Oklahoma softball cemented its status as one of the greatest programs in women’s college sports, winning its third straight Women’s College World Series title, its fifth in the last seven years and its seventh overall.
The Sooners’ performance this season – which included an NCAA-record 53 consecutive victories and counting – begs the question: Who are the top dynasties in women’s college sports? While this list is by no means exhaustive, Just Women’s Sports takes a look at 10 programs in addition to Oklahoma who can count themselves among the best.
LSU is the most successful team in the history of NCAA Division I women’s track and field, with 25 total titles — 14 at the outdoor championships and 11 at the indoor championships. The Tigers ran off 11 straight outdoor titles from 1987-97 and five straight indoor titles from 1993-97. Their most recent championship came in 2008 at the outdoor championships.
UNC women’s soccer might be the most successful women’s team in NCAA history, across all sports, with a capital P period. Just six other programs have multiple titles in women’s soccer, with none of them even reaching double digits. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have 21 of them – all of which have come under head coach Anson Dorrance, which makes him the third-most national title-winning coach in NCAA history.
UNC won the first three national titles in NCAA women’s soccer history starting in 1982, before George Mason upset the Tar Heels in 1985. But in 1986, UNC was back on top, reeling off nine consecutive national titles thanks to the likes of Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly.
Starting with the 1980s, there hasn’t been a decade in which North Carolina hasn’t won a national title, although the program’s last one came back in 2012. Since then, Florida State has turned itself into a perennial contender with three national championships, while UCLA has won two.
In the sport of women’s lacrosse, two teams have established themselves as dynasties: Maryland and Northwestern. Maryland has won 14 NCAA titles, the most in the history of the sport, with their most recent coming in 2019. From 1995 to 2001, the team rattled off seven straight titles, then won four titles in a six-year span from 2014 to 2019. All but one of those titles came under former coach Cindy Timchal and current coach Cathy Reese.
23-0‼️ NATIONAL CHAMPIONS‼️ pic.twitter.com/bSuCoFEHvb— Maryland Women's Lacrosse (@MarylandWLax) May 28, 2017
23-0‼️ NATIONAL CHAMPIONS‼️ pic.twitter.com/bSuCoFEHvb
While Oklahoma may be creeping up on UCLA with its seven titles, the Bruins still have won the most in NCAA softball history with 12. The winners of the first-ever Women’s College World Series, they haven’t stopped winning since then, including their run of three straight titles from 1988 to 1990 – a feat only matched by Oklahoma. The Bruins’ last title came in 2019.
UConn is always in the conversation when it comes to contenders for the NCAA women’s basketball championship. The Huskies won their first title in 1995, and since then they have been in a battle with Tennessee for the best program in NCAA history. UConn rattled off three titles in a row from 2002-04, then four in a row from 2013-16. The 2016 run stands as the program’s most recent championship.
The Huskies also dominate the regular season, with many of the game’s best – from Diana Taurasi to Sue Bird – creating a force to be reckoned with. From 2014-17, the Huskies rattled off a win-streak of 111 games. They also compiled a regular-season conference winning streak of 145 games, which ended in 2022.
4 YEARS! 4 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS! #HISTORYMADE pic.twitter.com/ldQ4gqHco8— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) April 6, 2016
4 YEARS! 4 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS! #HISTORYMADE pic.twitter.com/ldQ4gqHco8
A perennial powerhouse known for churning out Olympians, Stanford has won an NCAA-leading 11 titles, including five straight from 1992-96. The Cardinal also won three in a row from 2017-19. Recently, Virginia has made a name for itself, winning the last three NCAA titles to start its own swimming dynasty.
It’s been awhile since Georgia has topped the gymnastics world, but once upon a time the Bulldogs did just that, rattling off five straight gymnastics titles from 2005-09 and claiming an NCAA-leading 10th title in 2009. Oklahoma has started to creep up on the Georgia dynasty, winning six titles in the last 10 years, including the last two titles.
When talking about dynasties, UNC field hockey has to be counted among the best. The Tar Heels have won four of the last five national titles to reach 10 total, the most in NCAA history (Maryland has the second-most with eight). Their 10th title capped off an undefeated season, and the Tar Heels also went undefeated in 2018 and 2019 en route to their first national titles since 2009.
The 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕 way to end the season 😎🏆Highlights from our 10th NCAA Championship ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ztqWpkh0Wc— UNC Field Hockey (@UNCFieldHockey) November 20, 2022
The 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒇𝒆𝒄𝒕 way to end the season 😎🏆Highlights from our 10th NCAA Championship ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ztqWpkh0Wc
The other major player in lacrosse, Northwestern returned to dominant form this season, rattling off 21 consecutive wins to take its eighth national title under Kelly Amonte Hiller and its first since 2012. Bolstered by Tewaaraton Award winner Izzy Scane, the Wildcats dominated in the title game. They won 18-6 over Boston College, which had made six straight appearances in the national championship game. Amonte Hiller’s eight national championships as a head coach are tied for the most ever in NCAA women’s lacrosse.
For close to four decades, Pat Summitt led a dominant Lady Vols team that won eight national titles. The legendary coach herself held an 84.2% winning percentage. The only team to have appeared in all 36 NCAA tournaments, Tennessee also has made 34 Sweet 16s, including their most recent in 2023. Their last title came in 2008, although coach Kellie Harper has started to build the program back to its former glory.