As the new year approaches, the college basketball season is heating up, and so is the player of the year race.

The Naismith Player of the Year award recognizes the best players in NCAA men’s and women’s basketball. Several players on the 50-player watchlist have lived up to their billing. One in particular has done even more.

Here are Just Women’s Sports’ contenders in the player of the year race heading into 2024, in no particular order.

Caitlin Clark, Iowa

Not much more needs to be said here. Last year’s Naismith Award winner is putting on an even better show this season. At the time of publication, Clark averages a league-leading 30.5 points per game and is seventh in NCAA Division I in assists (7.4 per game). At her current pace, Clark could overtake Kelsey Plum’s college scoring record by February. And while she’s a high scorer, she also spreads the wealth around to her team.

In what could be her final year in the NCAA, Clark has also stepped up her defensive play. She’s gathered 91 defensive rebounds through 13 games played, and her turnover rate is at a career low.

For the second year in a row, Clark may well be the best all-around choice for player of the year.

(Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Alissa Pili, Utah

Few players on this list have taken their team on their backs the way Pili has. When she shoots, she rarely misses. When she defends, she gives her all.

Pili averages just under 25 points per game, good for fourth in D-I. She also has a 69.7 shooting percentage, the fifth-highest in the NCAA. And she is making 56.5% of her 3-pointers, which ranks first in the NCAA.

Pili’s WNBA potential has been debated. But after the show she’s been putting on this season, there’s no question that she could thrive in the pros. Her size, scoring ability and athleticism make her an ideal draft candidate in 2024 — and perhaps a player of the year candidate as well.

(Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

JuJu Watkins, USC

The freshman guard is already making a huge impact for the Trojans. In the seven-week old college basketball season, Watkins has taken home six Pac-12 freshman of the week honors. And for good reason.

Watkins is averaging a staggering 26.8 points per game, placing her at second in D-I as a first-year player. She shoots over 46% from behind the arc, and she’s snagged 62 rebounds in her nine games played.

Before finishing her first semester of college, Watkins has cemented herself as a regular in USC’s starting lineup and as a favorite for national freshman of the year honors. And if she keeps it up, she could set her sights even higher.

(M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Paige Bueckers, UConn

Bueckers started the 2023-24 season with something to prove. The redshirt junior guard had less than 50 college games under her belt due to injuries — a good amount lower than many other players in her year. But she hit the court without missing a beat.

The 21-year-old averages almost 19 points per game, shoots 48% from the three-point line and leads her team in points this season. Bueckers also averages more than three assists per game, and she’s snagged 23 steals in 12 games. She is stepping up her defensive game as well. So far, she’s batted a team-leading 16 blocks as a guard and she’s collected 50 defensive rebounds.

If she continues to heat up despite the pressure of leading a depleted UConn squad, she could play her way into the national award conversation.

(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Aneesah Morrow, LSU

Morrow is another player whose all-around skillset is serving her well early in the 2023-24 slate. Her versatility is allowing her to shine at LSU after her transfer from DePaul in the offseason.

The 20-year-old forward makes her presence known on the scoresheet, averaging 18.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. But her excellence continues on the other side of the ball. Morrow leads the Tigers with 34 steals and 17 blocks in 13 games played.

Through many challenges LSU has faced this season, including a prolonged absence for star Angel Reese and the removal of former starter Kateri Poole from the team, Morrow has taken everything in stride and remained a consistent and reliable player for the Tigers.

Honorable mentions:

  • Cameron Brink, Stanford
  • Aaliyah Edwards, UConn
  • Deja Kelly, UNC
  • Ta’Niya Latson, Florida State
  • Jacy Sheldon, Ohio State

No.7 LSU topped Virginia at the Cayman Islands Classic, 76-73, with help from its transfers and younger players. 

With two starters out of their lineup — Angel Reese and Sa’Myah Smith — head coach Kim Mulkey and the Tigers had to look elsewhere for scoring production. And Aneesah Morrow delivered. 

Morrow knocked down 37 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in her biggest game at LSU yet. 

“That’s one of my prouder victories in all of my coaching career,” LSU head coach Kim Mulkey said to “Under the circumstances this team has had to deal with, to win that game and have players playing out of position and ask them to do things that they’re not comfortable with, just a gutsy performance.”

The transfer from DePaul notched her second-consecutive double-double in a Tigers uniform after she collected 28 points and 10 rebounds against Niagara on Friday. Morrow is used to earning double-doubles — she only had 53 in her two seasons with DePaul.

Hailey Van Lith, a transfer from Louisville, also had a successful night for LSU. She was the only other Tiger to score in double-digits, scoring 12 points for her squad. 

“Aneesah and Hailey bring experience to our team right now,” Mulkey said to Tiger Rag. “They’re experience having played at the college level is helping us right now. What they don’t know about our system, they know about the toughness of the game at this level.”

Angel Reese enters the 2023-24 NCAA basketball season as the clear star for defending champion LSU. But she’s more than happy to share the spotlight.

After the Tigers’ run to the NCAA Tournament title in April, they added two star transfers in Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith and DePaul’s Aneesah Morrow. They enter the upcoming season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and as odds-on favorites to win another championship.

While Van Lith and Morrow could pull some attention (and some points and rebounds) from Reese, Reese is willing to take that trade-off.

“I wanted a superteam,” Reese told The Athletic. “They want greatness and I want greatness. They want a national championship and so do I. So why not do it all together?”

Reese joined LSU as a transfer from Maryland last offseason, and her first season with the Tigers outpaced every expectation. Reese set a single-season record with 34 double-doubles, including in all six NCAA Tournament games, en route to the program’s first national title.

Two questions hang over her senior season: Can LSU do it again with their reloaded roster? And is this Reese’s final hurrah, or will she stick around for an extra year?

She toyed with the possibility in a recent social media post, though she later added: “I love stirring the pot.” And she has talked about her WNBA ambitions, so while she has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what she will do next is anyone’s guess.

“Personally, I aspire to make it to the WNBA,” Reese said in September. “While I do have the option for another year, I do want to get out of college, start life outside of school, and pursue my WNBA dreams. It’s been a challenging but rewarding four years, and I’m excited to continue improving at LSU and beyond.”

Kim Mulkey welcomes the target on the backs of her LSU Tigers.

For the first time in program history, LSU basketball is ranked No. 1 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll. With the Tigers entering the season as the defending national champions, that was somewhat expected. But the pressure doesn’t bother them.

“We understand that with a championship and with the preseason ranking that we really have a target on our back,” Mulkey told Baton Rouge’s WBRZ. “We get that, we welcome it to an extent in that we keep it in perspective.”

The 61-year-old head coach called it “great recognition” for LSU and for the program. The No. 1 ranking is something to be celebrated, but the team isn’t putting to much stock into it.

For Mulkey’s part, she doesn’t talk much to her teams about being ranked, saying it’s the next game that matters most. Rankings make headlines, but championships make the history books.

So even though the Tigers enter the season with a loaded roster, including Angel Reese and star transfers Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow, they still need to put in the work to live up to their sky-high expectations, Mulkey said.

“I’ve got some talent and that talent is not going to win championships unless we all get on the same page and we all pull for each other and so far it’s been great,” she said. “The deeper you dig the prettier the fruit and we know that people are going to know that that’s the defending national champions and we’re going to get their best shot.”

Aneesah Morrow seems to be fitting right in at LSU. And a big part of that is Tigers coach Kim Mulkey.

Morrow, who transferred to the Tigers from DePaul, lavished praise on her new coach while addressing the media this week.

“You have to have tough skin as a player, and Mulkey is going to keep it real with you,” Morrow said. “She’s not going to sugarcoat it, she’s going to tell you what it is. She just, honestly, wants you to come in here every day and give 100 percent.

“Everybody needs a Kim Mulkey in their lives.”

Morrow comes to LSU after two terrific seasons at DePaul. Last season she averaged 25.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, after averaging 21.9 points and 13.8 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2021-22.

She’ll team up with LSU star Angel Reese as the Tigers look to defend their 2023 NCAA National Championship. The Tigers open the season Nov. 6 against Colorado in Las Vegas as part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Series.

“I’m super excited to join. I just know how hard I work. Every day, my stats showed that I was very consistent every game, I was a double-double last year at DePaul and the year before would be a national freshman of the year,” Morrow said on Haley Jones’ “Sometimes I Hoop” podcast in August. “So I try to stay as consistent as I possibly can. But I also want to be challenged by my teammates and my coaching staff. I want them to have my back and I felt like LSU was the best fit for that.”

Aneesah Morrow is excited to show people what she can do on a team like the one she is joining at LSU.

The reigning NCAA women’s basketball champions, LSU is adding top transfers Morrow and Hailey Van Lith to existing stars Angel Reese and Flau’jae Johnson to create the Tigers’ version of a superteam. While all those big names could raise questions about the roster’s ability to gel, Morrow isn’t concerned. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why she chose to transfer to LSU in the first place.

“I’m super excited to join. I just know how hard I work. Every day, my stats showed that I was very consistent every game, I was a double-double last year at DePaul and the year before would be a national freshman of the year,” she said on Haley Jones’ “Sometimes I Hoop” podcast. “So I try to stay as consistent as I possibly can. But I also want to be challenged by my teammates and my coaching staff. I want them to have my back and I felt like LSU was the best fit for that.”

She also knows that winning will require sacrifices. She’ll no longer be the player putting up major points for her team in every game. But she has skills she wants to sharpen, and she believes LSU will give her the opportunity to do so.

“It’s really about what you want to sacrifice for your team,” she said. “I have this conversation with my parents all the time. They tell me, ‘Don’t change your style of play,’ and I say, ‘I won’t change my style of play, but there are things I want to get better in.’”

And as for her teammates, she feels as though they’ll “play great together.” While there are a lot of personalities to balance, she is willing to do what it takes in order to bring a second straight national championship to the Tigers.

“I feel like we’re gonna play great together. I know that a lot of people talk about like egos and whatever it might be, the personalities,” she said. “But at the end of the day, if it comes down to me getting 20 rebounds a game and not scoring a point, that’s that’s what I do for my team to win. Because at the end of the day, that’s all I want to do.”

Even still, she knows that joining a team seeking back-to-back titles can have its pressures. And victory isn’t guaranteed, even for a superteam.

“There’s no guarantee that someone is going to win,” she said. “Of course, every goal is to win the national championship, to win the tournament, to be the best in your conference. But it takes work on a day in, day out basis.”

The transfer portal is still hopping as players find their new homes for next season.

Just Women’s Sports will be keeping track of the top players who have entered the portal and those who have chosen their teams.

May 23 — Diamond Johnson picks Norfolk State

Former NC State star Diamond Johnson is transferring to Norfolk State, she announced Tuesday.

The historically Black university proved a draw for Johnson in more ways than one as she seeks to “be the best version” of herself.

“A lot of people think you always have to go to Power Five schools to get to your (dream), going to the WNBA, going pro,” Johnson told Lauren Dreher in her announcement video. “But I don’t think it always has to be like that. You can go to HBCUs, mid-majors. I think you can develop there and still chase your dreams.”

Norfolk State is coming off its second NCAA tournament appearance in program history and first since 2002. The Spartans won the MEAC tournament, beating Howard in the title game, then lost to No. 1 seed South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

“I’m going to say it today so we can prep for next year: Norfolk State is not a 16 seed. Just want you to know that. They’re not. Very well-coached. Very disciplined,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said after the game.

The former ACC Sixth Player of the Year as a sophomore, Johnson will provide an immediate boost to Norfolk State, having led NC State in scoring this past season with 12.3 points per game. She did miss some time with an ankle injury, playing just 22 games.

May 5 — Aneesah Morrow chooses LSU over South Carolina and USC

After narrowing down her list to LSU, USC, and South Carolina, DePaul transfer Aneesah Morrow announced that she will attend LSU. The reigning national champions now have two top transfers in Morrow and Louisville transfer Hailey van Lith.

“I want to win championships and build a dynasty,” Morrow said in a video announcement sponsored by Caktus AI. “Where is the best place for me to achieve my goals?”

Read the full story here.

May 5 — Jewel Spear commits to Tennessee

Wake Forest transfer Jewel Spear will attend the University of Tennessee.

Spear, a two-time all-ACC honoree, helped Wake Forest reach the NCAA tournament in 2021, the Demon Deacons’ first NCAA tournament appearance since 1988.

“I felt like it was time to spread my wings, go to a bigger stage and compete on a bigger stage, while also getting great academics and being able to contend for a national championship,” Spear told ESPN.

May 5 — Junior college star Sakima Walker heads to South Carolina

Junior college player of the year Sakima Walker is joining the South Carolina Gamecocks. Walker played at Rutgers for two seasons before transferring to Northwest Florida State College, where she led the team to the 2023 junior college national title and was named NJCAA Division I women’s player of the year.

Walker is South Carolina’s second transfer of 2023, joining Oregon transfer Te-Hina Paopao.

May 4 — Oklahoma State picks up Big East Freshman of the Year

Georgetown star Kennedy Fauntleroy is joining Oklahoma State. In one season with the Hoyas, she averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds, enough to make her the unanimous pick for Big East Freshman of the Year.

“Last year she proved to be one of the best point guards in the country as a freshman and we can’t wait to help her prove herself again,” Oklahoma State coach Jacie Hoyt said in a statement.

Taiyer Parks is on the move as well, flipping from Michigan State to Big Ten rival Ohio State as a graduate transfer. She averaged 7.1 points and 5.5 rebounds across four seasons with the Spartans.

April 27 — Hailey Van Lith joins national champion LSU

One of the top players in the transfer portal, Van Lith averaged 19.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists with Louisville last season.

With Alexis Morris’ departure to the WNBA after the Tigers’ NCAA championship run, the Tigers had an opening at point guard that Van Lith will fill in 2023-24.

April 24 — Te-Hina Paopao commits to South Carolina, Lexi Donarski to North Carolina

South Carolina scored a big portal pickup Monday with the addition of Paopao. The former Oregon point guard has two years of eligibility remaining and averaged 12.5 points, 3.6 assists and 3.9 rebounds through three seasons with the Ducks.

“blessed & excited for the journey ahead,” Paopao wrote in her social media post. “go gamecocks !”

The No. 7 transfer prospect according to ESPN, she was also ranked 11th in the class of 2020 recruit rankings.

Paopao was also one of the best 3-point shooters in the country last season shooting 42.4 percent, which will help the Gamecocks who hit just 31 percent of their 3s over the last two seasons.

Former Iowa State guard Donarski also announced her next school Monday: North Carolina.

With two years of eligibility remaining, the three-year starter averaged 12.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in the 2022-23 season as a member of the Big 12 tournament championship team.

She also helped the Cyclones to the NCAA Sweet 16 and was named Big 12 defensive player of the year. She was ranked as the third-best transfer by ESPN.

April 23 — Mississippi State lands Lauren Park-Lane; Shayeann Day-Wilson heads to Miami; BYU’s Lauren Gustin enters portal

Mississippi State has picked up an impact player in Park-Laine. As a senior for Seton Hall in the 2022-23 season, the guard averaging 20.8 points and 6.3 assists per game.

Meanwhile, Day-Wilson is headed to Miami, she announced via social media.She averaged 10.2 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in two seasons at Duke.

And Gustin has entered the transfer portal after three seasons at BYU. She had a career-best season in 2022-23, averaging 16.1 points and 16.7 rebounds per game. Quietly, she put together one of the best campaigns in the NCAA, finishing with the second-most double-doubles. She finished with 27 in 33 games played, second only to LSU’s Angel Reese.

April 21 — Aneesah Morrow announces top three schools

The DePaul transfer has narrowed her list to three schools, she announced via social media: LSU, South Carolina and USC. Morrow previously said she was contacted by 33 schools after putting her name in the transfer portal.

April 20 — Celeste Taylor announces commitment to Buckeyes, Lexy Keys to Oklahoma

Taylor is transferring from Duke to Ohio State due to “unforeseen circumstances,” she announced Thursday. She had announced that she would return to Duke for a fifth year but later entered the transfer portal.

“The relationships that I have been able to build with everyone will be unforgettable,” she wrote. “I can’t thank Duke enough for the unwavering support.”

A native of New York, Taylor was named ACC defensive player of the year and was a member of the all-ACC first team. She was also named a finalist for Naismith defensive player of the year.

Throughout her career, Taylor has averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Lexy Keys, who played three seasons at Oklahoma State, is set to join the rival Sooners with two years of eligibility remaining. She averaged 9.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists this season for Oklahoma State.

April 17 — Diamond Johnson re-enters portal after two seasons with NC State

The 5-5 junior guard is on the hunt for another new team.

Johnson transferred to NC State after spending her freshman season at Rutgers. After two years at NC State, she is again in the transfer portal with two years of eligibility remaining.

As a junior, she averaged 12.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Wolfpack, though she also missed 10 games with an ankle injury.

NC State teammates Camille Hobby and Jakia Brown-Turner also entered the transfer portal, with Brown-Turner headed to Maryland.

Arizona is another school with a number of players in the portal, but at least one has reversed course. Rising sophomore guard Kailyn Gilbert has decided to exit the portal and return to the Wildcats.

Also on Monday, James Madison star Kiki Jefferson committed to Louisville. She averaged 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in her senior season with James Madison.

April 16 — Rose Micheaux joins Virginia Tech from Minnesota

The 6-2 sophomore forward averaged 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds for Minnesota this season, but she entered the transfer portal after the resignation of Golden Gophers coach Lindsay Whalen.

April 12 — Aneesah Morrow: South Carolina, LSU among suitors

The former DePaul star has been contacted by 33 different schools, she told ESPN on Wednesday. Among them are 2023 national champion LSU, 2022 national champion South Carolina, Notre Dame, Iowa, Maryland, USC and Ole Miss.

Morrow has been among the top scorers in the country in each of the past two seasons. She plans to narrow her list to her top three destinations in the coming days, she revealed on Twitter.

Several other transfers have announced their destinations, including Jordyn Oliver, who is leaving Duke for Vanderbilt, and Kyndall Hunter, who is departing Texas for Texas A&M.

April 12 — Duke’s Celeste Taylor enters transfer portal

Duke’s leading scorer has entered the transfer portal, joining teammate Shayeann Day-Wilson.

One of four finalists for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award, Taylor averaged 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals for the Blue Devils this season. Wherever she lands will become Taylor’s third school after she transferred to Duke from Texas, where she played her first two seasons of basketball.

Taylor has one year of eligibility remaining.

April 8 — Sedona Prince to transfer to TCU

Oregon’s Prince is “coming home,” they announced via Instagram. The Texas native is headed to TCU.

She will reunite with new TCU head coach Mark Campbell, who spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Oregon before leaving in 2021 to become the head coach at Sacramento State.

April 8 — Lauren Betts, No 1. recruit in 2022, enters portal

Stanford’s Betts has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Betts, the No. 1 recruit in 2022, played one season for the Cardinal. She finished the 2022-23 season averaging 5.9 points and playing 9.6 minutes per game.

Betts isn’t the only Stanford player in the portal. Agnes Emma-Nnopu and Indya Nivar are also looking to make moves.

April 8 — Hailey Van Lith to graduate from Louisville early, enter transfer portal as a grad student

Van Lith made huge news on Saturday morning when Louisville confirmed that the junior guard had entered the NCAA transfer portal. While Van Lith just finished her junior season at Louisville, she will receive her undergraduate degree in May and she enters the transfer portal as a graduate student. (You can read more here.)

April 6 — Jakia Brown-Turner heads home to Maryland

After four years at NC State, the Oxon Hill, Maryland, native is headed back to her home state to play for the Terrapins, she announced Thursday via social media.

“Home sweet home,” she wrote in her Instagram caption, alongside photos of herself in a Maryland uniform.

Brown-Turner averaged 10.3 points and 4.2 rebounds across her four seasons at NC State, and she has shot 34.4% from 3-point range for her career. The 6-0 forward was a two-time All-ACC selection with the Wolfpack.

April 5 — Rising star Aneesah Morrow leaves DePaul

The sophomore forward averaged 25.7 points (fourth in Division I) and 12.2 rebounds (seventh in Division I) this season, which puts her in elite company.

While she stayed in her hometown of Chicago in choosing DePaul, her talent could take her farther from home as she immediately becomes the top transfer on the market.

April 4 — Virginia Tech’s Ashley Owusu enters transfer portal

The former Maryland standout spent the last season at Virginia Tech, but she found herself confined to the bench for the entire postseason.

The 6-0 senior guard appeared in 17 games total, averaging 5.1 points in 15.1 minutes per game. She has one year of COVID-19 eligibility remaining.

April 3 — Jayda Curry heads to Louisville

The 5-6 guard led the Pac-12 in scoring with 18.6 points per game in the 2021-22 season, then averaged 15.5 points per game as a sophomore.

Louisville picks up a two-time Pac-12 all-conference selection to strengthen a lineup that made a run to the Elite Eight.

“I’m just excited to be on that big stage … just trying to be that person who can come in there and help and impact them and take them a little farther, get to the Final Four again and hopefully win a national championship,” Curry told Bally Sports.

Also on Monday, Oregon guard Te-Hina Paopao entered the transfer portal, further draining the Pac-12 talent pool.

The third-year sophomore averaged 13.1 points and a career-high 4.2 rebounds per game for the Ducks.

March 31 — Seton Hall’s Lauren Park-Lane enters transfer portal

Park-Lane is entering the transfer portal, the Seton Hall star revealed Friday on Twitter.

As a senior this year, Park-Lane averaging 20.8 points and 6.3 assists per game for the Pirates. A first-team All-Big East selection, she was also named to the Wooden Award watch list this season. Among her notable performances include a Seton Hall single-game scoring record 39 points in the team’s win over DePaul in February.

While Park-Lane could have opted to go to the WNBA draft, she did not declare and is looking to spend a fifth year in the NCAA.

March 30 — Maryland’s Ava Sciolla, Mila Reynolds enter portal

Sciolla announced Thursday that she has entered the transfer portal, one day after fellow freshman Reynolds did the same. And hours after Reynolds’ announcement, younger sister Amiyah announced her decision to decommit from Maryland.

“I’ll be looking for a home and opportunity to leverage all I’ve learned over the last year,” Mila Reynolds wrote. “Somewhere I can use my gifts and abilities to help win games and make a community proud.”

Sciola also thanked Maryland and expressed her gratitude for “my experience and role in this year’s run to the Elite 8.” But she plans to move on from the Terrapins.

“However, I am moving on with the intention of joining a program where my skills, competitiveness, and basketball IQ can enhance and complement another successful culture,” she wrote.

NC State’s Jakia Brown-Turner also announced Thursday that she has entered into the portal. A key member of the Wolfpack, she averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this season.

In a statement, Brown-Turner called her NC State experience “amazing.”

“I have learned and grown in so many ways these past four years,” she wrote, noting that one of her goals was to win the ACC championship — something that the Wolfpack did three times during her career.

“I am so grateful for these moments.”

March 27 — Duke’s Shayeann Day-Wilson announces departure, joining teammate Jordyn Oliver

The former ACC Freshman of the Year announced Monday that she has entered her name into the transfer portal.

“The decision was not easy, but it was the best decision for me & my family,” the Duke sophomore wrote.

She may have alluded to her departure following the team’s March 20 loss to Colorado in the NCAA Tournament.

“It’s not the typical end that you want, but I’m staying positive, keeping my head up,” Day-Wilson told The Duke Chronicle following the team’s season-ending loss. “To not make it the year before and to get to at least Round Two — I wouldn’t say I’m super happy with it, but I’m grateful. And, next year, looking forward to it, same way. And I’m just proud of my team, and I’m gonna miss all of them.”

Day-Wilson came to the Blue Devils as top-50 recruit in her class. She averaged 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists this season.

She joins Jordyn Oliver, who entered the portal on March 23, according to The Next’s Mitchell Northam. Oliver was a key piece of the Duke bench and averaged 3.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.

March 24 — Iowa State’s Lexi Donarski enters transfer portal

Donarski has entered the transfer portal, the Des Moines Register’s Tommy Birch reported. The three-time starter joins three other Iowa State players to enter to the portal: Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw, Maggie Vick and Morgan Kane.

March 23 — Four Arizona players enter transfer portal

Four Arizona players have entered the transfer portal after the Wildcats’ second-round exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Sophomore guard Madi Conner, junior Lauren Ware and freshmen Lemyah Hylton and Paris Clark are in the portal, The Athletic’s Chantel Jennings reported.

Conner averaged 6.0 points and 14.7 minutes per game for the Wildcats this seasonn. While Ware missed the season recovering from knee surgery, she averaged 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in the 2021-22 season and was expected to make a big impact upon her return.

March 23 — NC State’s Camille Hobby enters transfer portal

Hobby is planning to use her fifth year of eligibility elsewhere, as she announced her decision to enter the transfer portal.

The forward averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds this season for the Wolfpack, while shooting 52% from the floor.

March 22 — Sun Belt Player of the Year leaves James Madison

Kiki Jefferson is entering the transfer portal after averaging 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game in her senior season with James Madison. She was named the Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference for her senior season, and she has one year of COVID-19 eligibility remaining.

March 16 — Seven Pitt players enter transfer portal

Seven players are leaving Pitt basketball after the program parted ways with coach Lance White at the end of the season.

Senior forward Amber Brown entered the transfer portal Tuesday, and she was followed by six more Panthers players: Emy Hayford, Destiny Strother, Taisha Exanor, Sandrine Clesca, Cynthia Ezeja and Dayshanette Harris.

March 16 — Sophomore center Rose Micheaux leaves Minnesota

Micheaux becomes the first player to enter the transfer portal since Lindsay Whalen resigned as the Golden Gophers coach earlier this month. The sophomore averaged 13.8 points and 7.9 rebounds for Minnesota this season.

“The University of Minnesota will always have a special place in my heart… With that being said, I will be entering my name into the transfer portal, to further my academic and athletic career,” Micheaux wrote in a social media post.

March 15 — Former Pac-12 Freshman of the Year departs Cal

Cal guard Jayda Curry is leaving the program, a Cal spokesperson confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Curry led the Pac-12 in scoring with 18.6 points per game in the 2021-22 season, which earned her the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award. She averaged 15.5 points per game as a sophomore this season, but the Bears finished with a 13-17 record.

March 14 — Texas guard Kyndall Hunter plans to transfer

As No. 4 seed Texas prepares for the NCAA Tournament, guard Kyndall Hunter has announced her intention to leave the program. Hunter has missed the entire season due to personal reasons, per coach Vic Schaefer.

“I will continue to move forward and find a university and coaching staff who believes in me and will nurture me as a basketball player on the court but even more, instill confidence in me off the court,” she wrote on social media.

Still, she expressed her support for the Longhorns before their first-round game against No. 13 seed East Carolina at 10 p.m. ET Saturday.

“I would like to wish my Texas teammates nothing but the best of luck in their pursuit (of) a national championship this season,” she wrote.

March 9 — Two Kentucky players enter transfer portal

Just last year, Kentucky produced the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft in Rhyne Howard. After a disappointing season for the Wildcats, though, two players already have announced their plans to leave the program.

Sophomore guard Jada Walker and freshman guard Kennedy Cambridge will both enter their names in the transfer portal, they announced this week. After finishing the 2022-23 season with a 12-19 record and tied for last in the SEC, the Wildcats will need to fill out their backcourt to compete next season.

Walker ranked second in scoring for Kentucky this season with 12.6 points per game, and she led the SEC with 2.6 steals per game. While she thanked coach Kyra Elzy for the opportunity to be part of last season’s SEC Tournament-winning team last season, she is ready to move on.

Cambridge averaged 2.7 points per game and likely would have assumed a bigger role next season.

Kentucky dealt with significant turnover last year, too, after losing three starters to the transfer portal. Former Wildcats forward Dre’Una Edwards called out Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy in January for refusing to sign an eligibility waiver that would allow Edwards to play at Baylor, her new school. Elzy defended Kentucky’s position in the conflict.

Flau’jae Johnson dropped new bars Monday, which included name-dropping new LSU pickup Hailey Van Lith.

In the remix of Latto’s newly released track “Put It On Da Floor,” Johnson raps about LSU women’s basketball repeating as national champions, noting, “We got Van Lith, that’s what I stress if they suggest we can’t repeat.”

Two of the top transfers on the market in Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow have joined the Tigers this offseason in the wake of their run to the NCAA Tournament title.

Johnson’s lyrics echo teammate Angel Reese’s sentiments that the team will enter next season with a chip on its collective shoulder in spite of — or perhaps because of — the national championship win.

“The chip is on our shoulder, for sure,” Reese told Just Women’s Sports. “Everyone is going to be coming at us, just like last year, but that makes the game fun.”

As of right now, LSU has the best odds to win the 2024 national championship at +250, according to FanDuel sportsbook. UConn sits in second at +700, while national runner-up Iowa comes in third at +900.

When Angel Reese decided to transfer from Maryland to LSU before last season, she changed the trajectory of LSU women’s basketball. After leading the Tigers to their first NCAA Championship last month, Reese has helped put LSU on the map as the premier destination for transfers.

Coming off the 2023 NCAA title, LSU is the favorite to repeat next year thanks to the additions of top transfers Aneesah Morrow from DePaul and Hailey Van Lith from Louisville.

“It’s lit,” Reese told Just Women’s Sports from Overtime’s Takeover event on Saturday, the day after Morrow revealed her decision. “They say we are building a superteam, so I’m excited.”

A year ago, when Reese was looking for her new home, she visited LSU and promptly canceled planned trips to Tennessee and South Carolina after finding the perfect fit with head coach Kim Mulkey and the school.

This offseason, when Van Lith entered the transfer portal, no other school even emerged as a candidate for the graduate student before she became a Tiger. Morrow’s transfer process was full of fanfare as she posted updates on social media and announced her decision in an NIL-sponsored video. Morrow, the fourth-leading scorer in the nation last season, selected LSU over South Carolina and USC.

There’s something about LSU — or a collection of somethings, according to Reese — that instantly wins over prospective transfers.

One of those things is Mulkey, with whom Reese quickly developed a close relationship. The Final Four MVP sings her coach’s praises at every opportunity. Van Lith shares a similar bond with Mulkey, having nearly committed to play for her at Baylor a few years ago. Even though she chose Louisville out of high school, she maintained a relationship with Mulkey.

“Coach Mulkey and I have had a great relationship since I was in high school,” Van Lith said when she signed with the Tigers. “I am extremely excited and honored to have an opportunity to play for her. She will help elevate my game and push me to be successful at the next level.”

Van Lith fills a key role on LSU’s roster after Alexis Morris graduated and moved on to the WNBA. LSU needs a point guard who can provide another scoring threat alongside the team’s potent post duo of Reese and Morrow. Van Lith is a skilled attacker who dominates the midrange, which should help LSU open up space in the paint. That’s also how Morris did a lot of her damage for the Tigers last season, and especially during the NCAA Tournament.

Van Lith’s competitive spirit is well-known. After three seasons with Louisville, one of which resulted in a Final Four, the guard has yet to win a title. LSU gives her the opportunity to do so.

That was a key piece in Morrow’s decision as well. The former DePaul star averaged 25.7 points and 12.2 rebounds last season, but told ESPN last week that she felt she had “nothing to show for it” because the Blue Demons weren’t able to secure conference titles and appeared in only one NCAA Tournament during her tenure.

Now, Morrow will play alongside other established stars and be a part of what should be the most dominant frontcourt duo in the country with Reese.

Morrow also wanted a school that would help her become a more well-rounded player and person off the court. She’s particularly interested in growing as a businesswoman and entrepreneur. Once again, in the NIL landscape, LSU is at the forefront.

Reese is the perfect example. She expressed interest in modeling, and on Monday was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, just one of many off-court deals and accomplishments she’s seen come to fruition at LSU.

Reese and LSU teammate Flau’jae Johnson, who both helped mentor some of the top girls’ high school players in the country at the Overtime Takeover event this past weekend, led the men’s and women’s Final Four field in social media following. Reese, 21, also led all March Madness athletes in NIL merchandise sales.

“When I came to LSU, I had 70k followers and now I have going on 2 (million),” Reese said of her social media platforms. “(LSU) embraces it, and coach Mulkey lets you be who you are. On the court, she makes sure you come into practice and handle your business, but outside she doesn’t make you sit in a box and be one thing.”

Reese’s newest trophy-seeking teammates are ready for that, too.

“The chip is on our shoulder, for sure,” Reese said. “Everyone is going to be coming at us, just like last year, but that makes the game fun.”

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

Aneesah Morrow has a transfer destination: LSU.

One of the top players in the NCAA basketball transfer portal this offseason, Morrow had narrowed down her list to LSU, USC and South Carolina, and she visited both USC and LSU. After spending last weekend in Baton Rouge, she canceled her visit to South Carolina and committed to the reigning champion Tigers.

She announced her decision in a video sponsored by Caktus AI, in which she asked the tool various questions about the transfer process, ending with: “I want to win championships and build a dynasty. Where is the best place for me to achieve my goals?”

The answer for Morrow: LSU, which just won its first national championship in coach Kim Mulkey’s second year with the program.

In Morrow’s two seasons at DePaul, she led the Big East in rebounding and double-doubles. In the 2022-23 season, she finished fourth in the country in scoring with 25.7 points per game.

She joins Louisville transfer Hailey Van Lith in flipping to LSU, pushing the Tigers’ chances for a repeat title even higher.

Morrow also makes the Tigers that much more dangerous, as the 6-1 forward is one of the most productive players in the country. She also has two years of eligibility remaining, meaning she’ll be playing with Angel Reese and Flau’jae Johnson for a while yet.

“I’m never intimidated by playing against or playing on a team with amazing, talented players,” the rising junior told ESPN. “That’s what I want to be surrounded around. I want to be around players who are going to make me better.”