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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Lisa Fernandez in ESPNW Best Female Athlete Bracket

UCLA great & softball legend Lisa Fernandez is the sport's sole representative in a new bracket-style contest published by ESPNW.com

Via ESPNW
The women's sports-only side of the Worldwide Leader calls it their "Best Female Athlete" bracket; they've ranked eight of the top female athletes of all-time, then filled in the remaining spots in a round of thirty-two. The endeavor was apparently inspired by tennis star Serena William's recent dominance on the clay, prompting ESPNW to dub her the number one seed and ask the question "is she the best female athlete of all-time?"

Williams; basketball player Diana Taurasi; soccer player Michelle Akers; basketball player Cynthia Cooper; tennis player Martina Navratilova; basketball player Sheryl Swoopes; track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee; and soccer player Abby Wambach make up the ranked 1-8 seeds.

Interesting and of note is that the bracket features eight basketball players, exactly 1/4 of the listed athletes, as well as five soccer stars and four tennis players, more than another 1/4, leaving less than half of the bracket to be filled in by those from other sports. The criteria is simply listed as, "... named eight seeds and drew the rest of the slots".

Fernandez's inclusion is certainly well-deserved, as she can never be counted out of the discussion of the greatest softballer of all-time. At UCLA, she posted a dominant 93-7 record in the circle, including seventy-four shutouts and eleven no-hitters. Her career ERA came in at 0.22, even one/one-hundreth lower than her mark in that category her senior season as a Bruin. 

Fernandez not only pitched, but stepped up to the plate often and was a dangeous bat. She posted a .545 batting average in the 2004 Games, hitting just a few points lower at .510 in the midst of her senior campaign at UCLA. The .545 number remains an Olympic record.

She faces Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci in the first round of the bracket, which is solely a fan vote. You can cast your ballot for Fernandez by clicking here.

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