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NCAA women’s basketball players think South Carolina will win it all

South Carolina takes on Texas in the Elite Eight of the 2021 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament in San Antonio. (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

With the NCAA basketball season approaching, The Athletic sent out a survey to players of all Power 5 conference teams to assess their opinions on a number of topics.

Thirty-three players responded to questions ranging from who they would want most as a teammate and a coach, to which team they think will win it all.

Of those 33, five said they’d want UConn’s Paige Bueckers most as a teammate. Stanford’s Haley Jones followed close behind with three votes. Oregon’s Sedona Prince and South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston rounded out the top four with two votes and one vote, respectively.

The majority of respondents said they’d want to play for South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who garnered eight total votes. Staley recently signed a contract extension with the university worth $22 million, making her one of the highest-paid coaches in women’s basketball.

Arizona’s Adia Barnes earned five votes, while UConn’s Geno Auriemma was the only other coach to receive multiple votes with four. Notably, Baylor’s Nicki Collen — who recently made the jump to college from the WNBA — earned one vote.

When asked to make a prediction for the national champion, 14 players picked South Carolina. The Gamecocks begin the season No. 1 on the AP’s preseason poll.

Defending champion Stanford and UConn each received four votes, while Maryland received two. Interestingly, one player picked DePaul as the team to win it all even though the Blue Demons have not appeared in any major preseason rankings.

The NCAA basketball season tips off Nov. 9 with a top-five matchup between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 5 NC State.