February 15, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: First look: Sports Reference’s women’s basketball data treasure trove 

Howard and Sean talk about Sports Reference, how it got started and launching women's college basketball data

It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. This episode features host Howard Megdal who is joined by Sean Forman, who has revolutionized the way we understand and process data in sports, from his pioneering Baseball-Reference.com through what’s turned into an empire of data across the sports landscape. Most exciting to all of us? Now that he’s done for the WNBA, his team has begun assembling the same level of data with care for women’s college basketball.

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Sean talks about how Sports Reference got started:

“It’s been a very long trip to get to where we’re at right now. I’ve been doing this; I think Baseball- Reference last 23 years ago, about earlier, maybe two or three weeks ago, it was our 23rd anniversary. So I was doing it on the side. I love web design. I have always loved sports statistics. My dad was a football coach in junior high; I would help him collect it. I do the tactical chart for the high school team and help compile stats and later play for him. And so, it’s always been something I’ve loved. And you know, I thought the web would be a great way to make an encyclopedia.

It felt like hyperlinking and creating a really interconnected database of sports stats would be a lot of fun to do. And I think it would be interesting; I actually did it on the side for six years. So I just kind of joke we’ve just never quit, quit doing it. And so, thankfully, other people enjoy it, like yourself, enjoy it as well. And so it’s just kind of really grown organically, not just one day after another for the last 23 years to get to where we are now.”

Sean talks about adding women’s college basketball to Sports Reference:

“Now women’s college basketball is the next thing we’ve trained our eyes on. So this was a seven-month project collecting, we are very happy to work with genius sports, who’s the official data provider for the NCAA, and they provided us with a lot of historical data around women’s college basketball. And so that was the start of the process. And then from there, we had to start collecting; we’re not quite 100% there, but start collecting conference players of the year, start collecting all the coaching information, start collecting all the tourney games.

And what we’ve launched with is basically 14 years of 14 seasons of data with full game logs, full player rosters, basically, all the information that we have on the men’s side; we’re still filling in a few gaps here or there. We had an issue with our update this morning. So if you’re on the site this morning, a few things may be missing, but we should get those back to you in a minute or two. But yeah, our goal is to have completely equal delivery of the women’s side and the men’s side that we have in college basketball.”

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Here at The Next, in addition to the 24/7/365 written content our staff provides, we also host the daily Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast. Join us Monday through Saturday each week as we discuss all things WNBA, collegiate basketball, basketball history and much more. Listen wherever you find podcasts or watch on YouTube.

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