Best Teams Ever bracket: WNBA edition, Round 2

Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! The results from the first round are here. The second round of polling closes at noon ET on Thursday.

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Best Team Ever bracket series: WNBA edition, round 2 (Yahoo Sports illustration)
Best Team Ever bracket series: WNBA edition, round 2 (Yahoo Sports illustration)

2000 Houston Comets vs. 2016 Los Angeles Sparks

No. 1 Houston Comets (27-5)

OffRtg: 109.4 | DefRtg: 94.0 | Net: 18.4

  • 3 Naismith Hall of Famers

  • Rank second in points per possession

The 2000 Comets, who cemented their dynasty status with a fourth title in four years, moved on easily with 87 percent of the vote over the 2005 Connecticut Sun in the Nos. 1-16 matchup. Sheryl Swoopes (20.7 PPG, 50.6 FG%) was named MVP and Defensive POY while 37-year-old Cynthia Cooper earned Finals MVP for a fourth time and the ESPY for best WNBA player. Tina Thompson (16.9 PPG, 41.7 3FT%) completed the first — and continuously most celebrated — big three in WNBA history.

The team scored 1.091 points per possession, which was the most efficient offense in WNBA history until the 2019 Washington Mystics. Their plus-12.8 point differential is best in league history and their nine 20-point wins rank second, again behind the ’19 Mystics.

No. 9 Los Angeles Sparks (26-8)

OffRtg: 107.8 | DefRtg: 98.6 | Net: 9.2

  • Two league MVPs

  • Rank third in effective FG percentage

The 2016 champion Sparks got by the 2012 Minnesota Lynx in the Nos. 8-9 matchup. That year’s Lynx squad had the fourth-best offensive rating in league history. Nneka Ogwumike was named league MVP, averaging 19.7 points on 66.5 percent shooting, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

Candace Parker, a two-time MVP (’08, ’13), averaged 19.3 points (49.6 FG%), 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in the playoffs. Kristi Toliver, who signed a contract with the Sparks this offseason after the Mystics championship, had one of her best seasons averaging 13.2 points.

The overall team’s effective field goal percentage (53.3) ranks third all-time.

2018 Seattle Storm vs. 2014 Phoenix Mercury

No. 5 Seattle Storm (26-8)

OffRtg: 111.1 | DefRtg: 101.5 | Net: 9.6

The 2018 Storm edged the 2013 Minnesota Lynx, which won their second championship, with 55 percent of the vote. Stewart had one of the most decorated 12 months in basketball history that included the 2018 WNBA championship alongside veteran Sue Bird. Their offensive rating ranks seventh and the team’s effective field goal percentage (53.4) ranks second in league history. They also posted a top-10 assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58).

Stewart averaged 24.6 points in the playoffs and was joined in double-figures by Natasha Howard and Jewell Loyd. They swept the Mystics in the finals after a tough Game 5 win against the Mercury’s big three of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner.

No. 4 Phoenix Mercury (29-5)

OffRtg: 106.4 | DefRtg: 94.1 | Net: 12.3

  • Defensive Player of the Year Brittney Griner

  • WNBA’s all-time scoring leader Diana Taurasi

The 2014 Mercury won 71 percent of the vote against the 2016 Detroit Shock, which came back to win its second consecutive WNBA championship. Mercury, Taurasi (16.2 PPG), Griner (15.6 PPG) and Bonner (10.4 PPG) led Phoenix to the ’14 title. Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, was named the Defensive Player of the Year for her league-leading 153 blocks and the Mercury swept the Chicago Sky in the finals even though she missed Game 3.

Griner ranks third in career blocks (636) and Taurasi continues to add to her career lead in points (8,575). Their 2014 team lost only one game in the postseason (to the defending champion Lynx) and lost only one of five games in the regular season by more than eight points.

1999 Houston Comets vs. 2001 Los Angeles Sparks

No. 15: Houston Comets (26-6)

OffRtg: 105.8 | DefRtg: 92.5 | Net: 13.3

  • Three Naismith Hall of Fame inductees

  • Top-10 point differential

The 1999 Houston Comets pulled the upset in a tough first-round matchup with the 2019 Washington Mystics, which hold a slew of WNBA records. The Comets advanced with 54 percent of the vote.

The Comets also had a season for the ages behind Cooper, Swoopes and Thompson. It was the third of their four championships and they beat opponents by an average of 9.3 points, ranking eighth all time. The 2000 and 1998 versions rank first and second, respectively.

No. 7 Los Angeles Sparks (28-4)

OffRtg: 106.7 | DefRtg: 94.7 | Net: 12.0

  • Three-time MVP Lisa Leslie

  • Last team to win back-to-back championships

The 2001 Sparks advanced past the 2010 Storm, who had three-time MVP Lauren Jackson, with 67 percent of the vote in the first round.

Lisa Leslie won her first of three MVPs (2004, ’06) averaging 19.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks. The Sparks lost four regular-season games, three of which came in a streak in June and included two four-point losses. In the penultimate game, the margin was two. They dropped only one game in the playoffs, which were a best-of-three series then.

1998 Houston Comets vs. 2017 Minnesota Lynx

No. 6 Houston Comets (29-3)

OffRtg: 104.1 | DefRtg: 86.7 | Net: 17.4

  • Best win percentage in WNBA history (.900)

  • Rank second in point differential, net rating

The 1998 Houston Comets, arguably the second-best championship version behind the 2000 team, won 77 percent of the vote in the first round. They defeated the 2009 Mercury squad that featured regular-season and Finals MVP Taurasi.

The Comets trail only the 2000 squad in point differential (12.8) and net rating (17.4), proving they’re one of the best all-around teams in league history. The team of course included the three Naismith Hall of Fame inductees in Cooper (22.7 PPG, 4.4 APG in 1998), Swoopes (15.6 PPG, 5.1 RPG) and Thompson (12.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG).

No. 3 Minnesota Lynx (27-7)

OffRtg: 108.5 | DefRtg: 94.4 | Net: 14.1

  • Rank sixth in all-time offense (net rating)

  • Two league MVPs

The 2017 Minnesota team is the only Lynx squad to make it through to the next round, getting 81 percent of the vote over the 2016 Chicago Sky. It was the last Lynx squad to win a championship, the final pillar in the dynasty that made them equals to the Comets with most WNBA titles (four).

The Lynx were another all-around quality squad, ranking sixth in offense and fourth in net rating differential. Sylvia Fowles was named the 2017 league MVP and both she and ’14 MVP Maya Moore were named first-team All-WNBA selections. Rebekka Brunson was named to the second all-defensive team and Lindsey Whalen led the playoff offense, dishing out 4.9 assists per game.

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