There will be tons of upsets throughout the 2023-24 college basketball season, of course, but we’re betting the last teams standing next April will be some familiar names. Don’t @ us.
Here’s our official 2023-24 Women’s College Basketball season preview.
1. LSU: Nobody can predict what Tigers coach Kim Mulkey will be wearing while prowling the sidelines, but everybody knows All-American Angel Reese is an unstoppable force. Louisville transfer Hailey Van Lith is a standout, and the backcourt is top-shelf.
2. Connecticut: Paige Bueckers is back and healthy and will join Azzi Fudd in the nation’s top backcourt. Assist machine Nika Mühl is another top guard, while forward Aaliyah Edwards is a big-time talent up front. If she gets help in the paint, UConn could hang another banner.
3. Iowa: If you don’t know about Caitlin Clark, you must have been watching hockey all last winter. The high-scoring guard is one of the nation’s best, but she needs help. Guards Kate Martin and Gabbie Marshall are top candidates, but Clark is the big show.
4. UCLA: Guards Charisma Osborne and Kiki Rice are the big names, but the Bruins welcome back eight players from last year’s rotation and add 6-7 center Lauren Betts from Stanford. Forward Emily Bessoir is ready to bust out.
5. South Carolina: Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks are now Final Four fixtures, and there’s no reason to think they won’t get there this year. Oregon transfer Te-Hina Paopao is a big-time guard, and Kamilla Cardoso will be unstoppable inside.
6. Utah: Nobody knew about the Utes before last year, but they know now. A Sweet 16 appearance and the return of all five starters, led by star forward Alissa Pili, means Utah will attract way more attention this time.
7. Ohio State: The Buckeyes may need some time for the offense to develop, but OSU will play some nasty D from day one. Adding a backcourt ballhawk like Celeste Taylor from Duke will make Ohio State even tougher to handle.
8. Texas: Some might think this is a bit high for the ’Horns, but if forward Aaliyah Moore’s knee is healed, it might not be high enough. Rori Harmon is a two-way dynamo at guard, and Shaylee Gonzales is another dangerous backcourt weapon.
9. Indiana: Yes, Grace Berger is gone, but have you met Mackenzie Holmes? If not, get acquainted with her. She’s a big threat inside, and should opponents double her, there are a bunch of shooters outside to loosen up the D.
10. Virginia Tech: The Hokies are loaded with talent, and if everybody gets along like last year, look out. Center Elizabeth Kitley will team with standout guards Georgia Amoore and Cayla King in a tough, inside-out combo, while Minnesota transfer Alanna Micheaux will help plenty inside.
11. Tennessee: It’s hard to believe the Vols haven’t won the SEC in 10 years, but this crew will mount a big challenge. Forward Rickea Jackson is a standout, while 6-6 pivot Tamari Key can lock down the middle. Belmont point guard transfer Destinee Wells can dish and score.
12. Notre Dame: It’s all about the backcourt in South Bend, and the top guard is Olivia Miles—provided her knee is healed. Sharpshooter Sonia Citron is a great weapon, while freshman Hannah Hidalgo could be special right away.
13. Baylor: These Bears will pile up the points, thanks to a roster loaded with bucket-getters. Guard Sarah Andrews leads the way, but Darianna Littlepage-Buggs, Aijha Blackwell, Jada Walker and Dre’Una Edwards can all fill it up.
14. Mississippi: Not everybody on the Rebel roster started at Ole Miss, but fans are sure happy they came to campus. Marquesha Davis, Madison Scott, and Snudda Collins are the core of a tough defensive unit fortified by talented transfers.
15. Louisville: Yes, the Cards lost Hailey Van Lith to the portal, but they added slick point guard Jayda Curry to a team with high-scoring guards Sydney Taylor and Kiki Jefferson. U of L will miss Van Lith, but this year’s aggregation can be special.
16. North Carolina: The Tar Heels are deep, experienced and dangerous. Expect newcomers Lexi Donarski and Maria Gakdeng to contribute right away, while Deja Kelly and Alyssa Ustby are back after earning first-team All-ACC honors a year ago.
17. Florida State: Ta’Niya Latson’s injury late last year hurt the Seminoles greatly. But she’s back, along with high-scoring Makayla Timpson and Sara Bejedi, an inside-out tandem. Look out for transfer guard Alexis Tucker.
18. Maryland: You never have to worry about the Terps making enough outside shots. They can launch. The arrival of transfer Jakia Brown-Turner will make Maryland even more dangerous. Shyanne Sellers is a fine distributor, but depth could be a problem.
19. Colorado: Everybody’s talking about Coach Prime and the CU football team, but the Buffs should be tough on the hardwood, too, thanks to six top returnees, most notably guard Jaylyn Sherrod and forward Quay Miller.
20. Stanford: The Cardinal lost a ton of players from last year’s squad, and Tara VanDerveer’s rotation will be thin, but forward Cameron Brink is a star, and Talana Lepolo has a lot of potential at the point.
21. USC: The big news will be made by the newcomers. Former Ivy League snipers McKenzie Forbes and Kayla Padilla have talent, but the big name is freshman JuJu Watkins, who is almost unstoppable off the dribble.
22. Creighton: Defending the Bluejays is hardly an easy job because they move the ball so well and end up with a bunch of open three-pointers. Four key players—Lauren Jensen, Morgan Maly, Emma Ronsiek and Molly Mogensen—are back to fire away.
23. Washington State: The Coogs are hoping to get their first-ever NCAA tourney win this year, and a deep returning cast, led by Charlisse Leger-Walker, could well make it happen. Wazzu is knocking. It’s time to get through the door.
24. Nebraska: Cornhusker fans prefer to forget the end of last season, but the returning duo of Jaz Shelley and Alexis Markowski should make ’23-24 memorable. Montana State transfer Darian White is first-rate.
25. Kansas State: Gabby Gregory decided one more year in Manhattan was a good idea, and that means big things for the Wildcats. If 6-6 center Ayoka Lee is healthy, K-State will be a major Big 12 factor.
Photos via Getty Images. LSU portrait by Marcus Stevens.
Source website: www.slamonline.com