What we’ll remember from 2022: women’s basketball

As 2022 winds down, Sports Illustrated is looking back at the themes and teams, story lines and through lines that shaped the year.


tumult is a good way to describe 2022 in the women’s basketball landscape. Triumph also comes to mind. The biggest stories in the sport touched at least one or the other.

Mercury and Team USA star Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia rightfully loomed large over everything else happening not just in women’s basketball, but in sports as a whole, as Sports Illustrated‘s Wilton Jackson wrote. Athletes across teams and leagues spoke up in support of Griner. Many events featured campaigns where fans could write letters to send to her. In a marquee November matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 college teams, legendary coaches Dawn Staley of South Carolina (last season’s NCAA tourney winner) and Tara VanDerveer of Stanford wore identical shirts honoring Griner. Finally, in December, President Joe Biden announced she was coming home.

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