As we climb closer and closer to the start date of the NCAA Women’s basketball season and teams start rolling out their covid-effected schedules, it seems like a good time to take a look at what it my expected preseason top 25 in the Women’s College Basketball landscape. These will be updated throughout the season as games occur.
- South Carolina
The Gamecocks return arguably the most talented team in all of college basketball. Led by Zia Cooke, Aliyah Boston, Brea Beal and now available Texas transfer Destiny Littleton, it will take a lot to knock South Carolina off the top of the rankings.
It’s now NaLyssa Smith’s team and she appears ready for an All-American type season. A supporting cast of highly rated freshman Hannah Gusters and Sarah Andrews mixed with veteran leadership of DiDi Richards and Moon Ursin give the Lady Bears much needed depth. They also expect contributions from Penn State transfer Kamaria McDaniel and Stanford grad transfer Dijonai Carrington.
The Paige Bueckers era of UConn is about to kick off and the expectations are through the roof. Adding the 2020 top overall recruit to an impressive cast of Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Aubrey Griffin, Christyn Williams and Tennessee transfer Evina Westbrook gives the Huskies a team that could bring that back to the championship promise land.
Adding the second-overall recruit Cameron Brink to the 2019 top overall recruit Haley Jones and a supporting cast Kiana Williams, Lexie Hull, Fran Belibi and Anna Wilson gives Stanford a roster that can compete for Pac-12 title and NCAA Final Four
The Wildcats have possibly the most explosive scorer in the country on Aari McDonald. She is poised to fight for Pac-12 Player of the Year. She is surrounded by Cate Reese, Sam Thomas and highly rated Freshman Lauren Ware gives them the pieces to power past traditional powers Oregon and Stanford. Transfers Bendu Yeaney from Indiana and Trinity Baptiste from Virginia Tech are expected to give the team much needed depth.
The Cardinals have two of the most explosive guards in the country in senior Dana Evans and incoming Freshman Hailey Van Lith. That type of guard play will likely take this team places this season. They are supported by Elizabeth Balogun, Elizabeth Dixon and MyKasa Robinson and are expected to be in the hunt for an ACC title.
Everything for Kentucky begins with All-American and All-Everything Rhyne Howard. She gives Kentucky a go-to player and a player who can put the team on her shoulders and carry them across the finish line. Luckily, she has plenty of backups in Chasity Patterson, Olivia Owens and highly touted freshman Treasure Hunt.
- Mississippi State
While there is a new coach leading this group in Nikki McCray-Penson, they will have known faces powering them on both sides of the ball. Super-Sophomore Rickea Jackson is expected to be one of the best players in not only the SEC but also the country. Add in JaMya Mingo-Young, Jessika Carter, Michigan State transfer Sidney Cooks and talented freshman Madison Hayes and the SEC better watch out for the Bulldogs.
- NC State
The Wolfpack return a strong core, highlighted by star center Elissa Cunane. Add in forwards Kayla Jones, Jada Boyd, wing Jakia Brown-Turner as well as guards Kai Crutchfield and Genesis Bryant and NC State will be right back in the thick of things in the ACC and national picture.
The Bruins have their very own do-everything player in Michaela Onyenwere. She has the skills to be the best player in the conference and lead her team to new heights in the 20-21 season. Add sharp-shooter Natalie Chou, and veterans Chantel Horvat and Kayal Owens and the Bruins will be a team to watch this season.
- Texas A&M
On the surface, The Aggies come into the season with numerous scoring options in Jordan Nixon, Kayla Wells, Ciera Johnson and N’dea Jones. They all are expected double-digit scorers. Now if they are granted instant eligibility to transfers Destiny Pitts, Zaay Green and Alexis Morris, and they will likely have the power to jump right into the top ten of the country.
Replacing a historic class is never an easy task, but the Ducks have the pieces to make it happen. Returning senior Erin Boley, Texas transfer Sedona Prince and Immediate-eligible Maryland transfer Taylor Mikesell is a good place to start. Add in multiple five-star recruits highlighted by Sydney Parrish and Kylee Watson and the Ducks rebuild might happen at warp speed.
The Razorbacks were already a high-powered scoring machine. Add in grad-transfer Destiny Slocum and it might amp the offense to even another level. Mainstays Chelsea Dungee, Amber Ramirez and impact freshman Elauna Eaton gives the Razorbacks enough to compete with almost any team in the country.
The Hoosiers seem poised and ready to end Maryland’s reign at the top of the Big Ten this season. Behind the trio of Jaelynn Penn, Ali Patberg, and Grace Berger, they have arguably the strongest guard play in the conference. Add in Notre Dame transfer Danielle Patterson and the Hoosiers will likely be a player in the national scene.
Maryland may have lost some key contributors, but the cupboard is not empty by any means. Returners Ashley Owusu, Diamond Miller and Channise Lewis will be joined by transfers Katie Benzan, Mimi Collins and Chloe Bibby. Round it all off with the 2020 second overall recruit in Angel Reese and Maryland should be expected to maintain their high-level of play.
- Oregon State
Despite some significant losses to transfer and graduation, the Beavers have a solid core trio in Aleah Goodman, and dominating post players Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown.
- Iowa State
The Cyclones return multiple starters from last season highlighted by leading scorer Ashley Joens. Fellow returnees Kristin Scott, Rae Johnson, and Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw are joined by two high-scoring freshman Lexi Donarski and Aubrey Joens. While Baylor might hold ont the top spot, Iowa State is expected to be on the best in their conference.
- Notre Dame
With Niele Ivey starting her coaching career, she is starting it off with one heck of a talented bunch. Super-sophomores Sam Brunelle and Anaya Peoples welcome a highly talented group of freshmen in Alasia Hayes Maddy Westbeld and more to South Bend. Coupled with available transfers Dara Mabrey and Destinee Walker and the Fighting Irish should be expected to contend for the top of the ACC.
While the Orange return Digna Strautmane, Kiara Lewis, Emily Engstler and Amaya Finklea-Guity, they also get back their All-American and All-Conference candidate guard Tiana Mangakahia. Add in strong freshman Priscilla Williams and 6’7 Kamilla Cardoso and Syracuse are on the doorstep and breaking into the national scene.
DePaul will turn to their trio of double-digit scoring guards in Deja Church, Lexi Held and Sonya Morris. If Big Ten Transfers Jorie Allen and Courtney Fredrickson get on the court this year, that will give them experience in the post to go with that strong guard play.
Returning conference player of the year Jill Townsend and the supporting cast will likely keep the Bulldogs in the top 25 all season long.
Returning guards Lindsey Pulliam, Veronica Burton, Jordan Hamilton and Sydney Wood will likely be the main options on offense for the Wildcats this year. Highly ranked freshman Anna Morris will likely figure heavily into the schemes on both sides of the game.
Kara Lawson starts her career in blue and her player development and lessons she can implement from her college coach Pat Summitt I predict will have Duke back in the top 25 and top half of the ACC this season.
Vic Schaefer is entering his first season trying to get the Longhorns back to the elite level of NCAAW basketball. Returners Celeste Taylor, Joanne Allen-Taylor, and Charli Collier will be the staples that their system is built around. Add transfers Kyra Lambert, Karisma Ortiz and Lauren Ebo and I think Coach Schaefer will have Texas back in the top 25 and Big 12 contention.
- Florida State
While they say goodbye to one of their most memorable classes, Transfer Bianca Jackson, and returners Morgan Jones, Valencia Myers and Sammie Puisis gives them strong building blocks to kick off the new chapter of the program.
Also Considered :
-Florida Gulf Coast