The 2022-2023 National Championship perfectly cumulated the exponential growth of women’s college basketball throughout the season and recent years. Numerous records were broken in viewership, ticket sales, and overall attention paid to the women’s game.
The tournament didn’t disappoint, from complicated storylines and star players to overtimes and buzzer beaters this year's March Madness had it all. Even the casual viewer can name the Cavinder twins or discuss the controversy between Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese that stirred up Twitter.
The offseason was just as dramatic with big moves made in the transfer portal. LSU looks to remain on top with the addition of Louisville star Hailey Van Lith, and UCLA, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech also scored big in the portal and look to go further next year. UCONN looks to regain their place at the top as long as Paige Bueckers returns healthy. Duke falls out of the top 25 after losing defensive star Celeste Taylor. Previous number one, South Carolina drops to seven after losing Aliyah Boston, Zia Cooke, Brea Beal, Victoria Saxton, and Kierra Fletcher.
#1. LSU - reigning champion LSU looks to repeat in 2024, which seems more than likely given the acquisition of Louisville star Hailey Van Lith. Van Lith is set to take over for Alexis Morris. Angel Reese looks to star in her senior season and the Tigers will look to a matured sophomore presence in Flau'jae Johnson. #2 recruit in the 2023 class Mikaylah Williams hopes to add to LSU's already dominant backcourt.
#2. UCONN- the frequent championship presence came up short last year following star guard Paige Bueckers’ preseason ACL tear and a host of injuries throughout the season. However, with Bueckers back and Azzi Fudd healthy UCONN looks to rival LSU. Additionally, UCONN retained star forward Aaliyah Edwards, the nation's second leading scorer in assists; Nika Muhl, and solid contributors in Aubrey Griffin and Caroline Ducharme.
#3. Iowa- Caitlin Clark. What else is there to say? The Hawkeyes star captured the nation's attention and brought unprecedented viewership to the women's game. Although she lost her right hand woman in Monika Czinano, she is supported in the backcourt by Gabbie Marshal and Kate Marshall.
#4. UCLA- The Bruins scored big in last year's recruiting class, and also added 6 '7 Stanford transfer Lauren Betts. Next year UCLA looks to strengthen the underclassmen core behind Kiki Rice; the former highly anticipated freshman who was this year's second leading scorer for the Bruins. The young Bruins will be led by fifth year Charisma Osborne, the team’s veteran leading scorer who looks to be drafted into the WNBA next year.
#5. Ohio St.- After an unanticipated elite eight run, the Buckeyes rebuilt in the off-season by adding Duke transfer and ACC defensive player of the year Celeste Taylor to their already infamous press. Dominant guard Jacy Sheldon returns for her fifth season and Big Ten freshman of the year Cotie McMahon looks to make an impact in the Big Ten.
#6. Indiana - The Hoosiers will have to rely heavily on 6'3 forward Mackenzie Holmes. Holmes will be supported by a cast of sharp shooters including Sara Scalia, Chloe Moore- Mcneil and Sydney Parish. Indiana's best 3- point shooter, Yarden Garzon returns for her sophomore year.
#7. South Carolina- With Aliyah Boston off to the WNBA, Kamilla Cardoso will have to replace the rebounding and blocking presence. The Gamecocks have added Oregon transfer Te-Hina Paopao and guard Bree Hall looks to step into a bigger role.
#8. Virginia Tech- Following a noble final four run, Hokies star Elizabeth Kitely decided to return for her fifth year. She will be assisted by senior point guard Georgia Amoore. The Hokies also gained Alanna Micheaux from Minnesota, giving Virginia Tech a good chance of returning to the final four.
#9 Notre Dame- The Fighting Irish will be led by junior Olivia Miles who suffered a knee injury in the last game of the regular season. As long as she returns healthy, the combination of Miles, Sonia Citron, and Maddy Westbeld will create an intimidating trio. Notre Dame will also work to incorporate incoming guard Hannah Hidalgo, the co-MVP of the McDonald's All American Game and Anna DeWolfe, a transfer from Fordham.
# 10. Tennessee- The volunteers center around forward Rickea Jackson and 6'6 center Tamari Key, as well as 6'5 Jillian Holinshead. While Tennessee is strong in the height department, they also acquired Belmont transfer Destinee Wells to handle the ball.
Overall, the 2023-2024 season looks to mirror this past season as most top teams retain their stars. The main battle appears to be between reigning champ LSU and 11-time champion UCONN, but other top teams like Iowa and UCLA look to challenge their dominant runs.