clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Navigating WNBA.com’s new stats page: Using advanced box scores

New, 1 comment

What is an “advanced box score,” anyway? Here’s how to find all the data you could possibly think of from any individual game using WNBA Stats, including WNBA season superlatives for both teams and players.

Phoenix Mercury v Las Vegas Aces
The Phoenix Mercury and Las Vegas Aces played quite the nail-biter last night. Let’s use the game’s advanced box score to break it down.
Photo by David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images

So far in our journey across WNBA Stats, we’ve found ways to visualize player and team shooting, analyze lineups, measure team performance with certain players on and off the court and even look up video for particular plays.

One thing we have yet to do, however, is look at the new advanced box score feature. Looking for ways to analyze a WNBA game that go beyond your basic points, rebounds and assists? Then you’ve come to the right place.


What the heck is an advanced box score?

It’s ... advanced!

WNBA advanced box scores are, simply put, box scores from each game that go into much more detail than the ones shown on the website’s home page. Whether you want to see what the pace of a game was or break down where each team scored its points, generate a shot chart for the game or even use a a custom range to see stats from different stages of the game, advanced box scores offer a multitude of ways to analyze things.

It’s much easier to demonstrate all of this with examples, of course, so let’s have at it!

A quick rundown

Advanced box scores can be found by clicking on “scores” in the WNBA Stats nav bar. Make sure you are not using the “scores” link at the top of the website; these will yield only basic, boring, everyday box scores. Not good.

Here’s what you should see:

Scores from August 20, 2019. You can use the calendar at the top to go back quite a ways. Oh, and don’t get distracted by the pretty colors to the right; those have nothing to do with what we’ll be discussing today.

Let’s choose the advanced box score from Tuesday night’s game between the Phoenix Mercury and Las Vegas Aces. As you can see below, we are presented with a ton of different options, so let’s run through them. Remember that orange numbers mean that video is available for that particular statistic; if you want to watch each of Brianna Turner’s six blocked shots, for instance, just click on that number and enjoy.

The advanced box score from yesterday’s overtime thriller between the Mercury and Aces. The stuff in green is what we’ll be playing around with.

Below is the advanced tab. You’ll notice that these are the same statistics that we’ve been using to measure team performance throughout the course of the season. Keep in mind that pace is an estimate of possessions per 48 minutes, not per 40 minutes — one of the few drawbacks of using the same stats software as the NBA mothership!

Advanced tab

Here is the miscellaneous tab. Most of these numbers are pretty self-explanatory. One thing to keep in mind here is that the “opponent” statistics on this tab represent what happened while that player was on the floor; while A’ja Wilson scored 12 points in the paint herself (PITP), she did not singlehandedly allow the Mercury to score 26 points in the paint (OPP PITP). That would not be good!

Miscellaneous tab

This is the scoring breakdown. Some of these metrics are pretty cool, especially when broken down by individual player. Here we can see that 90.9 percent of Brittney Griner’s two-point baskets were assisted (2FGM %AST) and 20.8 percent of DeWanna Bonner’s points were scored after Aces turnovers (%PTS OFFTO).

Scoring breakdown

This is the usage tab. These numbers describe the percentage of the team’s statistics that were recorded by each player while she was on the floor. For example, when Liz Cambage was on the court, she scored 24.4 percent of the Aces’ points (%PTS). Sugar Rodgers made 20 percent of the team’s shots during her eight minutes of play (%FGM). A’ja Wilson drew 36.8 percent of fouls called during her time on the court (%PFD).

Usage tab

These are the four factors for the game, which are the four areas typically associated with team success: shooting, free throws, turnovers and rebounding (more information on that here). The idea is that you can take a quick glance at the Mercury’s four factors and see how the game went without actually looking at the score. They shot the ball a tad better than the Aces (EFG% vs. OPP EFG%), were outscored significantly at the free throw line (FTA RATE vs. OPP FTA RATE), took better care of the basketball (TO RATIO vs. OPP TO RATIO) and got dominated on the offensive boards (OREB% vs. OPP OREB%). Quick and easy.

Four factors

Finally, here are the shot charts for the game. You’ll notice that you can modify them using the filters at the top, choosing to display shots for each quarter or player if you wish.

Shot charts

Sorting advanced box scores

It’s one thing to have all this information available, but the really cool part is that we can look up several box scores at once. Under the “Teams” section in the nav bar, there is an option to view advanced box scores for the entire season, which looks like this:

This may not look useful right away, but we can sort the box scores by clicking on the columns to find season superlatives. The most three-pointers made in a game this season, for example, is 18 by the Washington Mystics. The Wings own the dubious honor of most fouls committed in a game way back on May 24. Most points scored in a game? That’s Washington again.

We can also do this for players. We can easily look up how many 30-point games there have been this season, for instance, by using a custom filter. Behold:

Individual team and player box scores

Finally, all of this data is also available for each team and player on their respective pages. Want to look at the Connecticut Sun game log? No problem. Just go to the team’s page and choose “advanced box scores” from the drop-down menu:

The same can be done for individual players. WNBA Stats, show me Courtney Vandersloot’s game log!

Once again, the ability to sort all of this data and filter it in any way you choose makes it invaluable. Want to search for games in which the Sun scored 80 or more points? How about games in which Vandersloot recorded 10 or more assists? All of that is very doable, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Combined with the new video feature, these advanced box scores not only provide a ton of insight into each WNBA game, but they also make it easy to break down a team’s or player’s performance across a specific time period, or maybe find that one specific play you’ve been looking for, but forgot when it happened.


All statistics, screen shots, and charts referenced in this piece courtesy of WNBA.com.