CBB schedule

College Basketball: Midnight Madness and the start of the CBB schedule

Many college basketball fans think that the season gets underway in earnest around Thanksgiving,...

ByAndrew Pistone | Fri Sep 30 2022
Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Soccer Recruiting: What College Coaches Look For In High School Recruits

Realistically, soccer coaches and managers look out for different things in soccer players during...

ByScotty Jenkins | Wed Sep 28 2022
Volleyball Recruiting: Nine Questions For Recruits To Ask Volleyball Coaches

Volleyball Recruiting: Nine Questions For Recruits To Ask Volleyball Coaches

Finding a good college, team, coach, and place to spend four years of your life is important and...

ByRebekah Morris | Mon Sep 26 2022
College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

College Football: Five Stars Who Could Have Benefitted Most from NIL Ruling

The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors announced a new...

ByBryan Armetta | Sat Sep 24 2022
College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

College Sports: How To Pick The Right School To Attend

Picking the right college can be a tough task for any high school senior, but it can be a unique...

ByAlexis Peltzer-Harding | Fri Sep 23 2022
Where Is The Sport Of Lacrosse Most Popular?

Where Is The Sport Of Lacrosse Most Popular?

Lacrosse has long been known as an east coast sport in the United States, but has seen growth...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 22 2022
What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

What Does Redshirt Mean? And The Reasons Why Players Do It?

Any athlete with a love for competition hates sitting on the sideline, but once he or she gets to...

ByCorey Roepken | Mon Sep 19 2022
What Every College Athlete Should Know Before Freshman Year Starts

What Every College Athlete Should Know Before Freshman Year Starts

The shift from high school to college is a big one. Throw playing a collegiate sport in and it can...

ByLily Ford | Sun Sep 18 2022
College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

College Basketball: What Is The NCAA Transfer Portal And How Does It Work

With the ever-changing NCAA and college athletics scene, transfer athletes have become more and...

ByScotty Jenkins | Thu Sep 15 2022
The Positives of Playing Club Volleyball For College Recruits

The Positives of Playing Club Volleyball For College Recruits

Do you aspire to step into your next level as a collegiate volleyball player? Are you unsure if...

ByGrace White | Thu Sep 08 2022
Top Five Skills Every Defensive Back Prospect Needs to Develop

Top Five Skills Every Defensive Back Prospect Needs to Develop

Quarterbacks and offensive player command a lot of attention on recruiting websites, and rightfully...

ByJordan Rinard | Tue Sep 06 2022