It may be the year of the superteams, but there is plenty of talent up and down the WNBA’s 12 teams as the league prepares to tip off its 27th season this weekend.

Still, it’s easy to see why New York and Las Vegas are the favorites to win the 2023 WNBA championship. The Aces and Liberty combine to have eight players on our list of the top 25 players in the league.

1. A’ja Wilson, F, Aces

The 2022 MVP led the Aces to their first-ever title last season, averaging 19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.4 steals per contest. Wilson was an impact player on both ends of the floor, performing well in the most high-pressure situations. She had six double-doubles in 10 playoff games and played 40 or more minutes in three contests, including the championship-clinching win over Connecticut. With the Aces once again a favorite to win the WNBA title, Wilson will continue to be at the top of her game.

2. Breanna Stewart, F, Liberty

New team, same Breanna Stewart. The 6-4 forward brings scoring versatility to the court for New York, just like the 2018 MVP did for the Storm over her first six years in the league. Last season, Stewart averaged 21.8 points per game, tying her career-high and leading the WNBA as a whole. She also contributed 7.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. With more weapons around her in New York, Stewart likely won’t put up numbers as big, but her talent and impact won’t change.

3. Jonquel Jones, F, Liberty

Like Stewart, Jones will be adjusting to a new team and a new role. But with other elite scorers around her, Jones will have more freedom as defenses won’t be able to center their game plans around the 2021 MVP. The 6-6 forward averaged 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals per contest with the Sun last season. Her ability to stretch the floor and shoot 3-pointers on offense is a major strength that opens up lanes for Jones and her teammates.

4. Elena Delle Donne, F, Mystics

After multiple back surgeries caused Delle Donne to miss games at the start of the 2022 season, the Mystics star ended up having a solid campaign. Her 17.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game were some of her lowest totals over her nine-year WNBA career but impressive nonetheless. Now fully healthy, the 6-5 forward is poised to regain at least some of the form that vaulted her to WNBA MVP in 2015 and 2019. One highlight from last season was Delle Donne’s 2.3 assists per contest, the best mark of her career thus far.

5. Chelsea Gray, G, Aces

After winning the 2022 Finals MVP award, Gray solidified herself as the best point guard in the league. She averaged 21.7 points and seven assists per game during the playoffs, up from 13.7 and 6.1 in those same categories during the regular season. Gray proved herself invaluable during the title run, and the Aces wouldn’t have claimed the trophy without her. The guard was virtually unstoppable when she wanted to score, making 63.5% of her contested shot attempts.

Nneka Ogwumike (Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

6. Nneka Ogwumike, F, Sparks

The Sparks had a chaotic season in 2022, but there was one bright spot: Nneka Ogwumike. The 6-2 forward put up her best numbers since 2017, averaging 18.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, two assists and 1.7 steals per game. Ogwumike helped keep the Sparks in playoff contention late into the season despite all the drama that surrounded her team. Her standout season is part of the reason new coach Curt Miller made it a priority to re-sign Ogwumike, and the 2016 MVP will be a cornerstone of the new-look Sparks this season.

7. Jewell Loyd, G, Storm

Loyd has played eight years in the WNBA and accomplished a rare feat of improving every season. Now, without Stewart and Sue Bird leading the Storm, Loyd will be thrust further into the spotlight, and the 29-year-old guard is ready. Loyd is one of the best shot-creators in the league, using her speed and athleticism to score off the bounce. During the 2022 playoffs, she proved she’s ready to be the team’s primary scorer, with 26 points in Seattle’s lone win over the Aces in the semifinals.

8. Kelsey Plum, G, Aces

After five seasons in the WNBA, Plum hit her stride last season, becoming a key piece to the Aces’ championship run while averaging the second-most points in the league with 20.2 per game. The guard also proved herself as more than a scorer, averaging a career-high 5.1 assists per game. As the Aces battle for another title, Plum will continue to be a cornerstone of the team’s offense.

9. Candace Parker, F, Aces

Parker, a 15-year WNBA veteran, has said retirement is coming soon. But when she plays, the 6-4 forward doesn’t look anywhere near ready to hang it up. Parker has always been a player who impacts every aspect of the game, and that won’t change in her first year in Las Vegas. After leading the Sky to a championship in 2021, the second of her career, she put up 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, one block and one steal per game last season.

Sabrina Ionescu (David Becker/NBAE via Getty Images)

10. Sabrina Ionescu, G, Liberty

New York locked down their former No. 1 draft pick with a contract extension through the 2025 season this week, and it’s easy to see why the franchise wants her around. In college, Ionescu earned the title of “Triple-Double Queen,” something she showed glimpses of last season in the WNBA. Her best performance came last July, when Ionescu had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against Las Vegas to record the WNBA’s first 30-point triple-double. After trading for Jonquel Jones and signing Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, the Liberty will be atop the WNBA this season; and if they win a title, Ionescu will be a key piece to the puzzle.

11. Napheesa Collier, F, Lynx

The new mom missed last season on maternity leave after giving birth to daughter Mila. Collier is back for the 2023 campaign, ready to build on the 2020 and 2021 seasons in which she averaged 16 points per game. Collier is also a skilled rebounder and passer, averaging a career-high nine rebounds and 3.3 assists in 2020. The 2019 Rookie of the Year moves well with and without the ball. She has a proven ability to get to the rim and finish with strength, or pull up for a mid-range shot.

12. Kahleah Copper, G, Sky

After losing Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot to free agency, Copper is now the leader of the Chicago Sky. The 2021 Finals MVP is more than capable of taking on a primary scoring role after averaging a career-high 15.7 points per game last season. Copper is efficient around the rim, where her body control makes her difficult to stop. The 6-1 guard has also become more well-rounded as her career has progressed, averaging 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in 2022, both career highs.

13. Alyssa Thomas, F, Sun

Thomas is a do-it-all player for the Sun, and they will need her even more this season after trading Jonquel Jones to the Liberty. Thomas kept Connecticut alive against the Aces in the 2022 Finals with two triple-doubles in a row, marking the first and the second triple-doubles in WNBA Finals history. Thomas averaged 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.7 steals per game in 2022.

14. Courtney Vandersloot, G, Liberty

In 12 seasons in the WNBA, Vandersloot has solidified herself as the league’s top pass-first point guard. Last season, she averaged 6.5 assists per game, which was actually her lowest mark since 2016. Vandersloot’s ability to run an offense and set up teammates will be on full display this year alongside elite scorers in Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart and rising star Sabrina Ionescu.

Arike Ogunbowale (Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images)

15. Arike Ogunbowale, G, Wings

Ogunbowale was fourth in the league last season with 19.7 points per game. The Wings guard hunts her shot at every opportunity. She can score off the bounce or the catch and has a killer step-back that is difficult to guard. Ogunbowale also averaged a career-best 3.6 assists per game in 2022. With new additions to the Wings’ offense, the guard will be relied on to score and set up her teammates this season.

16. Rhyne Howard, G, Dream

The No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft made noise in her first season, earning an All-Star nod and proving herself as the future of the Atlanta Dream organization. This year, Howard will build on her Rookie of the Year numbers of 16.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.6 steals per game.

17. Ariel Atkins, G, Mystics

A key piece to the Washington Mystics attack, Atkins averaged 14.6 points and 2.3 assists last season, but it’s her ability to impact both ends of the floor that earns her a spot on this list. After receiving All-WNBA Second Team honors four years in a row, Atkins was named to the First Team last season.

18. Skylar Diggins-Smith, G, Mercury

Diggins-Smith will miss part of the season on maternity leave, but after the season she had in 2022, she’s earned a spot on this list, full season or not. Diggins-Smith was third in the WNBA in scoring last season with 19.7 points per game, her best mark since 2014. Diggins-Smith also averaged 5.5 assists, four rebounds, 1.5 steals and — despite being 5-9 — one block per contest.

DeWanna Bonner (Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

19. DeWanna Bonner, F, Sun

Bonner has been consistent throughout her 13-year career in the WNBA. Since 2015, she’s never averaged fewer than 13 points per game. Bonner was a key piece to the Sun’s WNBA Finals run last season, and her length and athleticism at 6-4 make her a threat on offense and defense.

20. Allisha Gray, G, Dream

After six solid years with the Wings, Gray embarks on a new journey with the Dream. The guard put up some of her best numbers last season, averaging 13.3 points and 2.5 assists per game. Gray is also an excellent defender who will bring experience and poise to a young Dream squad.

21. Brittney Griner, C, Mercury

Griner says it will take her a bit to get comfortable on a basketball court again after missing last season while being wrongfully imprisoned in Russia. But once she gets reacclimated, the 32-year-old should emerge as one of the top WNBA players once more. In 2021, Griner averaged a near double-double with 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

22. Brionna Jones, F, Sun

The Sun made keeping Jones a priority in the offseason, clearly viewing her as the future of the franchise in the wake of other departures. She was named Sixth Player of the Year in 2022 after putting up 14.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Now, without Jonquel Jones, Brionna Jones will be expected to step up even more for the Sun.

23. Natasha Howard, F, Wings

Behind Ionescu, Howard was the Liberty’s second-leading scorer last season. New York dealt her to the Wings to make room for players like Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart, but that’s not a knock on her talent. Howard hit her stride in Seattle in 2018 and has been a consistent scorer and defender since then, winning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

24. Kelsey Mitchell, G, Fever

Since being drafted in 2018, Mitchell has been a bright spot during losing seasons for the Fever. Last year was her best yet, as the 27-year-old guard averaged 18.4 points and 4.2 assists per game.

25. Diana Taurasi, G, Mercury

At 40 years old, Taurasi is still one of the best scorers in the WNBA, and she proved that last season with multiple games of 30 or more points. She’s had staying power for a reason, and the veteran will continue to make an impact in Phoenix this season.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Time has flown. With five games already played in the 2023 NWSL regular season, we’re nearing the quarter mark of the domestic soccer calendar.

Now that fans have had a chance to see a month’s worth of performances from each team, we took a look at how clubs are picking up points, and who’s trending in the right (or wrong) direction with a fresh edition of power rankings.

1. Portland Thorns

Standings: 1st (3-0-2)

Portland holds the top spot in both the league standings and in the power rankings after a quarter of the regular season. The Thorns needed a shocking equalizer from goalkeeper Bella Bixby this weekend to stay undefeated in league play, but the “whatever-it-takes” mentality from the 2022 reigning champions has made them difficult to beat in the early going of the season.

2. OL Reign

Standings: 2nd (3-1-1)

The Reign also needed a furious comeback to draw Racing Louisville 2-2 last weekend, but most importantly they’re finding ways to score goals when necessary. The Reign dropped five goals on the Red Stars in their fourth match of the season, and they still have a number of important contributors working their way back from injury.

3. Washington Spirit

Standings: 4th (2-0-3)

The Spirit have been turning in consistent performances as new head coach Mark Parsons balances long-term projects with win-now results. Washington is still undefeated in regular season play, opening the year with a solid win over the Reign and proceeding to accumulate three draws in five games, most recently in a strong attacking performance against Chicago. The Spirit aren’t a finished project yet, but they look much steadier after a tough 2022.

4. San Diego Wave

Standings: 3rd (3-2-0)

San Diego looks as sharp as ever but has suffered two losses in its last three games, dropping them to fourth in this week’s power rankings. The Wave have had no problem scoring goals, but their end-to-end style of soccer sometimes leaves them vulnerable on the counterattack, as in their most recent 3-1 loss to last-place Orlando this past weekend.

Lynn Williams has scored five goals in seven games across all competitions for Gotham. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

5. Gotham FC

Standings: 5th (3-2-0)

Gotham isn’t immune to a rough defensive performance, but last year’s NWSL basement dwellers look like a team ready to compete in the playoffs in 2023. Lynn Williams has proved to be an excellent pick-up on the team’s frontline, especially as Midge Purce has struggled with injuries early in the season. The return of midfielder Allie Long has similarly provided a boost, with Gotham picking up key points early in the season.

6. Kansas City Current

Standings: 7th (2-3-0)

Don’t look now, but after an 0-3 start and the dismissal of head coach Matt Potter, the Current are on the rise. Kansas City has rattled off two straight regular season wins behind the excellent play of Debinha, who is growing into her role with her new club with every passing game. The Current are also benefiting from the growth of rookie defenders Gabrielle Robinson and Croix Soto, as they take more risks to spring Hailie Mace out wide and get the attack cooking.

7. Houston Dash

Standings: 6th (1-1-3)

The Dash have looked like a solid playoff contender through the first five games of the season, but they occasionally play like they’re saving their best performances for the future. Houston’s attacking three of María Sánchez, Diana Ordoñez and Ebony Salmon are still gelling, though their underlying stats indicate that the goals are coming soon.

8. Angel City FC

Standings: 9th (1-2-2)

Sometimes it’s hard to tell exactly what version of Angel City you’re going to get on any given evening. With the addition of Julie Ertz to the midfield, and Alyssa Thompson looking very comfortable in attack, the team has the ability to go toe-to-toe with anyone. But they can also let results slip from their grasp, especially against deeper sides.

9. Racing Louisville

Standings: 10th (0-1-4)

Racing Louisville’s 2-2 draw against OL Reign this past weekend showcased the highs and lows of a team still figuring itself out. Savannah DeMelo has continued her excellent run of form in her second year, but a mistake also earned her a red card, allowing the Reign to come storming back with Louisville down a player. Racing Louisville is making the right strides, but the final piece could be a greater sense of discipline.

USWNT defender Emily Fox leads a North Carolina team that has dealt with a series of strange twists. (Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports)

10. North Carolina Courage

Standings: 8th (2-3-0)

The Courage have looked competitive in every game they’ve played thus far, with all but one match decided by one goal or less. They’ve also had a very weird couple of weeks with weather delays, picking up a quick win over Houston on Friday after the match was abandoned following 52 minutes of play. North Carolina has a talented squad, but their rhythm has been disrupted through the first month of the season.

11. Orlando Pride

Standings: 12th (1-4-0)

The Pride have had a rough go of it in the early days of the 2023 NWSL season, but they put all their attacking woes behind them with a 3-1 win over top-four side San Diego last weekend. Orlando’s depth and defensive switches at key points in games have been issues thus far. But the ideas are there when everything is clicking, and they’ll feel a little bit of weight off their shoulders after picking up their first win.

12. Chicago Red Stars

Standings: 11th (1-3-1)

It’d be easy to blame Chicago’s struggles on the loss of Mallory Swanson to a knee injury, and she is missed every time they take the pitch. But the surprise has been the Red Stars’ issues on defense, with the team giving up two or more goals in every game outside of their most recent draw with the Spirit. The team’s three-back system has been strained with new midfield personnel in front of them, begging the question of whether the Red Stars need to adjust their formation to avoid a longer skid.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

A lot has happened since the Las Vegas Aces won the 2022 WNBA championship. Superstars Breanna Stewart and Candace Parker left their teams in free agency, and the 2023 WNBA draft introduced future stars like Aliyah Boston and Diamond Miller to the league.

The 2023 season is just a month away, but before we dive into the slate of games, let’s take a look at who came out of free agency and the draft best positioned to succeed. Here are the offseason power rankings for all 12 teams.

1. New York Liberty

2022 regular-season finish: 7th (16-20)

The Liberty didn’t need to do anything in the draft to win the offseason — and they couldn’t, really, with one third-round pick. Their work in free agency was enough to give New York the top spot in the offseason power rankings. They traded for 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones before signing two-time champion Breanna Stewart and WNBA assists leader Courtney Vandersloot. That’s two former MVPs and an elite facilitator. Plus, the Liberty managed to do all of that without giving up Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney or Marine Johannès.

2. Las Vegas Aces

2022 regular-season finish: 1st (26-10)

Like the Liberty, the Aces had already cemented themselves atop this list thanks to a major free-agency signing. Picking up Candace Parker puts the defending champions in position to win another title. They also signed standout defender Alysha Clark and added roster depth, which was their lone weakness last season. The one knock against the Aces this offseason is the investigation into their handling of Dearica Hamby, who was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in January. Hamby, the two-time Sixth Player of the Year, accused the Aces in an Instagram post of mistreating her due to pregnancy. The organization later came under more scrutiny for allegations that they circumvented the salary cap.

3. Washington Mystics

2022 regular-season finish: 5th (22-14)

While the Liberty and the Aces had splashy offseasons, the Mystics made subtler moves. They return a core that includes Elena Delle Donne, Ariel Atkins, Natasha Cloud and last year’s No. 3 draft pick, Shakira Austin, who is only going to get better after a great rookie campaign. In this month’s draft, the Mystics selected Stephanie Soares with the fourth pick and then traded her to Dallas in favor of 2024 and 2025 draft picks. That move could pay off for the future, as the next two draft classes are loaded with talent. Later in the second round of the 2023 draft, Washington selected South Florida guard Elena Tsineke, who has a lot of upside and could end up being a steal.

The Sparks put together a strong offseason, including trading for Dearica Hamby. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

4. Los Angeles Sparks

2022 regular-season finish: 11th (13-23)

While other teams dominated free agency headlines, the Sparks quietly had an excellent offseason. Los Angeles re-signed Nneka and Chiney Ogumike, traded for Hamby and veteran guard Jasmine Thomas, and lured Azurá Stevens away from Chicago in free agency. The Sparks continued their string of good moves by drafting a playmaking point guard in South Carolina’s Zia Cooke with the 10th pick. They also grabbed Monika Czinano in the third round. The Iowa center could end up being a solid contributor off the bench and a complement to the Sparks’ less traditional bigs.

5. Atlanta Dream

2022 regular-season finish: 10th (14-22)

The Dream started their offseason by signing an elite guard in Allisha Gray, giving them one of the best backcourt duos in the league alongside 2022 Rookie of the Year Rhyne Howard. Then they arguably had the best draft in the league, picking up two versatile players in Stanford guard Haley Jones and South Carolina forward Laeticia Amihere. The Dream are clearly building for the future, with a young core that can be dominant in a few seasons’ time. The one thing Atlanta is missing is a reliable big. Currently, they are relying on the development of players like Naz Hillmon to fill the hole in the post.

6. Indiana Fever

2022 regular-season finish: 12th (5-31)

Drafting Aliyah Boston is an automatic win, as the South Carolina star has the potential to be an all-time great for the Fever. Also in this year’s draft, Indiana added Grace Berger, Taylor Mikesell, LaDazhia Williams and Victaria Saxton. The 2022 draft included Destanni Henderson, Emily Engstler and NaLyssa Smith, three other players full of promise. After stocking up on college talent, the Fever have a young roster with potential for the future that could use veteran complements. The Fever already have one experienced guard in Kesley Mitchell, and in February they signed 2019 All-Star Erica Wheeler, who can contribute right away.

After drafting Maddy Siegrist with the third pick, the Wings made some head-scratching decisions. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

7. Dallas Wings

2022 regular-season finish: 6th (18-18)

The Wings made a flurry of moves in the offseason and during the draft — some good, some bad and some puzzling. Starting with the good, Dallas traded for Diamond DeShields and re-signed Teaira McCowan. Losing Marina Mabrey to Chicago could be considered bad, but it allowed Dallas to acquire DeShields. The bad and confusing stems from the way the Wings used their plethora of draft picks. After selecting NCAA leading scorer Maddy Siegrist at No. 3, the Wings questionably drafted two shooters in Lou Lopez-Sénéchal and Abby Meyers while also trading for Stephanie Soares, who is coming off an ACL injury. That pick itself wouldn’t be considered bad if it wasn’t for the uncertainty the Wings already have at the post position.

8. Phoenix Mercury

2022 regular-season finish: 8th (15-21)

The best thing to happen to the Mercury this offseason wasn’t a free-agency signing or a draft pick. It was the safe return of Brittney Griner from Russia, where she was wrongfully imprisoned on drug charges. The fact that Griner wants to play in 2023 is a bonus for the Mercury. They also re-signed Diana Taurasi and Sophie Cunningham in free agency, and added Moriah Jefferson and Michaela Onyenwere, both of whom will be important while Skylar Diggins-Smith is on maternity leave.

9. Minnesota Lynx

2022 regular-season finish: 9th (14-22)

The Lynx were quiet in free agency, which was a concerning start to the offseason. But a successful draft has them in a good position to build for the future. With the No. 2 pick, Minnesota selected Maryland guard Diamond Miller, a player who is pro-ready and can contribute for years to come. They also added Maia Hirsch, a 6-foot-5 French prospect with guard skills and massive upside, UConn’s Dorka Juhász and South Carolina’s Brea Beal.

Seattle selected a pro-ready guard in Tennessee's Jordan Horston with the No. 9 pick. (Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

10. Seattle Storm

2022 regular-season finish: 4th (22-14)

The Storm had a rough offseason, losing Sue Bird to retirement and Stewart to free agency. That left Jewell Loyd as the piece around which to build their roster. Other than retaining agent Ezi Magbegor and acquiring Kia Nurse, things were quiet in Seattle. The Storm found success at the draft, picking up Jordan Horston with the ninth pick and South Florida’s Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeau, another intriguing prospect, in the second round.

11. Connecticut Sun

2022 regular-season finish: 3rd (25-11)

The Sun’s offseason also started poorly as they lost head coach Curt Miller and star player Jonquel Jones. But they did re-sign Brionna Jones, who was a priority in free agency, and they return a talented core of Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Natisha Hiedeman. The Sun also drafted LSU guard and national champion Alexis Morris, who fell to the second round of the draft but could end up being a major steal in the 2023 class.

12. Chicago Sky

2022 regular-season finish: 2nd (26-10)

Whether or not coach James Wade wants to admit it, the Sky are rebuilding. They lost Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, Azurá Stevens, Allie Quigley and Emma Meesseman after last season. Chicago did re-sign Rebekah Gardner and acquired Marina Mabrey and Isabelle Harrison, but they certainly lost more than they added. The Sky also had a quiet draft outside of selecting Virginia Tech guard Kayana Traylor, who has the skills to make an immediate impact despite falling to the late second round.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

There have been plenty of surprises so far in the NCAA Tournament, with two No. 1 seeds going down in the second round, and Ole Miss and Miami playing David to Stanford and Indiana’s Goliath. But one thing that hasn’t been surprising is the depth of talent in the March Madness field.

Building off our preseason top-25 player rankings, here are the top 25 players to watch in the Sweet 16, beginning Friday in Seattle and Greenville, S.C.

1. Aliyah Boston, South Carolina

The Gamecocks senior will remain the queen of March Madness until someone unseats her. In last year’s tournament, she was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player while leading her team to a national title. This season, Boston is on track to do it again. The senior is averaging 13.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.8 assists per game. Her numbers may not look as good as others on this list, but that’s because Boston knows how to play within South Carolina’s system. Despite the Gamecocks’ plethora of talent, she remains the center of everything they do.

2. Caitlin Clark, Iowa

At this point, everyone knows Caitlin Clark. The Iowa junior is averaging 26.8 points, 8.6 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game. Her game is polished and well-rounded, and she does everything from full-court passes on the fastbreak to long-range 3-pointers. After the Hawkeyes lost to Creighton in the second round of last year’s tournament, Clark has been playing with a chip on her shoulder. In Round 1, she recorded 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds, and she followed that up with 22 points, 12 assists, three steals and three rebounds in Iowa’s second-round win over Georgia.

3. Angel Reese, LSU

In LSU’s second-round win over Michigan on Sunday, Reese had a game indicative of what she’s done for the Tigers all season. She finished with 25 points, 24 rebounds and six blocks — a stat line so insane, it seems fake. But that’s the energy Reese has brought to the court every game since transferring from Maryland. She’s averaging 23.8 points, 15.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season.

Rickea Jackson (David Yeazell/USA TODAY Sports)

4. Rickea Jackson, Tennessee

Tennessee had its share of struggles to start the season, and Jackson was a part of that. The talented senior missed multiple games based on a coach’s decision as the Vols worked through their issues, but both she and the team came out of it stronger. Now, Jackson has Tennessee looking downright dangerous. A projected top-5 draft pick before she decided to use her fifth year of NCAA eligibility, Jackson is a three-level scorer who, at 6-foot-2, is a defensive mismatch for opponents. She’s averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 54.9 percent from the field.

5. Diamond Miller, Maryland

Who could forget Miller’s one-legged jump shot to top Notre Dame earlier in the season? That game-winner is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Miller’s talent. Averaging 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game this season, Miller is the key to Maryland’s success. She’s at her best when attacking the basket and using her 6-3 frame to score around defenders, often using a lethal step-through to do so.

6. Alissa Pili, Utah

Utah surprised a lot of people this season, and so did Pili, who transferred in from USC. But the 6-2 forward is no longer under the radar. The junior, who averages 21 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game is a matchup nightmare for defenses. She scores with strength and finesse on the inside and can step past the 3-point line, where she shoots at a 42.4 percent clip. Defensively, Pili’s tall, stocky frame is a challenge for fellow posts. She can outmuscle opponents but is also quick on her feet, making for a dangerous combination.

7. Maddy Siegrist, Villanova

The senior forward has been nothing short of spectacular for the Wildcats this season. She can create off the cut or with the ball in her hands, averaging an NCAA-leading 29.2 points per game. Siegrist is difficult to contain, as she scores from the inside and outside, shooting 51.9 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. Both are season-highs for her four seasons as a Wildcat. Siegrist is capable of major scoring outbursts, such as a career-high 50 points against Seton Hall earlier this year.

Hailey Van Lith (Aaron E. Martinez/USA TODAY NETWORK)

8. Hailey Van Lith, Louisville

Van Lith is already a top player, but in the NCAA Tournament, the guard takes things to another level. After averaging 19.5 points per game during the season, that number increased to 23.5 over the first two games of the tournament. At 5-7, the guard is undersized but makes up for it with her competitive drive. She has a solid handle and is quick off the bounce, allowing her to get to the rim or to pull up from midrange — and that’s where she really shines, showing off her athleticism and a quick release.

9. Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech

One of the four finalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Award, Kitley has propelled the Hokies to 13 straight wins, a No. 1 seed and a Sweet 16 appearance. The 6-6 center is averaging a double-double with 18.2 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest. The senior does her scoring in the paint with a variety of moves, from face-up jumpers to quick spins to the hoop. Kitley attacks the basket with limited dribbles, a skill that allows her to use her height advantage while limiting turnovers.

10. Azzi Fudd, Connecticut

UConn’s star guard spent most of the season on the bench with a knee injury, but when Fudd plays, she is elite. Her return means the Huskies have a shot at their 15th straight Final Four. The top recruit in 2021 has struggled with injuries over her first two seasons, but Fudd’s skills have more than lived up to the hype. Before getting injured, Fudd was averaging 24 points per game on 54 percent shooting from the field and 43.4 percent from beyond the arc. In UConn’s win over Baylor in the Round of 32, Fudd looked like her old self, leading the Huskies with 22 points.

11. Sonia Citron, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish guard has been a key piece to the team’s success all season, but with Olivia Miles and Dara Mabrey out with injuries, Citron becomes even more important. The sophomore is averaging 14.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 steals on the season, impacting the game in a variety of ways. On offense, Citron is sneaky without the ball, always finding a cutting lane to the hoop. When the ball is in her hands, Citron can shoot (41.4 percent from 3) or attack off the bounce, with both dribble and post moves in her arsenal.

12. Charisma Osborne, UCLA

The Bruins welcomed the top recruiting class in the country this season, and while the talented young players settled in, Osborne was the guiding force. Now, the rest of the team is experienced, but Osborne remains the best player on the floor. She’s averaging 15.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Osborne was also outstanding in the Round of 32, where her 36 points, eight rebounds and four assists propelled UCLA past Oklahoma and to a Sweet 16 appearance.

13. Quay Miller, Colorado

Miller has spent the season under the radar, but now that the Buffs are in the Sweet 16, it’s time she gets her shine. The 6-3 senior is listed as a center but can play multiple positions. That versatility makes Miller a matchup nightmare for opponents, as she can post up guards and take bigs out of the paint by shooting 3s. Miller is averaging 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds on the season and was particularly dominant against Duke, finishing with 17 points, 14 rebounds and three assists in the upset.

Zia Cooke (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

14. Zia Cooke, South Carolina

On a team stacked with talent, Cooke is the leading scorer with 15.3 points per game. The senior guard has experience in big games, after helping her team to a national title last season. In 2021-22, she averaged 10.7 points per game, but with Destanni Henderson now playing in the WNBA, Cooke took on a larger scoring role as a senior. Her ability to dismantle defenses off the dribble creates movement and openings for her teammates, or opportunities for Cooke to score herself. And with talented post players like Boston and Kamilla Cardoso drawing attention in the paint, Cooke provides balance to the Gamecocks offense with her ability to knock down 3-pointers at a 36.1 percent clip.

15. Georgia Amoore, Virginia Tech

Kitley may be the focus of Virginia Tech’s offense, but Amoore is the player who makes everything happen. The point guard is a skilled passer who makes smart decisions — her 5.1 assists per game and 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio are proof of that. But Amoore is also an excellent scorer, and she’s been huge in the postseason. She scored 24 points in the ACC tournament semifinals, and then 25 in the final. In the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Amoore notched 22 and 21 points, respectively.

16. Jordan Horston, Tennessee

The Tennessee senior does a little bit of everything for her team, averaging 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. At 6-2, Horston is a strong guard who can use her size and strength to attack the basket. Once she breaks down her primary defender, Horston can elevate and finish or make a play for one of her teammates. Horston also performs well under pressure, like in the SEC semifinals when she finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Vols’ upset of LSU.

Aaliyah Edwards with the Big East tournament MVP trophy (M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

17. Aaliyah Edwards, UConn

UConn has had ups and downs this season, largely due to injuries, but throughout the chaos, Edwards has been a constant. She’s played every game for the Huskies (just one of two players to do so) and has been consistent in her role. Edwards is averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game for a near double-double, while also shooting 58.9 percent from the field. Edwards can catch in the post or create for herself on the dribble. She also extends defenses with a solid midrange game.

18. Gianna Kneepkens, Utah

The sophomore guard has been crucial to Utah’s inside-outside game thanks to her ability to knock down shots. Kneepkens is shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc and averages just over two 3-pointers per game. But Kneepkens is more than just a shooter — she’s an all-around scorer who finished her high school campaign with 3,704 points per contest, a testament to her scorer’s mentality.

19. Kamilla Cardoso, South Carolina

Cardoso may come off the bench for South Carolina, but she would be a starter on almost any other team in the country. The 6-7 junior is averaging 9.7 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, providing a major spark for the Gamecocks’ second unit. She’s also averaging two blocks per game, making her presence felt on the defensive end. With Cardoso playing as South Carolina’s sixth woman, opponents get zero reprieve when Boston goes to the bench.

20. Monika Czinano, Iowa

Czinano is a perfect complement to Clark. She’s averaging 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, while making an efficient 67.5 percent of her attempts. A true post, Czinano is at her best with her back to the basket, where she knows how to seal and read her defender. Czinano has good hands and a high basketball IQ, making her an easy target for Iowa’s guards.

21. Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

Ohio State’s senior guard is a rarity in college basketball in that she’s her team’s best offensive and defensive player. Last season, she was an All-Big Ten honoree and a member of the All-Defensive Team. Sheldon missed most of this season with a leg injury, but she came back in time for the postseason, when Ohio State needed her most. The point guard finished with 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, as well as the game-winning shot, to lead her team past North Carolina in the Round of 32.

22. Alexis Morris, LSU

The senior guard has played for three teams — Baylor, Rutgers and Texas A&M — before finding a home at LSU, where she is thriving. Morris is her team’s second-leading scorer at 14.7 points per game, and she also distributes the ball and runs the LSU offense. She’s averaging four assists and 1.9 steals per game, both career-high marks that prove her worth on both sides of the ball. While Reese attracts a lot of attention inside, Morris helps free her up with her playmaking and scoring abilities.

Haley Cavinder (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

23. Haley Cavinder, Miami

The senior guard transferred to Miami after three years at Fresno State in hopes of playing in an NCAA Tournament. Cavinder is a big part of why the Hurricanes are in the Sweet 16. She’s averaging 12.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Cavinder is undersized at 5-6, but she makes up for it with athleticism and a high basketball IQ. The guard can create for herself or others and is sharp from long range, where she shoots 40.9 percent.

24. Taylor Mikesell, Ohio State

With Jacy Sheldon out for most of the season, the Buckeyes counted on Mikesell, who is playing 35.4 minutes per game — the most of her five seasons in the NCAA. She leads Ohio State in scoring at 17.2 points per game, making 3.2 3-pointers per game and shooting 40.9 percent from beyond the arc.

25. Angel Baker, Ole Miss

Baker did a little bit of everything in Ole Miss’ upset of Stanford in the Round of 32, helping her team to the Sweet 16. She’s an excellent defender, something the Rebels pride themselves on, and the team’s leading scorer at 14.9 points per game. Baker contributes in other ways as well, recording 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

With the release of Week 1 rosters, the NWSL offseason is almost behind us. The league’s 10th regular season kicks off with a doubleheader on Saturday and many teams looking different than when the 2022 season ended thanks to roster movement through trades, the draft and the NWSL’s first free-agency period.

The race for the Shield and the six playoff spots was tighter than ever in 2022. As the 2023 season begins, let’s evaluate where every team stands in the preseason power rankings now that rosters are nearly settled.

1. OL Reign

2022 regular-season finish: 1st

The Reign didn’t have to do much in the offseason after winning the NWSL Shield in 2022 and returning one of the most balanced rosters in the league. The midfield of Rose Lavelle, Jess Fishlock and Quinn remains one of the most formidable in the NWSL. The team also added more defensive depth with the acquisition of Emily Sonnett and attacking firepower with the trade for second-year forward Elyse Bennett.

The Reign’s biggest question mark comes during the World Cup period, when they lose multiple players to their national teams. But longtime manager Laura Harvey has proven to have a remarkably steady hand during a regular-season campaign.

2. San Diego Wave

2022 regular-season finish: 3rd

The Wave are poised for another excellent year after exceeding all expectations in their inaugural season. They balanced their midfield with the free-agency acquisition of Danny Colaprico, and they return a number of top internationals that will make them difficult to break down throughout the regular season.

San Diego will deal with World Cup absences, but the team’s depth has also improved, giving them the opportunity to stay in the Shield race until World Cup performers return.

3. Kansas City Current

2022 regular-season finish: 5th

The Current had arguably the most ambitious offseason in the NWSL, acquiring more midfield assets and a few defensive reinforcements. If new signee Debinha is ready and available for much of the season before the World Cup, Kansas City could be at the forefront of the Shield race by July.

They will, however, have to contend with slight roster imbalance. Sweden international Hanna Glas will shore up the defense, but the team targeted the backline less than other areas in the offseason. The Current’s formation might help them compensate for getting their strongest signings on the pitch together, but it will be a delicate balance for head coach Matt Potter.

Sophia Smith returns to Portland in 2023 after a breakout year for club and country. (Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports)

4. Portland Thorns

2022 regular-season finish: 2nd

The Thorns rival the Reign for steadiness in their roster construction with top performers at every position, led by 2022 NWSL MVP and Final MVP Sophia Smith. While the Thorns will lose a number of key contributors during the World Cup, their depth will be formidable, just as it was in 2019.

The only question lingering for the Thorns is the new coaching staff. After the departures of Mark Parsons and one-year manager Rhian Wilkinson, former assistant Mike Norris now leads the club. Even if he is a revelation in his first year, the inconsistency at the top might slow down the reigning champions.

5. Houston Dash

2022 regular-season finish: 4th

The Dash had a slightly less flashy offseason than their 2022 quarterfinal opponent, Kansas City, but they go into 2023 as solid as ever. New manager Sam Laity brought in record-breaking rookie scorer Diana Ordoñez from North Carolina to pair with rising England forward Ebony Salmon on the frontline, and the perennially underrated Katie Lind (neé Naughton) will continue to anchor Houston’s defense.

6. Orlando Pride

2022 regular-season finish: 10th

The Pride made a number of savvy business moves in the offseason and, as a result, could significantly improve upon their 10th-place finish in 2022. The team is going young, with No. 3 draft pick Emily Madril likely starting at center back and other rookies getting serious time in the attack during preseason. Under new permanent head coach Seb Hines, the Pride appear to be forging a new identity on the field, and they could surprise more than one opponent this year.

No. 1 draft pick Alyssa Thompson scored in her Angel City preseason debut this month. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

7. Angel City FC

2022 regular-season finish: 8th

Angel City could be one of the biggest boom-or-bust projects in the NWSL. They still appear to be without star forwards Christen Press and Sydney Leroux, and their preseason friendly against Club América showed a lack of depth at outside back and in the defensive midfield. On the other hand, No. 1 draft pick Alyssa Thompson should be electric, center-back Sarah Gorden returns from an ACL tear, and other reinforcements during the season could create just the right mix in Los Angeles.

8. Chicago Red Stars

2022 regular-season finish: 6th

The player departures from Chicago at the beginning of the offseason were jarring, as the team lost the core of its midfield to free agency. To compensate, the Red Stars drafted well, picked up quality talent on the waiver wire and made a key addition with the signing of Brazil midfielder Julia Bianchi. Tierna Davidson and Casey Krueger should return to bolster the starting defense, and breakout star Mallory Swanson is good enough to push the team up the standings on her own.

9. Racing Louisville

2022 regular-season finish: 9th

Don’t be surprised if Racing Louisville is in the playoff hunt for the first time in team history in 2023. The additions of Carson Pickett and Abby Erceg immediately upgraded the defense, and former Tigres forward Uchenna Kenu has the ability to shine in the NWSL. New players join an already balanced midfield, and Racing will be losing fewer players to the World Cup than some other clubs.

10. Gotham FC

2022 regular-season finish: 12th

There’s no doubt that Gotham will be better in 2023 than they were in 2022, but to what extent depends on their ability to find enough cohesion to overtake the teams in front of them. Lynn Williams will be the key to new manager Juan Carlos Amorós’ style of play, and the additions of Yazmeen Ryan and rookie Jenna Nighswonger should greatly improve the team’s midfield. The Gotham of 2022 looked better than their record on paper showed, so progress may just be a matter of gelling on the field.

Trinity Rodman scored four goals for the Spirit last season after winning 2021 Rookie of the Year. (Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports)

11. Washington Spirit

2022 regular-season finish: 11th

Washington’s attack is still one of the most talented in the NWSL, with Ashley Hatch and Trinity Rodman backed by key playmaker Ashley Sanchez. Those mainstays struggled in 2022 as managerial dysfunction and a punishing schedule set the Spirit adrift. New head coach Mark Parson made some bold moves in the offseason, but his approach to the draft and Washington’s defense makes it seem like the team is preparing to contend in 2024 rather than immediately.

12. North Carolina Courage

2022 regular-season finish: 7th

Never count out the Courage, but based on their offseason alone, they have a lot of work to do to contend for championships again. The loss of Debinha will loom large over the early part of the season, while new pick-up Emily Fox will need to do a lot of heavy lifting on defense to make up for the departures of Abby Erceg and Carson Pickett. North Carolina seemed to go against common wisdom with a hyper-specific draft approach, and now the pressure lies with head coach Sean Nahas to forge a new team.

Claire Watkins is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @ScoutRipley.

Once again, the top two teams in the JWS college basketball Top 25 remain intact. South Carolina and Stanford are the teams to beat, but the rest of the rankings got a shake-up this week.

Kansas and Virginia make their first appearances, while Notre Dame jumps two undefeated teams for the No. 3 spot. Let’s evaluate where the top teams stand before the holiday break. You can find our last top-25 rankings here.

1. South Carolina (11-0)

2. Stanford (11-1)

Cameron Brink, Hannah Jump and Haley Jones are one heck of a trio, and they make this Stanford team hard to top. They have three completely different but effective games, all of which were clicking in a 77-70 win over Tennessee on Sunday. Brink had 21 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks to lead the way, while Jones and Jump recorded 19 points each. The Cardinal were down 58-53 heading into the fourth quarter, but the No. 2 squad didn’t panic. Instead, they chipped away at the deficit and closed out the game on a 24-12 run to seal the victory. Maturity will help this team down the stretch, and the win was indicative of their ranking.

3. Notre Dame (9-1)

The AP poll still has Notre Dame at No. 5, but a 63-52 win over Virginia Tech on Sunday cemented my belief that Notre Dame deserves the No. 3 spot. I’d previously considered moving the Fighting Irish over Ohio State and Indiana, and this week’s win convinced me — strangely enough because Notre Dame looked flat-out bad for most of the contest. Even at its worst, Notre Dame showed it is still good enough to beat another top-10 opponent. In crunch time, the Irish didn’t let their previous mistakes define the game. Olivia Miles had a near triple-double (16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists), and Notre Dame ended the game on a 23-9 run to secure the win.

4. Ohio State (11-0)

5. Indiana (11-0)

6. UConn (8-2)

7. North Carolina (9-1)

8. NC State (11-1)

9. Virginia Tech (10-1)

10. Utah (10-0)

The Utes have won in a lot of different ways this season, from blowouts to two-point victories. In their one win over a ranked opponent on Nov. 16, they scored a whopping 124 points against Oklahoma and showed how dangerous this team can be. Offensively, they average 93 points per game with a roster full of scorers. Alissa Pili leads the team with 20.7 points per game, followed by Gianna Knnepkens and Jenna Johnson with 14.4 and 12.6, respectively. Then, Kennedy McQueen and Issy Palmer each average 10 points per game, while Teya Sidberry and Dasia Young come in at just under seven. That all adds up to a balanced squad that’s hard to beat — and fun to watch.

11. UCLA (11-1)

12. Iowa (9-3)

13. Iowa State (8-2)

14. Arkansas (13-0)

The Razorbacks haven’t played the toughest schedule, but an undefeated record and wins over Kansas State and Creighton are enough to draw attention. The bottom half of these rankings are a mess, with a lot of solid teams in consideration. Arkansas (No. 17 in the AP Poll) slides into my top 15 after going on the road Saturday and beating Creighton. The Razorbacks led for most of the contest and weathered every Creighton run. Samara Spencer led the way with 26 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the 3-point line, and UConn transfer Saylor Poffenbarger recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Arkansas has two tough upcoming matchups against AP No. 16 Oregon and No. 10 LSU.

15. Maryland (9-3)

16. LSU (12-0)

17. Oregon (9-1)

18. Kansas (10-0)

A 77-50 victory over then-No. 12 Arizona on Dec. 8 thrust Kansas into the rankings, but there is a lot to like about this Kansas team aside from the upset win. The Jayhawks have one of the most cohesive offenses in the country. They run everything through center Taiyanna Jackson but don’t discriminate when it comes to making the extra pass and taking the best available shot. They understand how to use their spacing and lanes to attack the hoop, which makes for a smooth offense with a lot of contributors. And when they need a basket, the Jayhawks still have a go-to scorer in Jackson. That’s the perfect recipe for offensive success.

19. Gonzaga (11-2)

20. Michigan (10-1)

21. Creighton (8-2)

The Bluejays have wins over South Dakota State, Nebraska and Villanova — all of whom were ranked when they played — and another over a solid Drake team. But with losses to AP No. 25 St. John’s and No. 21 Arkansas, it’s hard to know what to make of this squad. They have all the tools for another deep run in the NCAA Tournament, but right now they only seem to show up part of the time. Their next two games are against Stanford and UConn, which should provide a much clearer picture.

22. Arizona (9-1)

The Wildcats have a lot to work out. They shot well in a 75-54 win over Baylor on Saturday (47.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc), but a lot of that had to do with the Bears — who are not a top-25 team in my mind — not defending the ball well. Arizona had open shots and they knocked them down, but there wasn’t a lot of flow to the offense as players still appear to be figuring out their roles.

I was, however, more impressed with their defense. The Wildcats held Baylor to 32.8 percent shooting from the field and 25.1 percent from long range, while forcing 19 turnovers. They never allowed Baylor to get comfortable, and their defense led to 18 fast-break points. Running the floor after creating turnovers is a clear strength of this team. Now, they have to find more rhythm in the halfcourt.

23. Oklahoma (9-1)

24. Marquette (9-2)

25. Virginia (12-0)

The last spot on this list is always a toss-up for me. This week, I considered St. John’s, Villanova, Tennessee, Baylor and Kansas State, but the undefeated Cavaliers have earned the spot thanks to consistent performances. Minnesota and Penn State have been their toughest opponents so far, but UVA will have the chance to prove itself in a tough ACC slate against teams like Virginia Tech, NC State, North Carolina and Notre Dame. I don’t expect UVA to stay undefeated, but they are capable of an upset or two.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The 2022-23 high school basketball season is officially underway, and varsity teams across the country are looking to make a name for themselves on a national stage.

At Just Women’s Sports, we’ve ranked the top 25 teams from coast to coast, each one of them poised to make waves in their home state and beyond.

1. Sierra Canyon (Calif.), 7-0

Head coach: Alicia Komaki

The Trailblazers finished last season as California state champions and ranked in the national top 5. They return 11 of 12 players from last year’s roster, including two Team USA gold medalists, 2023 USC signee JuJu Watkins and 2024 forward Mackenly Randolph. The team also boasts 2024 guard Izela Arenas and 2023 Northwestern signee Crystal Wang. This season, Sierra Canyon’s motto is “Good to Great,” as the Trailblazers look to follow up last year’s successful campaign with even more hardware.

2. Sidwell Friends (D.C.), 4-0

Head coach: Tamika Dudley

The Quakers took care of business last season, going undefeated and capturing the SCI National Championship. In 2022-23, Sidwell Friends begins a new chapter after graduating top recruit and current UCLA freshman guard Kiki Rice. Led by seniors Jadyn Donovan (Duke signee) and Khia Miller (East Carolina signee) as well as juniors Kendall Dudley, Leah Harmon and Zania Socka-Nguemen, Sidwell Friends is a threat to win it all once more.

3. Etiwanda (Calif.), 9-0

Head coach: Stan Delus

There’s no shortage of elite basketball programs in the state of California, and Etiwanda is strong proof of that. The Eagles’ smallest margin of victory so far this season is 23 points, with eight of their nine wins coming on neutral courts. As a public school, Etiwanda has some of the nation’s top talent: Class of 2024 recruit Kennedy Smith and 2025 recruit Puff Morris are two of California’s most exciting players.

4. Montverde Academy (Fla.), 10-0

Head coach: Special Jennings

The reigning GEICO High School Nationals champion, Montverde carries a rich basketball tradition into the 2022-23 season. The Eagles are long, fast and talented, thanks to a highly touted roster that includes South Carolina signee Sahnya Jah, Mississippi State signee Mjracle Sheppard and 2024 paint powerhouse Lety Vasconcelos.

5. La Jolla Country Day (Calif.), 9-0

Head coach: Terri Bamford

Three names to remember: Breya Cunningham, Jada Williams and Tajianna Roberts. Williams and Cunningham won a gold medal in Hungary this summer as part of Team USA’s U17 squad and recently signed with Arizona as part of coach Adia Barnes’ 2023 freshman class. Roberts is a well-rounded 2024 recruit with her best basketball ahead of her.

6. Hopkins (Minn.), 5-0

Head coach: Tara Starks

Hopkins has won eight state championships since 2004, including in 2022, and is the alma mater of UConn star and 2021 National Player of the Year Paige Bueckers. This season, all eyes will be on Stanford signee Sunaja Agara and Michigan signee Taylor Woodson.

7. South Grand Prairie (Texas), 10-4

Head coach: Brion Raven

While it might seem odd to place a team with four losses at No. 7, South Grand Prairie suffered those losses to Sierra Canyon (57-47), Sidwell Friends (61-49), Montverde Academy (45-42) and La Jolla Country Day (47-44). The Warriors have ranked wins over Conway (Ark.) and St. John’s College (D.C.) and more than a handful of double-digit victories. The losses might hurt now, but the Warriors will be all the better for it later.

8. St. John Vianney (N.J.), 0-0

Head Coach: Dawn Carpell

St. John Vianney will open its highly anticipated season on Dec. 17 against Bishop McNamara (Md.). This season, the Lady Lancers will start three players bound for Division I schools: Holy Cross signee Janie Bachmann, NC State signee Zoe Brooks and Bucknell signee Ashley Sofilkanich. After winning 32 games last season — and falling only once, to Sidwell Friends on a neutral court — St. John Vianney knows exactly what it takes to reach the top.

9. Incarnate Word Academy (Mo.), 5-0

Head coach: Dan Rolfes

The 12-time state champion Red Knights are experts at controlling the pace of a game, regardless of where they’re playing. Led by Nebraska signee Natalie Potts and Illinois State signee Brooke Coffey, they have already overwhelmed their opponents at home in St. Louis and at the recent ‘Iolani Classic tournament in Hawaii. No team in the nation has a longer winning streak than Incarnate Word, with 72 straight victories.

10. Conway (Ark.), 8-1

Head coach: Ashley Hutchcraft

Any time a roster boasts a Gatorade State Player of the Year, it’s safe to say they’re in good hands. The Wampus Cats have the gift of Stanford signee Chloe Clardy as they embark on a revenge tour of sorts after an upset loss brought their outstanding 2021-22 season to an end. Conway lost its undefeated status at the start of December in a 15-point loss to South Grand Prairie and ultimately finished the season 29-2.

11. Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.), 4-0

Head coach: Christina Raiti

Though the Crusaders are only a few games into the season, they have two of the most impressive wins so far — a close victory over Bishop McNamara (Md.) and a 30-point rout of IMG Academy (Fla.). On Saturday, Long Island Lutheran will look to pad its resume in another tough matchup against Paul VI (N.J.). Then in January, they’ll face both St. John Vianney and Montverde Academy. If the Crusaders, led by 2024 star guard Kayleigh Heckel and power forward Kate Koval, can win most (or all) of those games, they’ll have a case for being a top-5 team in the country.

12. South Bend Washington (Ind.), 12-0

Head coach: Steve Reynolds

Indiana’s top team remains undefeated after taking care of business against Michigan juggernaut West Bloomfield. South Bend Washington’s schedule is packed with fierce competition around the Midwest, and this squad is more than up to the task. The Panthers return two of their starters from last season’s state championship team in Purdue signee Rashunda Jones and Maryland signee Amiyah Reynolds, both of whom are sure to make waves next year in the Big Ten.

13. Sacred Heart (Ky.), 5-0

Head coach: Donna Moir

The Valkyries of Sacred Heart Academy are not only the best team in Kentucky, but are also guaranteed to put on a show. Top 2025 recruit and the reigning Kentucky Gatorade Player of the Year, ZaKiyah Johnson, is one of the most impressive players in the nation. This season, the Valkyries are already playing with patience and a high defensive IQ.

14. Lone Peak (Utah), 4-1

Head coach: Nancy Warner

Utah’s defending state champions suffered their sole loss so far this season in a 64-56 battle with Sierra Canyon — a matchup that will surely benefit both teams as their seasons progress. Lone Peak’s potential is through the roof as they return their entire roster from last season. Pay special attention to BYU signee Kailey Woolston and 2024 guard Shawnee Nordstrom, both of whom can impact games in big ways.

15. St. John’s College (D.C.), 6-1

Head coach: Jonathan Scribner

If you must lose a game, a tight one to South Grand Prairie (Texas) isn’t a bad way to do it. Duke signee Delaney Thomas leads a talented Cadets roster that also features 2024 standout guard Kyndal Walker. The gauntlet of a DMV high school basketball schedule is a tall order, but St. John’s College can count on depth and balanced scoring in the journey ahead.

16. Duncanville (Texas), 9-3

Head coach: LaJeanna Howard

One of two Texas 6A district teams on this list, Duncanville girls’ basketball is consistently one of the strongest programs in the country. Due to a three-year probation stemming from recruiting violations, the Pantherettes are unable to participate in postseason play. If not for that, the 11-time state champions would have a real shot at another title.

17. Hoover (Ala.), 12-0

Head coach: Krystle Johnson

The Lady Bucs have hoisted four state title trophies since 2017, and coach Krystle Johnson has won more than 92 percent of her 200-plus games at the helm. Thanks to its high-level discipline and impressive offense, Hoover will be a problem for any team on its schedule. North Carolina signee Reniya Kelly is a major key to their success, which already includes three separate wins over teams with a 5-star player.

18. Hazel Green (Ala.), 10-0

Head coach: Timothy Miller

The Trojans are nearing a 70-game win streak, and they’re ready for more. For half a decade now, Hazel Green has been one of Alabama’s best programs, collecting five consecutive Class 6A state titles. Four of the Trojans’ five starters return this year, including Class of 2024 forward Leah Brooks, so a sixth title may be in the cards.

19. DeSoto (Texas), 9-3

Head coach: Andrea Robinson

The other half of the dangerous Texas 6A district one-two punch, DeSoto has a young roster this season but a host of talented players in the Class of 2026. DeSoto’s three losses so far this season — against Duncanville, Montverde Academy and Summer Creek (Houston) — were all decided by single digits. After two consecutive Texas 6A state titles, the Eagles need to focus on building a strong foundation in this new era.

20. Centennial (Nev.), 1-1

Head coach: Karen Weitz

Centennial boasts seven consecutive state championships and one of the Class of 2023’s most skilled players in Montaya Dew. Her speed and ability to finish from anywhere on the court made her a highly coveted recruit prior to her choice to sign with Arizona. Throw 2024 guards Kaniya Boyd and Danae Powell into the equation, and the Bulldogs are well on their way to success despite losing their season opener to Lone Peak.

21. Paul VI (N.J.), 0-0

Head coach: Oscar Hidalgo

Paul VI has every reason to be confident about this season, including returning most of its roster from last year. Power forward Mikayla Young and Notre Dame signee Hannah Hidalgo, a top-5 recruit in the Class of 2023, are the lone seniors on an Eagles squad that could do some damage. Last season, Hidalgo averaged 21.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 5.4 steals per game and was named the Olympic Conference Player of the Year. The Eagles fell in last season’s state title game, but a shot at redemption seems likely.

22. Archbishop Mitty (Calif.), 6-1

Head coach: Sue Phillips

Not many coaches have experienced the height of success like Sue Phillips has. Her teams are well-rounded and prepared for whatever gets thrown their way. After winning a gold medal this past summer as the coach of the U.S. U17 team, Phillips returns to San Jose with a loaded roster — including first-time Team USA player Morgan Cheli — and a chance at the California state title.

23. Lake Highland Prep (Fla.), 7-1

Head coach: Al Honor

Division I coaches across the nation have their eyes on Central Florida-based Lake Highland Prep, and for good reason. After a nine-point loss to Example Academy Red (Ill.) in theirsecond game, the Highlanders have bounced back with notable wins over St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.) and Miami Country Day (Fla.). Class of 2024 guards Lexi Blue and Jada Eads lead the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game and 12.4 points per game, respectively, and 2023 guard Eleecia Carter (12.1 points per game) is not far behind.

24. Clovis West (Calif.), 11-0

Head coach: Craig Campbell

Clovis West has managed to win most of its 11 games comfortably so far this season. Until a single-point win over Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.) on Dec. 8, Clovis West had defeated each of its opponents by a margin anywhere between 21 and 77 points. After its successful run at the recent East Coast tournament, Clovis West has put California programs on notice.

25. Bishop McNamara (Md.), 2-2

Head coach: Frank Oliver Jr.

Frank Oliver Jr. and the Mustangs will look to make their fourth-consecutive appearance in the Maryland state title game. After opening the season with a 25-point loss to Sidwell Friends, and then suffering a two-point heartbreaker to Long Island Lutheran, Bishop McNamara will need to focus on its long-term goals moving forward. In the cutthroat Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, it won’t get any easier.

Caroline Makauskas is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers a variety of sports on her TikTok @cmakauskas. Follow her on Twitter @cmakauskas.

The women’s college basketball world was chaotic last week, which makes the second JWS top-25 ranking of the season a challenge — but a good challenge. Parity in the NCAA is at an all-time high, and that makes for great competition and thrilling games.

There’s plenty of room for debate, but at least South Carolina and Stanford have delivered each week. After the top two, the hierarchy gets messy. Here’s where things stood two weeks ago in our inaugural top-25 rankings.

1. South Carolina (8-0)

2. Stanford (10-1)

3. UConn (6-1)

The Huskies are coming off a loss to Notre Dame on Sunday, but Azzi Fudd missed most of the contest after appearing to injure her knee. They’ve beaten a lot of good teams so far this season — Texas, NC State and Iowa — and Notre Dame is a team that I can see in the Final Four. For those reasons, I’m keeping them at No. 3.

4. Ohio State (8-0)

If you’re an Ohio State fan, you’re most likely wondering why I’m keeping the undefeated Buckeyes below a UConn squad that just lost. When you look at these teams head-to-head, UConn (with Fudd) is the better team. Ohio State’s best win so far came over Louisville, a team that is underperforming. But if Ohio State keeps its undefeated streak going, with wins over strong Big Ten competition, this team will find itself in the top three.

5. Notre Dame (7-1)

What a crazy week for the Fighting Irish. Three days after losing to Maryland on a buzzer-beater by Diamond Miller, they handed UConn their first loss of the season. Against Maryland, they lacked any sort of inside presence and couldn’t hit from long range. Miller needed a heroic 31 points to lead her team to victory. Against UConn, both Lauren Ebo and Maddy Westbeld had breakout games. The fact that the Irish could correct their errors so quickly and defeat a top team bodes well for them going forward.

6. Indiana (9-0)

The Hoosiers were dominant against North Carolina in a 87-63 win on Thursday. Led by Mackenzie Holmes in the paint (25 points) and Sydney Parrish from the outside (24 points), the Hoosiers shot 53.3 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from beyond the arc. But without Grace Berger, who was injured against Auburn, there will be ups and downs for this team as they learn to make up for the loss of their floor general. Their 65-61 win over unranked Illinois on Sunday was less convincing, but overall the Hoosiers are performing in the face of adversity.

7. Iowa State (6-1)

8. Virginia Tech (8-0)

I didn’t come away from Virginia Tech’s 59-56 win over Tennessee feeling particularly confident in the Hokies. They turned the ball over 16 times and shot just 33.3 percent from the field, while Elizabeth Kitley disappeared offensively against the defense of Tamari Key. The Hokies need her to perform better if they’re going to make a deep run this season. That being said, they managed to get a win without an injured Ashley Owusu (finger), and they got contributions from a lot of different players to make up for Kitley’s quiet game. The Hokies are undefeated, and they won’t need to wait long to prove themselves, with Notre Dame awaiting on Dec. 18.

9. North Carolina (6-1)

10. NC State (7-1)

After getting blown out by UConn on Nov. 20, the Wolfpack responded in a big way against their next ranked opponent, defeating Iowa 94-81 on Dec. 1. Caitlin Clark went off for 45 points, but NC State contained everyone else and used a balanced offensive attack to get the win. Four of five starters finished in double figures, and Saniya Rivers had a breakout game off the bench, scoring 22 points. The South Carolina transfer is a dynamic talent who can contribute in many ways. Her career-high game is a good omen for the Wolfpack moving forward.

11. Arizona (7-0)

12. UCLA (8-1)

13. Oregon (6-1)

14. Creighton (7-1)

15. Maryland (7-3)

My early concerns about the Terrapins have turned out to be true: They go where Diamond Miller takes them. Against Notre Dame, her 31 points and impressive buzzer-beating shot sealed a victory, But against Nebraska a few days later, she was held to 13 points, and despite an excellent game from sophomore Shyanne Sellers (21 points, eight rebounds), the Cornhuskers came away with a 90-67 upset. That’s the second-highest points total for Nebraska this season, raising concerns about Maryland’s defense as well.

16. Iowa (6-3)

17. Michigan (9-0)

18. Utah (7-0)

19. LSU (9-0)

What to do with LSU? I think the Tigers are good, but with their strength of schedule (or rather, lack thereof), it’s hard to tell. Yes, they are undefeated, but they have yet to play a ranked team or tough unranked team. Southeastern Louisiana played the Tigers close in an eight-point loss on Nov. 29, which is less than ideal for an LSU squad trying to prove itself despite the weak schedule. I won’t feel comfortable putting the Tigers in the top 15 until they win in the SEC.

20. Baylor (6-2)

21. Gonzaga (7-2)

22. Louisville (5-4)

Coach Jeff Walz has described this team as “Jekyll and Hyde,” but lately, it’s been a lot more Hyde. A loss to Ohio State makes sense, and losses to South Dakota State and Gonzaga aren’t season ruiners, but a 67-49 defeat to Middle Tennessee on Sunday is downright bewildering. I’ll need to see a lot more from the Cardinals going forward, and another loss to an unranked opponent will likely drop them from the rankings entirely.

23. Villanova (7-2)

24. Oklahoma (7-1)

25. Marquette (7-2)

Marquette has two quality wins over Texas and Gonzaga plus an overtime loss to UCLA. After they were upset by Seton Hall this week, I thought about dropping the Golden Eagles from the top 25, but their resume is good enough to keep them in. I also considered Texas for the last spot this week, and the Longhorns are out of chances after losing to South Florida with Rori Harmon in the lineup.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

With an upset- and overtime-filled week of basketball behind us, it’s officially time to unveil our first NCAA rankings of the 2022-23 season.

From South Carolina retaining its top spot with a comeback win over Stanford to UCLA breaking into the top 25, here’s where things stand heading into the end of November.

1. South Carolina (4-0)

2. Stanford (5-1)

The Cardinal’s 76-71 loss to South Carolina exposed a few weaknesses, but Stanford still went to overtime with the No. 1 team and nearly won. That’s enough to keep the No. 2 ranking in my book. I went into the weekend expecting the winner of the Stanford-South Carolina matchup to slide into the No. 1 spot and the loser to sit at No. 2. And despite a game that was sloppy and chaotic at times, Stanford and South Carolina remain the top two teams in the country — though the next squad on this list is breathing down their necks, somewhat surprisingly.

3. UConn (3-0)

Three games into the season, the Huskies have already faced more than their fair share of adversity. First, Paige Bueckers tore her ACL in August and was declared out for the season. Then Ice Brady went down with a season-ending injury, Aaliyah Edwards broke her nose, Caroline Ducharme was limited with neck stiffness and Dorka Juhász broke her thumb.

The latest in their string of misfortunes came on Sunday, when associate head coach Chris Dailey collapsed before tipoff of their game against NC State and was taken off the court on a stretcher. Dailey was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon, the school announced, but the incident visibly shook the team at the time. Despite the scare, the Huskies stormed past NC State 91-69. Azzi Fudd continues to emerge as a bonafide star — she had 32 points on Sunday, tying Maya Moore for the most points in back-to-back games against top-10 opponents in UConn history — and UConn has two statement wins to start the season.

4. Iowa State (4-0)

5. Ohio State (4-0)

6. Notre Dame (4-0)

7. Indiana (5-0)

After losing Ali Patberg, Nicole Cardaño-Hillary and Aleksa Gulbe to graduation, the Hoosiers had a lot to replace going into the 2022-23 season. So far, despite the hurdles, they look like an offensive juggernaut. Between Grace Berger, Mackenzie Holmes and newcomer Yarden Garzon, the Hoosiers have started the season 5-0, topping opponents by an average of 35 points, including a 79-67 win over then-No. 11 Tennessee on Nov. 14.

8. Louisville (4-1)

9. Texas (1-3)

It’s hard to keep a 1-3 team in the top 10, but I can’t judge Texas too harshly on its losses. The Longhorns are a completely different team without Rori Harmon running the show, and so far they haven’t had their sophomore point guard due to a foot injury. The loss to unranked Marquette on Saturday is harder to justify, but falling to Louisville and UConn in close games would have been possible even with Harmon on the floor. When she’s back, I expect the Longhorns to start winning big. In the meantime, they have to beat Rutgers and Princeton this week, or they’ll get bumped further down the rankings.

10. North Carolina (4-0)

11. Virginia Tech (3-0)

12. Iowa (4-1)

Keeping Texas in the top 10 with three losses and putting Iowa at No. 12 with just one probably doesn’t make sense at first glance, but I have my reasons. Texas, as I mentioned, will be an entirely new team once Harmon returns. Iowa on the other hand, seems to be the same team as last season — the kind that gets upset early in the NCAA Tournament. Caitlin Clark is a Player of the Year frontrunner, and Monika Czinano is an elite college post player, but Iowa needs to find more offensive weapons if it wants to have more success this season.

Drake took the Hawkeyes to the brink on Nov. 13, and Kansas State pulled off the upset days later because of Iowa’s lack of balance. I need to see something from the Hawkeyes’ supporting cast before I feel comfortable putting them in the top 10.

13. Maryland (4-1)

14. NC State (4-1)

15. Arizona (4-0)

16. Creighton (4-0)

It’s a rare feat for a tournament darling to come out the next season and prove it has staying power, but that’s exactly what Creighton is doing. The Bluejays have two convincing top-25 wins over South Dakota State and Nebraska, and they are 4-0 to start the season. December will be telling for the Bluejays, as they have matchups with Villanova, Stanford and UConn.

17. Baylor (3-1)

18. LSU (5-0)

The Tigers could very well be a top-10 team, but with the level of competition they’ve played to start the season, it’s hard to rank them among squads that have multiple top-25 games to their names. Maryland transfer Angel Reese has been a star for LSU, averaging 23.2 points and 14.8 rebounds per game, and the Tigers have a solid supporting cast around her. But here’s the hang up: LSU has played Bellarmine, Mississippi Valley State, Western Carolina, Houston Baptist and Northwestern State in the first few weeks of the season. The Tigers don’t play a top-25 team until Jan. 30, when they take on Tennessee.

19. Oklahoma (4-1)

20. Tennessee (2-3)

What is going on with this team? The Vols’ talent level is sky high with Tamari Key, Jordan Horston, Rickea Jackson, Jasmine Powell and depth down the bench. And yet, Tennessee is 2-3. The Vols have lost to good teams — Ohio State, Indiana and UCLA — but they look completely out of sync and, at times, apathetic on the court. Talent only goes so far when the players can’t figure out how to blend their skills together. Something has to change, or this is going to be a long season for the Vols.

21. Oregon (3-0)

22. UCLA (5-0)

The Bruins had a case when they topped a solid South Dakota State team on Saturday, but with their dominant 80-63 win over Tennessee on Sunday, they officially earned a top-25 ranking. With Charisma Osborne leading the way and young stars Kiki Rice and Gabriela Jaquez continuing to get comfortable, UCLA should get better with every game.

23. Gonzaga (4-1)

I’ve had my eye on the Bulldogs since the preseason, and with their win over No. 6 Louisville on Saturday, they deserve a spot in the rankings. In a lot of ways, Gonzaga didn’t even play that well against the Cardinals. They had 29 turnovers in the contest but pulled it together in overtime, outscoring Louisville 18-6. If the Bulldogs can solve their turnover problem, they could be a very dangerous team as the season progresses.

24. Utah (4-0)

25. Drake (2-1)

After nearly knocking off Iowa in overtime, the Bulldogs got a top-25 win, defeating No. 22 Nebraska on Saturday in impressive fashion, 80-62. Katie Dinnebier is leading the way with 16 points per game, but Drake plays great team basketball. Four of their starters average over 12 points per game, and the fifth is just behind them at 9.3. It’s hard to stop a team with that many weapons.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Another NCAA early signing period has come to a close, and with it, a handful of women’s basketball programs stood above the rest in their pursuit of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2023.

Just Women’s Sports has compiled its list of the 15 best recruiting hauls from this year’s cycle. Click here to learn more about these individual signees, with our most recent list of the top 25 players in the Class of 2023.

1. LSU

Kim Mulkey’s name will forever be remembered among the game’s most successful coaches, and for good reason. Her capacity to not only develop but also recruit elite players has made her programs perennially relevant.

Last year — the first season in Mulkey’s tenure in Baton Rouge — LSU managed to have one of the most popular student sections in women’s college hoops. The community is fired up about the Tigers, a bonus for any potential commit.

With the Class of 2023, Mulkey brings in four more players to be excited about, including two in our top four: No. 1 overall recruit Mikaylah Williams, a 6-foot-1 guard, and No. 4 recruit Aalyah Del Rosario, a 6-foot-6 post player. Quick wing Janae Kent (Ill.) and 5-7 point guard Angelica Velez, a teammate of Del Rosario at The Webb School, round out what is truly the most impressive signing class in the country.

2. Arizona

Wildcats coach Adia Barnes has managed to sign three five-star recruits, all of whom eagerly await their opportunity to bring Arizona to the top of the PAC-12 and raise a banner or two.

Next fall, the Wildcats will welcome La Jolla Country Day’s Breya Cunningham, a 6-4 forward from California, 5-8 point guard Jada Williams (Calif.) and Montaya Dew, a 6-2 forward from Nevada. The West Coast consistently promises high-level talent, and Barnes bringing in a few of the region’s best bodes well for Arizona’s future.

3. South Carolina

Four little birdies have flown into the nest, and South Carolina keeps on rolling. After 2022’s national championship season, during which the Gamecocks held on to the top spot in the AP Top 25 from start to finish, it’s no surprise that South Carolina has cleaned up on the recruiting trail.

Coach Dawn Staley, whose ability to reload a roster has transformed the program over the last decade, doesn’t promise immediate minutes. In her transparency, she attracts players who understand and accept the Gamecocks’ culture — a five-star recruit may have to wait her turn at first but will eventually earn the opportunity to make an impact.

No. 11 overall recruit Chloe Kitts, a 6-2 forward from Florida, in-state point guard Milaysia Fulwiley, 5-10 guard Tessa Johnson (Minn.) and 6-1 wing Sahnya Jah (Fla.) are next up for South Carolina.


4. Notre Dame

If anyone understands the winning pride and tradition of Notre Dame women’s basketball, it’s coach Niele Ivey. A player on the 2001 national champion team and the associate head coach for the 2018 title team, Ivey understands how to elevate the Fighting Irish from every angle.

Look no further than a quick glance at the 2023 signing class, which boasts 5-7 point guard Hannah Hidalgo (N.J.), Canadian sensation Cassandre Prosper, a 6-2 forward, and dynamic guard Emma Risch (Fla.).

5. Duke

The Kara Lawson era of Duke women’s basketball is gaining steam. Coach Lawson secured the highest-ranked Duke signee in the modern recruiting era in Sidwell Friends’ Jadyn Donovan, a 6-foot guard from Washington, D.C. Donovan, who’s used to sharing the court with stars like Kiki Rice and Kendall Dudley, is the type of commitment the Blue Devils need to eventually make the waves in the ACC and beyond.

Add in 6-2 forward Delaney Thomas (D.C.) and 5-9 guard Oluchi Okananwa (Mass.), and Duke has put together an impressive recruiting class.

6. UConn

Playing for coach Geno Auriemma at UConn isn’t exactly a hard sell. His all-time record of 1,149 wins and 150 losses speaks for itself, with 22 Final Fours and 11 national championships over the course of 36 seasons. Rebecca Lobo, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Breanna Stewart are among the alumni that Auriemma has produced, and his current roster includes names like Aaliyah Edwards, Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd.

So who’s next? Look no further than this year’s crop of 2023 signees — 5-10 point guard KK Arnold (Wis.), 5-10 guard Ashlynn Shade (Ind.) and 6-2 forward Qadence Samuels (Md.).

7. Stanford

Coach Tara VanDerveer has perfectly curated the Stanford standard, with players who lead the way both on the court and in the classroom and are bursting with basketball IQ and exhibit relentless work ethic. It’s a system that allows willing players to grow and thrive, evolving to reach their fullest potential.

Both 5-11 wing Courtney Ogden (Ga.) and 5-11 guard Sunaja Agara (Minn.) committed to the Cardinal in 2021. They were joined by Chloe Clardy, a 5-9 guard from Arkansas who gave her verbal commitment this year. In picking up three of the most intriguing players in the 2023 cycle, VanDerveer continues the long line of Stanford commits ready to raise the bar.

8. North Carolina

Coach Courtney Banghart appears to be exactly who the Tar Heels needed to lead the charge on their path to return to the Final Four, with three winning seasons under her belt already. North Carolina’s 2023 signing class reflects a continued desire to reach the top.

Ciera Toomey, a 6-3 post from Pennsylvania, and 5-5 point guard Reniya Kelly (Ala.) could prove to be a top-tier duo, thanks to Toomey’s graceful post navigation and Kelly’s court vision. Also joining the signing class are 6-3 post Rylee Grays (Tex.) and 6-1 forward Laila Hull (Ind.).

9. Maryland

Coach Brenda Frese recruited three creative, difficult-to-guard playmakers to join the Terrapin family. Each of the signees — 6-foot guard Amiyah Reynolds (Ind.), 6-foot wing Riley Nelson (Md.) and 6-1 wing Emily Fisher (Ill.) — can take care of the ball and find a way to score, even in high-pressure situations.

The Maryland faithful need some stability in what has become an uncertain period for the program. The signings of Reynolds, Nelson and Fisher should soothe some worries and reassure fans that, even in an increasingly competitive Big Ten, Maryland still looms large.

10. NC State

NC State coach Wes Moore doesn’t have a single freshman on the 2022-23 roster, so the Wolfpack were due for another impressive recruiting cycle. After four consecutive Sweet 16s, NC State fell just short in last season’s Elite Eight, falling to UConn in double overtime. While fans were surely disappointed, the positives were clear as day — there’s momentum in Raleigh.

Moore built upon that with a dynamic, four-piece signing class that possesses a high ceiling. The Wolfpack won big with signings from 6-3 post Mallory Collier (Tenn.), 5-11 guard Laci Steele (Okla.) and 6-2 forward Maddie Cox (Tex.). But few recruits in the Class of 2023 have stock rising as quickly as Zoe Brooks, a 5-10 guard from New Jersey. Her well-rounded skill set would provide efficiency to any roster, and NC State will be all the better with her contributions.

11. USC

The Trojans have never successfully recruited a player as highly touted as Sierra Canyon’s Juju Watkins (Calif.), the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2023. Just as a player like A’ja Wilson contributed to the now-red hot recruiting trail of South Carolina, Watkins’ talent has the potential to return USC to the juggernaut it once was.

Coach Lindsay Gottlieb, now in her second season, appears to be steering the Trojans in the right direction. Also committed to USC is 5-6 point guard Malia Samuels, the top recruit in the state of Washington.

12. Texas

In his first two seasons with the Longhorns, coach Vic Schaefer has delivered Texas to its first back-to-back Elite Eight appearances since the 1980s. A proven recruiter from his time with Texas A&M (2003-12) and Mississippi State (2012-20), Schaefer now bears the weight of taking Texas to the next level and adding another National Championship to the trophy case. What has not been accomplished since Jody Conradt’s 1985-86 roster seems within reach.

By signing in-state guards Madison Booker and Gisella Maul and bolstering the post with another in-state prospect in Abbie Boutilier — the tallest player in Texas women’s basketball history at 6-9 — Schaefer keeps his eyes on the prize.

13. Iowa State

After last year’s Sweet Sixteen run, Iowa State continues to rear its head as a contender for the Big 12 title. Longtime coach Bill Fennelly can rest easy knowing the future is bright in Ames, Iowa as he embarks on his 26th season with the Cyclones.

Iowa State picked up signings from outstanding passer Addy Brown, a 6-2 wing from Kansas, 6-2 forward Jalynn Bristow (Texas) and 6-3 post Audi Crooks (Iowa) — all three of whom are fierce competitors fresh off impressive summers on the AAU circuit.

14. Oregon

There’s something special about Oregon women’s basketball — coach Kelly Graves finds big personalities with even bigger talent and allows them to shine together in Eugene.

Once again, the Ducks have plenty to look forward to in this year’s group of signees. In-state product Sofia Bell, a 6-1 wing, Sammie Wagner (Texas), another 6-1 wing who flipped from Texas, and 6-3 forward Sarah Rambus round out the 2023 recruiting class.

15. Alabama

Crimson Tide coach Kristy Curry is building something unprecedented in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Last season, the Crimson Tide made their first NCAA tournament appearance — and subsequent Round of 32 — of the century.

Her 2022-23 roster is made up almost entirely of upperclassmen and graduate transfers, so Alabama needed a few signees to continue recent upward momentum. In this 2023 cycle, Curry secured reliable frontcourt depth in 6-3 post Essence Cody (Ga.) and in-state product Naomi Jones, while also bringing in 6-foot guard Reychel Douglas (N.C.) to solidify the backcourt.

Caroline Makauskas is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers a variety of sports on her TikTok @cmakauskas. Follow her on Twitter @cmakauskas.