Week 5 is in the books for the NCAA women’s college basketball season. Things are beginning to clear up with regard to who will be the best teams this season and I want to discuss them.
Here are my top 5 Women’s College Basketball teams:
The Lady Ducks enter this season as the defending Pac-12 regular season champs. The ladies finished with a 16-2 record within the conference and 33-5 overall last season. They were able to make it to the Final Four before falling to the conference rival and defending champion Baylor Bears.
Key returners like Sabrina Ionescu, who averaged 19.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG last season, will have to step up big for the Ducks to return to the Final Four. Junior small forward Satou Sabally had averaged 16.6 PPG and 6.2 RPG and finished 3rd in scoring efficiency in the NCAA.
Lastly, senior center Ruth’s Hebard averaged 16.1 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 67 percent from the field last year. With her size and depth, Hebard can give the Ducks meaningful scoring and rebounding consistently.
The Ducks have showed us that they are capable of making it back to the Women’s College Basketball NCAA tournament and even winning it this year, however, when faced with adversity or with the Baylor Bears, will they be able to come out on top?
Louisville has become a crowd favorite in the last few years at the NCAA tournament. The Lady Cardinals were led by guard Asia Durr in previous years, however this season that is not the case. From the outside looking in, most would suspect that Louisville wouldn’t make much noise after losing Durr to the WNBA draft, where she was picked 2nd overall.
Dana Evans, Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook and Bionca Dunham are the returning core for this Louisville team. The 3-point shooting will take a dip since Durr and Carter have departed. However, Louisville is making it up in rebounding, or so it seems. They are bringing into the mix Ramani Parker standing 6 foot 4 inches and Georgia Tech transfer Liz Dixon who will surely help in that department.
Louisville already knocked off top-ranked Oregon just this past weekend led by some offensive weapons in Dana Evans (17 points and six assists) and Kylee Shook (18 points, 15 rebounds and three assists). While they shot nearly 50 percent from the field, the Cardinals defense is what beat the Ducks as they held the Ducks to only 17.6 percent shooting from three point range and 34.7 percent shooting from the floor. Oregon Star Sabrina Ionescu only had 13 points.
After defeating Oregon, the Cardinals definitely have shaken up the AP Top 25 Poll. It was a huge win for their resume and could provide them a HUGE reward in March.
It was a very disappointing season last year for UCONN. They fell to Notre Dame in the tournament, while losing key players Katie Lou Samuelson and WNBA Rookie of the Year Napheesa Collier. However, UCONN is in good shape, returning with ten players from a season ago.
Christyn Williams should have a breakout season this year. The sophomore guard averaged 10.6 points last season with 3 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Crystal Dangerfield is joining Williams as a key returner for the Huskies and leader on the floor. Averaging 13.7 points and 6.2 assists, Dangerfield will be a key reason the Huskies make it back to the NCAA tournament.
The defending champion Baylor Bears will definitely make an appearance in the NCAA tournament. Momentum is high for the Lady Bears as they are the defending champions
and clear favorites for the Big-12 championship. This season the Lady Bears should and could repeat as conference champs while bringing home a number one seed in the process. They may not repeat dominance with this group, but key players are returning alongside Didi Richards who was the defensive go to for the Lady Bears last season.
She is complimented by Forward Lauren Cox who is averaging 12.4 points and 8 rebounds per game. The Lady Bears also picked up transfer guard Te’a Cooper who played for the Gamecocks last season and averaged 11.9 points and two assists. But the breakout star is sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith who is currently averaging 16 points and 7 rebounds so far this season.
Coach Mulkey has a talented squad but will it be enough to make it a repeat of last season?
This year Stanford’s squad is put together. A very youthful team coming into this season with 4 freshmen and 3 sophomores, while playing some undeniable basketball. With a young team, the players are blossoming and it’s very exciting to see what this Cardinals team can do.
Players’ confidence will continue to rise after moving up to No. 1 this week after Oregon and Baylor both took loses. Freshman Haley Jones will be a player to keep your eye on. She averaged 26.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.8 blocks her senior year of high school.
Coach VanDerveer should be excited to see how her young team progresses during the season and even maybe having a chance in the conference tournament to take down the Goliath in Oregon.