After going shot-for-shot with No. 6 South Carolina for much of the first two quarters, No. 14 Maryland fell apart before halftime at Colonial Life Arena.

The Gamecocks went on a nine-point run in the final minute of the first half on their home court to secure a firm lead after 20 minutes of play. And their high rate of scoring continued for the rest of the game, adding to their historic start to the season.

South Carolina went on to beat Maryland by a score of 114-76 — the most points in a single game for the Gamecocks since 2020 and the most points against a ranked opponent in program history. Following on a 100-71 season-opening win against Notre Dame, South Carolina has scored at least 100 points in the first two games for the first time in program history.

“I actually think they’re better than last year,” Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said after the game.

The Gamecocks exploited the Terps’ zone defense and pulled them out of the paint. South Carolina pulled down a staggering 53 rebounds to Maryland’s 33, which allowed the Gamecocks to drop 28 second-chance points.

The Terps also struggled to maintain possession of the basketball — South Carolina forced 15 turnovers and was able to convert them to 23 points. 

The game ended with seven Gamecocks scoring in double figures. And if the loss wasn’t enough for Maryland, its highest scorer, Shyanne Sellers, exited the game late in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to her foot. 

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley’s squad was said to be “renovating” its lineup this year after losing 2023 WNBA rookie of the year Aliyah Boston and other starters. Yet the Gamecocks are averaging 107 points per game.

Ashley Owusu has found a new home with Penn State women’s basketball, the Nittany Lions announced Thursday night.

This marks Owusu’s second transfer in two seasons. The 6-0 guard transferred to Virginia Tech from Maryland last offseason, but her season with the Hokies soured after she injured her pinkie finger in December. While she started the first seven games of the season, she played sparingly after she made her return from injury in January, and she did not play at all in the postseason.

After a social media spat with her Virginia Tech teammates during the Hokies’ Final Four loss, Owusu re-entered the transfer portal. She has one year of COVID-19 eligibility remaining.

Despite her winding road to Virginia Tech, she brings top-tier skills with her to Penn State. In three seasons at Maryland, Owusu was named All-Big Ten three times and was the recipient of the 2021 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, recognizing the best shooting guard in women’s college basketball.

Across all four seasons of her career, she has averaged 13.1 points, 4.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game.

“We are thrilled to add Ashley to our Penn State family,” Penn State head coach Carolyn Kieger said in a statement. “She is a game-changing player who has excelled at the highest level, especially in the Big Ten Conference.”

When choosing her transfer destination, Owusu found herself impressed by the Nittany Lions’ team atmosphere.

“I chose Penn State because of how welcoming and genuine the coaches and girls were,” she said in a statement. “I wanted to be around people that have the same goals as me, and I know that my teammates and I are going to accomplish big things this season.”

Just 15 of 36 drafted players appear on WNBA opening day rosters to start the 2023 season. With 144 roster spots available among the 12 teams, a number of college stars were waived before the season began.

Here are five of the most notable rookie free agents, and how they can find themselves in the WNBA in the future.

Abby Meyers, No. 11 pick

The Dallas Wings surprised everyone when they opted to take Meyers with the 11th pick on draft night. The guard wasn’t projected to be a first round pick in mock drafts, and while the Wings clearly saw something in Meyers, it wasn’t enough to land her a roster spot.

Meyers shot 38.8% from the 3-point line in her final collegiate season, and the Wings were in search of shooters. Another big strength is her basketball IQ – Meyers transferred to Maryland from Ivy League powerhouse Princeton.

Fit criteria: If Meyers winds up on a roster, expect it to be a team that needs a backup guard or a shooting lift.

Taylor Mikesell, No. 13 pick

The Indiana Fever kept three of their five draft picks on roster: Aliyah Boston, Grace Berger and Victaria Saxton. While Mikesell, an Ohio State product, was waived on May 17, the guard likely was an attractive prospect for the Fever because of her shooting abilities.

Mikesell made her mark in college as one of the top 3-point shooters in the country. The 5-11 guard was the best pure shooter in the draft, knocking down 41.4% of her attempts as a senior.

Fit criteria: Mikesell can play spot minutes for a team with dominant bigs that needs shooters to space the floor.

Alexis Morris, No. 22 pick

Morris wasn’t on a lot of draft boards until the NCAA Tournament, when her play helped LSU win its first national title. Her 21 points and 9 assists in the championship game over Iowa showed that Morris can perform well under pressure. But after being drafted by the Connecticut Sun, Morris was waived after one preseason game.

Morris is undersized at 5-6, but her ability to score in the midrange helps the LSU product combat the height disadvantage. She is also a good decision maker who can spearhead an offense.

Fit criteria: Any team that finds itself thin at the point guard or shooting guard spot due to injuries may target Morris. Her size is a concern for defense, but she can hold her own on offense.

Brea Beal, No. 24 pick

The Minnesota Lynx kept Diamond Miller (No. 2 pick) and Dorka Juhász (No. 16 pick), but South Carolina’s Beal was waived on May 16. Beal was a key piece for the Gamecocks on their championship team in 2022 and a four-year starter. She’s experienced competing at the highest level college basketball has to offer.

Defense is Beal’s strength, and she often found herself tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best offensive player. At 6-1 with length and strength, she could be called on to do the same in the WNBA

Fit criteria: Beal’s offense is a work in progress – she was a dominant scorer in high school but wasn’t called on to do the same in college – so the team that picks her up will likely have a plethora of scorers. But anyone who needs defense, particularly an on-ball defender, should look to Beal. (Just ask Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley.)

Monika Czinano, No. 26 pick

Czinano more than held her own for Iowa, but basketball is changing at the WNBA level. Traditional bigs, unless they have size like the 6-7 Brittney Griner, are going away. Czinano doesn’t have a versatile skill set, which is why she didn’t go until the third round to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Still, the 6-3 post possesses toughness and efficiency around the rim – she made 67.1% of her attempts during a five-year college career.

Fit criteria: Czinano won’t be a primary option in the WNBA, but she can be a backup post on the right team. If she’s picked up, it will likely be with a team that has bigs who can stretch the floor, allowing Czinano to play off them in the paint.

Other draftees who were waived:

  • LaDazhia Williams (No. 17 pick, LSU)
  • Madi Williams (No. 18 pick, Oklahoma)
  • Elena Tsineke (No. 20 pick, South Florida)
  • Kayana Traylor (No. 23 pick, Virginia Tech)
  • Destiny Harden (No. 27 pick, Miami)
  • Taylor Soule (No. 28, Virginia Tech)
  • Jade Loville (No. 33 pick, Arizona)
  • Ashten Prechtel (No. 34 pick, Stanford)
  • Brittany Davis (No. 36 pick, Alabama)

The transfer portal is changing the landscape of college basketball, and not just from a big-picture standpoint. Less than a month after the end of the 2022-23 season, the portal has seen talented players move from one team to another.

Several top players, like Aneesah Morrow, have yet to announce their destinations. But among those who have, here are the top five transfers based on overall talent and fit with their new squads.

1. Hailey Van Lith, G, LSU

The defending champions lost point guard Alexis Morris to the WNBA with the understanding the super senior would be difficult to replace. But Kim Mulkey once again showed her portal prowess by snagging another elite guard, with the commitment of Hailey Van Lith on Thursday. Van Lith and Morris don’t have many similarities in the way they play, but Van Lith excels in the midrange just like Morris did, adding another dimension to the LSU offense. The experienced, competitive guard makes the perfect addition to the Tigers’ roster.

Van Lith leaving Louisville surprised a lot of people, but her decision to play her final season at LSU shouldn’t. In high school, Van Lith narrowed her recruiting decision down to Louisville and Baylor, where Mulkey was the coach at the time. The two clearly have a connection. Plus, Van Lith’s intense competitiveness lends itself well to a program coming off a national championship. The guard wants to win her own title, and LSU is the place to do it.

(John Hefti/USA TODAY Sports)

2. Lauren Betts, C, UCLA

Much of UCLA’s success this past season came from a talented freshman class that included No. 2 recruit Kiki Rice, No. 19 Gabriela Jaquez and No. 22 Londynn Jones. Point guard Charisma Osborne led the team in scoring, and 6-foot-4 forward Emily Bessoir provided height. The one thing the Bruins were missing was a true post, and now they get that at an elite level in Lauren Betts. The No. 1 player in the Class of 2022 played just 9.6 minutes per game as a freshman at Stanford but averaged 5.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Per 40 minutes, those stats look like this: 24.4 points, 14.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks.

With UCLA’s talented guard core, Betts will have room to operate in the paint and help create lanes and shots for players like Rice and Osborne. The addition of Betts makes the Bruins a title contender as early as next season.

(Chris Pietsch/USA TODAY Sports)

3. Te-Hina Paopao, G, South Carolina

The Gamecocks lost a lot of talent from their 2023 Final Four team, with five players getting drafted into the WNBA earlier this month. Still, the roster that remains is full of talent, including 6-7 center Kamilla Cardoso, forward Ashlyn Watkins and guard Raven Johnson. Dawn Staley was already in good shape with the roster she had, but Te-Hina Paopao fills an important role. Perhaps the lone weakness for South Carolina last season was the team’s lack of 3-point shooting, which contributed to their Final Four loss to Iowa.

Paopao brings long-range shooting and more with her to Columbia. The senior guard shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc at Oregon last season, averaging 2.3 made 3s per game. She’s also a skilled playmaker who can run an offense. Paopao could be the piece that gets South Carolina back to the national title game.

(Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)

4. Celeste Taylor, G, Ohio State

Celeste Taylor, a defensive-minded guard, and Ohio State, a defensive-minded team, are a match made in heaven. Taylor was a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year last season after averaging 2.2 steals per contest. Between her and Jacy Sheldon, the Buckeyes’ backcourt will feature two of the country’s best on-ball defenders.

Offensively, Ohio State’s attack will revolve around Cotie McMahon, who averaged 15.1 points per game as a freshman while showing off her strength and ability to get to the rim. But Taylor provides another scoring option that will help replace the point production Ohio State lost with the graduation of Taylor Mikesell. In addition to their defensive abilities, Taylor and Sheldon can both score and facilitate, making the Buckeyes’ attack even harder to defend.

(Joseph Cress/USA TODAY Sports)

5. Jakia Brown-Turner, G/F, Maryland

The Terrapins started the offseason by losing their top two scorers, Diamond Miller and Abby Meyers, to the WNBA as first-round draft picks. But it’s not a total rebuild for coach Brenda Frese, especially with the addition of Jakia Brown-Turner. The 6-foot wing is a player Maryland recruited out of high school, so the Terrapins already know she will fit into their system. Plus, the Maryland native gets to return home for her final college season.

Brown-Turner averaged 9.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game last season at NC State, and she will be a viable scoring option for the Terrapins alongside returners Shyanne Sellars, Brinae Alexander, Lavender Briggs and Faith Masonius. Brown-Turner, a four-year starter for the Wolfpack, also brings experience and poise, which should allow her to make a seamless transition to her new team.

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

Ashley Owusu is keeping her skills sharp, as she showed off in a social media video posted Saturday.

The highlight reel shows the high-profile transfer in a gym practicing her dribbling and shooting. Her slick ball-handling is grabbing attention — and fueling speculation about her next destination.

Owusu transferred to Virginia Tech from Maryland last offseason, but her season with the Hokies soured after she injured her pinkie finger in December. While she started the first seven games of the season before the injury, she played sparingly after she made her return in January, and she did not play at all in the postseason.

After a social media spat with her Virginia Tech teammates during the Hokies’ Final Four loss, Owusu re-entered the transfer portal. The 6-0 guard has one year of COVID-19 eligibility remaining.

Longtime NBA player Jamal Crawford complimented Owusu’s latest video, as did WNBA free agent Te’a Cooper, who said Owusu looked “so tough.”

Former Maryland teammate Angel Reese, who transferred to LSU last offseason and then led the Tigers to the national championship, also applauded Owusu’s video.

“This bout to be so scaryyyy,” Reese tweeted.

Could the pair be headed for a reunion at LSU? While it’s possible, Owusu is remaining mum on the subject.

The day before the video dropped, Owusu tweeted: “It feels so good to be back in the gym.” In the replies, someone asked her to drop details of her next stop, to which she replied with laughing emojis.

In three seasons at Maryland before transferring to Virginia Tech, Owusu was named All-Big Ten three times and was the recipient of the 2021 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, recognizing the best shooting guard in women’s college basketball.

Diamond Miller and Maryland questioned the foul calls in their 86-75 loss to South Carolina in Monday’s Elite Eight contest.

Both Abby Meyers and Faith Masonius fouled out of the game, while Shyanne Sellers and Diamond Miller both found themselves in foul trouble. Overall, Maryland committed 26 fouls to South Carolina’s 12. 

And if you ask Miller, she says it feels like “all the fouls were going one way.”

“So we were really physical because apparently they were getting all the foul calls,” she said after the loss. “That just shows we have heart, we have grit, and just because they’re taller doesn’t mean we can’t bang. If y’all didn’t see that we were banging today, I don’t know what could show you that.

“Clearly we needed to be more physical, I guess, on the offensive side because every time they hit us, nothing was called.”

Maryland coach Brenda Frese called the second quarter a turning point. Despite Maryland holding a 21-15 lead after the first quarter, foul trouble soon set in, forcing Miller and Sellers to the bench.

“You felt like you were coaching with one arm behind your back,” Frese said of the second quarter. “When they were calling so many of them, you were kind of just juggling who you had on the bench and back and forth, and it kind of felt like that all game. You’re just trying to see who you could keep in the longest.

“But that second quarter was costly, the amount of free throws. We’re typically a team that gets to the free throw line 20, 25 times. We only got there 15 times, and it was five after half. They got there 26 times. Just difficult trying to kind of figure out who you could keep in there that wasn’t going to get into foul trouble. We tried to mix up our defenses to keep us out of it, but they were able to exploit it from both ends.”

Meyers tried to take on more of the scoring load with both Miller and Sellers sitting in the second quarter to avoid more fouls, but then she found herself racking up fouls. 

“I don’t think the style of the game changed. We were playing physical the entire time, and it was unfortunate that I guess I put myself in that situation to have those fouls called against,” Meyers said. “It’s just frustrating when that happens when you try to stay on the court to help the team, but you can only do so much.”

Despite any issues Maryland had with the officiating, Miller placed responsibility for the loss on the Terrapins. But she also said her team still has a lot to be proud of.

“At the end of the day, I can’t dwell on what the refs call,” Miller said. “I’m not going to say the refs lost us the game. That’s not what I’m saying by any means. I mean, they out-rebounded us, as we kind of expected, let’s be honest. But they out-rebounded us, and they got more second-chance points. And it was our second quarter. They beat us 23-9. Nine points in one quarter is tough to come back from.

“I think we fought hard today. Supposedly we’re undersized, but we just lost to the defending reigning champs by 11 and other teams that had bigger posts than us are getting blown out by 30. I don’t believe in moral victories of any sort, but I think we fought hard,” she continued. “They’re big. I’m going to tip my hat to them. I usually don’t do that, but they’re big, and I think what was our downfall was just how big they were in the post, and the second quarter, of course.”

The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament busted many a bracket thanks to upsets by Miami and Ole Miss over No. 1 seeds Stanford and Indiana. Now the Sweet 16 is set, with familiar faces like South Carolina and UConn, and unexpected attendees like Colorado and Ohio State.

Expect more chaos and more upsets in the Sweet 16, as well as wins from the season’s most dominant squads. Here are my predictions for the first round of regional contests.

No. 9 Miami vs. No. 4 Villanova

Maddy Siegrist, a Naismith Trophy finalist, will be the best player on the court, and I don’t expect Miami to contain her. But after seeing the way the Hurricanes defeated No. 1 Indiana, I don’t see that being an issue. While Mackenzie Holmes had 22 points and Grace Berger had 17 against Miami, the Hurricanes were able to keep the rest of Indiana’s scorers in check. Against Villanova, I anticipate a similar attack: Siegrist will get hers, but the Hurricanes won’t let the rest of the team beat them.

Miami attacked the paint against Holmes and had success with Lola Pendande (19 points) and Destiney Harden (18 points). They can do the same against the Wildcats, who don’t have the post defenders to contain Miami’s inside presence.

Pick: Miami

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 2 Utah

This game has the potential to be the best matchup of the Sweet 16, with two high-powered offenses squaring off. Utah ranks third in the country with 83.5 points per game, while LSU is just behind them with 83.2 points per game.

Utah has a well-balanced attack, with 29.8 percent of their points coming from 3-point range and 50.4 percent coming from inside the arc. The problem for the Utes is going to be LSU star Angel Reese on both ends of the floor. Offensively, Reese will get hers as she has all season, but Utah has the tools to neutralize her defensively. Alissa Pili can stretch the floor — shooting 42 percent from 3 — and allow Utah to pull Reese out of the paint, opening up driving lanes for the guards. If the Tigers choose to keep Reese as a shot-blocker and put another defender on Pili, she will be able to use her size and strength to score, once again creating a mismatch.

Pick: Utah

The key to a Colorado upset will be containing Iowa's players outside of Caitlin Clark. (Margaret Kispert/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 6 Colorado vs. No. 2 Iowa

After defeating Duke 61-53 in Cameron on Monday, Colorado guard Jaylyn Sherrod said she likes going on the road, being the villain and feeding off opposing fans. Iowa won’t be the home team in this game, but they will certainly have their share of fans thanks to Caitlin Clark, meaning Colorado will be the villain once more.

The Buffs are a defensive-minded team that has the ability to rattle opponents. They made things difficult for ranked teams like Stanford, Utah and UCLA this season, and they can do it again against Iowa. No one can defend Clark, but the Buffs have the personnel to slow down the rest of the Hawkeyes, including Monika Czinano on the inside with the strength and size of Aaronette Vonleh and Quay Miller.

On offense, Miller will be the most difficult matchup for Iowa. At 6-foot-3, she’s listed as a center, but she also has guard skills. Miller can shoot from long range (averaging 33.3 percent from 3 this season) and attack inside, forcing her defender to consistently play out of position.

Pick: Colorado

No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 5 Louisville

After getting tested in the first round by a worthy opponent in Drake, Louisville got the win behind 25 points from junior guard Hailey Van Lith. Van Lith is already a talented guard, but she takes things up a notch in March, and that energy rubs off on her teammates.

Ole Miss surprised Stanford with its defensive pressure, holding the Cardinal to 32.7 percent shooting from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point range while also forcing 21 turnovers. After seeing that game, Louisville won’t be caught off guard, but they will still have to handle Ole Miss’ defensive intensity. Van Lith, Chrislyn Carr and Mykasa Robinson should be disciplined and experienced enough to overcome it, but this one will be close.

Pick: Louisville

Diamond Miller had a game-high 24 points in Maryland's second-round win over Arizona. (Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

No. 3 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Maryland

The last time these teams played in the regular season, Diamond Miller’s last-second heroics propelled the Terrapins to victory. This time around, Maryland likely won’t need a buzzer-beater to win. Dara Mabrey and Olivia Miles are both sidelined with injuries, and without two of their best players, the Fighting Irish are going to run into a wall eventually. Maryland has too many weapons: Miller, Abby Meyers and Shyanne Sellers are leading the way, and Faith Masonius is having an excellent tournament so far.

Notre Dame will need huge performances from Sonia Citron, Maddy Westbeld and Lauren Ebo inside to pull off a victory. Ultimately, I think Maryland’s talent will win out, sending them on to the Elite Eight.

Pick: Maryland

No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 1 South Carolina

UCLA stuck with South Carolina the last time these teams played, before Bruins mistakes and timely Gamecocks plays allowed South Carolina to secure a 73-64 win. UCLA had an excellent game plan, packing the paint to pressure Aliyah Boston and forcing the rest of South Carolina’s players to shoot from the outside. It was successful in November, but Dawn Staley is too smart of a coach to let it happen again.

The Gamecocks will adjust and use their depth to overpower UCLA. Kamilla Cardoso was a big factor in the first matchup, scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds, and will likely play a key role again. Senior guard Brea Beal, who didn’t score in the first matchup, is also poised to step up this time around.

Pick: South Carolina

Azzi Fudd's return from injury gives UConn a scoring boost in the postseason. (David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 UConn

Despite having very different histories, these programs have had similar seasons. Both started with high expectations, suffered a rash of injuries, and now are enjoying success when it counts. Jacy Sheldon, back for Ohio State, made her mark in the second-round win over North Carolina with a game-winning shot, 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. For UConn, Azzi Fudd was absent for most of the season before making her return in the Big East tournament. Fudd also came up big for her team in the second round, scoring 22 points to lead UConn past Baylor.

With Fudd back and playing well, UConn will be difficult to beat. In her absence, players like Aaliyah Edwards and Lou Lopez Sénéchal stepped up and have continued to play at a high level with her back in the lineup. Add in Dorka Juhász, Aubrey Griffin, Nika Mühl and Caroline Ducharme, who is capable of having a breakout scoring game, and the Huskies have too many weapons for Ohio State to handle.

An added point of interest in this game is Juhász, who started her career with Ohio State before transferring to UConn in 2021.

Pick: UConn

No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 1 Virginia Tech

When it comes to teams peaking at the right time, Tennessee and Virginia Tech are at the top of the list. The Hokies have won 13 games in a row, dating back to Jan. 29, while the Vols started their season 7-6 before going 18-5 the rest of the way.

One of Tennessee’s early losses came at the hands of the Hokies, 59-56 on Dec. 4. But Rickea Jackson didn’t play in that game, and the Vols had to rely on Jordan Horston for nearly all of their scoring. Now, Jackson is back and going to be a problem for the Hokies. The 6-2 forward is averaging 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game and can score all over the court. On the other side, Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley had trouble against the size of Tamari Key in the teams’ first meeting, finishing with just six points. Now, with Key sidelined due to blood clots, the Hokies will have an advantage inside.

This game could go either way, but Tennessee is playing with such cohesiveness right now and Jackson has the ability to be the best player on the floor. My gut tells me the Vols pull off the upset.

Pick: Tennessee

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

When Diamond Miller crossed up Notre Dame’s Kylee Watson with two seconds left on the clock of a tie game on Dec. 2, Maryland fans held their breath.

All but one.

Sitting on a couch in her family’s home in New Jersey, Adreana Miller didn’t flinch. Her younger sister had already put up 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the game, and when she saw the move Diamond was executing, it felt like it was happening in slow motion.

Adreana had seen it before. She’d been the victim of Diamond’s dagger-like shooting in countless games of one-on-one, where she’d look over her shoulder to see her younger sister burying that same shot. The one-footed jumper might as well have been a layup, Adreana said. Shooting off the bounce from the elbow is Diamond’s “bread and butter.”

The outcome, she believed, was a forgone conclusion.

So, Adreana didn’t even celebrate when the shot fell through the net, lifting Maryland to a 74-72 win over then-No. 7 Notre Dame in South Bend. But when Diamond put her finger to her lips, shushing the crowd, she couldn’t help but smile.

The moment was quintessential Diamond Miller.

Just nine months earlier, there were no forgone conclusions in Diamond’s life. She didn’t know if she would be in a position to hit buzzer-beaters. She didn’t even know if she would be wearing a Maryland jersey this season.

A knee injury that nagged her throughout her junior year needed surgery, and when the 2021-22 season came to a close, she found out her teammates and best friends at Maryland, Angel Reese and Ashley Owusu, would be leaving the program.

The basketball bubble she had grown accustomed to was changing.

For the first time in a long time, Diamond Miller’s future was uncertain.


By the time Diamond was old enough to play organized basketball, she had already been waiting years to put on a uniform. Her father, Lance, had been a standout player at Villanova — the school that later gave Diamond her first scholarship offer in eighth grade — and when Adreana was old enough, Lance set up an AAU program.

From then on, it was a waiting game for Diamond. She and the third Miller sister, LaNiya, spent countless hours on the sidelines, waiting for their turns.

Wanting to follow in her oldest sister’s footsteps, Diamond adopted the same short shorts that Adreana sported but added her own twist to the uniform. Diamond and LaNiya thought they would start a new trend when they accessorized their jersey and shorts with tall, tie-dye socks. One was blue and the other yellow, to match their team colors.

“They were up to my knees,” Diamond says with a laugh, her cheeks perking up to reveal two pronounced dimples. “We thought we were so cool.”

The socks didn’t last long, but basketball was never going away.

The only person in the Miller family who didn’t play the sport is their mother, Dreana — though that is a running joke with the Miller sisters. Despite aunts, uncles and grandparents all denying Dreana’s basketball background, their mother maintains that she played in high school.

Whether she did or didn’t doesn’t matter. Dreana is now fully a basketball mom. All three of her daughters played in college, and her youngest son, Landen, plays for his high school team. After numerous shooting sessions with her kids, Dreana has developed into a skilled rebounder.

But when it comes to basketball advice, Diamond goes to her dad. There was a time when she wasn’t so receptive to his input, but now she soaks it all in.

“He’s my dad, he’s my coach, and he’s also a mentor when it comes to the game,” Diamond says. “He sees things from a different perspective, now that he’s not playing.”

He was also responsible for the first time Diamond felt uncomfortable as a basketball player.

She always played up an age group with LaNiya, which despite being a more difficult level of basketball, brought a level of comfort. One day, the younger age group — the team Diamond technically should have been playing for — was low on numbers. Lance asked Diamond to step in, but she was resistant.

“I told him I didn’t want to play with them, and I was so nervous,” she says.

But being uncomfortable turned out to be a good thing. Because when Diamond played with girls her own age, she was able to see just how good she was. The years of playing up had paid off.

“When I played at my level, I was dominating,” she says. “And I was like, ‘Am I good at this sport?’ It was like an aha moment.”

After that, no element of basketball could scare her. At least not for a long time.

Diamond quickly became a sought-after prospect. By ninth grade, she could beat Adreana in one-on-one. She helped the USA U-16 team to a gold medal, became the leading scorer in Franklin High School history and was named a McDonald’s All-American. By the time she was ready for college, Miller had her pick of schools as the 18th-ranked player in the country.

She whittled down her offers to two schools, Notre Dame and Maryland, and chose the latter in part because of its proximity to her home state of New Jersey.

When she got to Maryland, Diamond enjoyed instant success. She played 19 minutes a game as a freshman, making three starts and averaging 7.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. During her sophomore year, Diamond completely erupted, earning All-Big Ten honors thanks to her 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assist and 1.4 steals per game.

Diamond Miller drives to the basket against Indiana's Grace Berger during her freshman year at Maryland. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

She expected more of the same in her junior year. But a knee injury meant Diamond could play in only 22 of her team’s games, and her numbers (particularly her scoring) took a slight dip.

It was a trying season, both for Diamond and for Maryland. The Terrapins started the season ranked No. 4 in the country before stumbling to a 23-9 record and a Sweet 16 loss at the hands of Stanford. Still, when it was over, Diamond drew praise for her play and the way she handled adversity.

Plus, the knee that limited her seemed healthy once more, and with a few weeks rest, Diamond thought she would be back playing basketball and preparing for the 2022-23 season with her friends.

That’s not what happened. Instead, for just the second time in her life, basketball made Diamond uncomfortable.


It was a spring day in 2022, just after the conclusion of her junior season, and Diamond wanted to be alone.

She spent her childhood surrounded by people, with a close-knit family and three siblings always there to keep her company. When she got to Maryland, Miller made two best friends that she spent all her time with. Being alone was never something she did.

But now, it was all she wanted.

Miller had a check-up for the knee injury that had nagged her all season. She no longer felt pain, so she went into the appointment as an optimist.

But her knee never healed. The stress fracture that she no longer felt was still there, and she was told she needed surgery.

She left the appointment in tears, keeping her head down and trying to get across campus as fast as possible so no one would see her and ask what was wrong.

But Miller’s quest for isolation was interrupted when she heard teammates Faith Masonius and Shyanne Sellers calling out to her.

“Diamond!” they shouted in unison. Their excitement quickly turned to concern as they saw the tears on Miller’s cheeks.

They asked what was wrong and Miller pushed them away. She needed space, or so she thought. But they wouldn’t relent.

“No,” they said, “We are driving you home.”

Miller, Shyanne Sellers and Faith Masonius have become closer as teammates and friends in the past year. (Alex Martin/Journal and Courier/USA TODAY Sports)

And so, while everything seemed to be falling apart, Miller got in the car. It was serendipitous that Sellers and Masonius were the two people there at one of her lowest points. They were her teammates, but at the time, Miller didn’t feel connected to them outside of a team setting. Soon, they would become two of her closest friends, and Masonius would even help her through physical therapy for her knee.

But when they picked Miller up that day, things were changing rapidly for the rising senior. Soon, her best friends on the team — Reese and Owusu — would announce their decisions to leave, and Miller would find herself at a crossroads.

Suddenly, nothing was going Diamond’s way, and she didn’t know how to handle it.


It wasn’t that Diamond was worried she wouldn’t recover from knee surgery, it was the missed time that scared her.

Despite all the success she’d had in basketball since she first pulled up those tie-dye knee socks, Diamond had a habit of comparing herself to those around her. She worried that while she focused on rehabbing her injury and getting healthy, everyone else in college basketball would be improving their skills. Diamond wondered if she’d be left behind.

“Everybody’s going to be above me now. I’m hurt, I can’t prove nothing for myself,” Diamond remembers thinking. “Everyone is just higher than me and better than me.”

But like the last time Diamond was forced out of her comfort zone, when her dad asked her to play for a different team, the injury had a positive impact.

It forced her to be alone with her thoughts, without the familiar sounds of sneakers on a court and dribbling basketballs. And Diamond learned to be more than just a basketball player. She loves the game so much that it consumed her, and when she couldn’t play, Diamond went through an identity crisis.

She remembers sitting in her room one day and asking herself, “Who is Diamond?”

And as she struggled to find herself, Diamond was also lonely. Her family was a phone call away, and her boyfriend was on campus with her, but Owusu and Reese — the friends that kept her smiling through the hardships — were no longer there. Owusu had transferred to Virginia Tech, and Reese had moved on to LSU. Diamond had no choice but to embrace her new circumstances.

“I found love in the loneliness of that situation,” she says.

So, while she recovered, Diamond committed to learning about herself and finding ways to love who she was off the court.

Diamond learned that she likes feeling sunshine on her face, and taking long walks with music to match whatever mood she’s in.

“I can be listening to sad songs, and still vibing and smiling,” she says with a laugh. “Or I can listen to Lil Baby and be rapping. I love a good variety.”

She learned that she likes puzzles. Her teammates tease her because she will break one out at any time of the day, even at 6 a.m.

Diamond also discovered that it wasn’t too late to form new friendships. She bonded with Sellers and Masonius, and another, unlikely person: coach Brenda Frese.

When Diamond got to Maryland, she wasn’t interested in having a relationship with Frese, other than doing what she said on the basketball court.

To people like Adreana, Diamond is playful, goofy and spirited. The kind of person that brings joy into every interaction. But to those outside of her circle, it takes longer for her to open up. And with such a strong circle of supporters, Diamond isn’t quick to let others in.

Frese had to work to connect with her star player.

“Freshman year, I didn’t even want to talk to her,” Miller says. “I didn’t want a relationship with her, but as time went on, I got more comfortable talking with her. I got to see her as a coach and a human all at once.”

Maryland coach Brenda Frese felt she had to re-recruit Miller after multiple players transferred out. (Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports)

It was the little things that made Diamond open up. Throughout the offseason, Frese was dealing with players transferring in and out. It was chaos trying to build a roster for 2022-23, but when it came to Diamond, Frese was focused on her well-being.

“She was always asking, ‘How are you? How is your knee?’” Diamond says. “And it was really important for me that she was more worried about my health.”

Over the summer, Diamond did an internship with Maryland’s Director of Basketball Operations and spent a lot of her time in the office with Frese. She had to communicate with her coaching staff in a new way, and in turn, they saw a different side of Diamond.

“It brought her out of feeling so quiet and uncomfortable,” Frese says. “She really blossomed and got comfortable with everybody.”

Diamond took her internship duties seriously. Frese was already accustomed to her intense focus and work ethic on the court, but soon discovered that Diamond carries that with her off the court as well. Even the most menial tasks were done with focus and care.

“You’re not sure how your best player is going to respond to in-house duties like that, but she was a rockstar,” Frese says. “Some people might give pushback, but she never did.”


When Owusu and Reese announced their decisions to transfer, it left Diamond as the lone starter from the 2021-22 season. With them in the transfer portal, and Chloe Bibby and Katie Benzan graduating, Diamond had no idea what the Terrapins roster would look like.

Diamond is a straight shooter. It may take a while for her to open up, but she is always honest. And honestly, she thought about leaving Maryland, too.

“I was nervous, because we weren’t really having a team,” she says. “I knew they were going to recruit really hard, but you still never know. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation, especially for my senior year, where I was struggling.

“I was definitely like, ‘Should I stay and try a new team out? Or should I leave?”

For Frese, keeping Diamond was the No. 1 priority in the offseason. She knew she’d have to build a brand-new roster, but Diamond had to be the foundation of the team.

So, she started recruiting her again.

“There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes, and her being persuaded and other teams trying to get her as well,” Frese says.

“I wasn’t just going to sit back and let other people have conversations with her behind the scenes. That’s the difference now with the portal is that it’s going on all year, and when the season ends, even more so.”

Diamond spent hours on the phone with her sisters and her parents, trying to sort out what was best for her. Ultimately, she came to a realization: No matter what she did, she would be starting over.

If she left, she would join a brand-new team, and if she stayed, a brand-new team would join her.

In countless conversations with various family members, they reminded her of one thing: The grass isn’t always greener.

“She had grown tremendously there, so why leave?” Adreana says. “At the end of the day, it’s about what you do with your opportunity, so we told her to worry less about other people and more about herself.”

Miller had a big decision to make after friends Ashley Owusu and Angel Reese left the program last year. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In conjunction with her injury recovery and navigating what she wanted for her senior year, Diamond took their advice to heart. She worried about herself. Gradually, she realized that no matter what school she was at, or how long it took her knee to heal, she would still be successful. She didn’t have to fear being left behind as other players improved. She didn’t have to look at her competitors and try to be like them.

“There are a lot of great players out there,” she said. “And they do their thing, but they don’t strive to be me. There’s a lot of talented people, and maybe I can’t do what they do, but they can’t do what I do, either. But what I can do is be the best version of myself.”

One thing Diamond didn’t have to learn was what she wanted for her future. The WNBA has long been in her sights.

Diamond is considered the No. 2 prospect on most draft boards, behind Aliyah Boston of South Carolina. She’s 6-foot-3 with a long, athletic build — the ideal body type for the WNBA — and she’s versatile on both offense and defense.

“She’s going to be a really difficult matchup at the next level,” Frese says.

For Frese, that was a key point in her re-recruitment. Maryland has a reputation for developing WNBA prospects, and every time Diamond plays, she sees scouts in the stands.

In that respect, staying was a no-brainer.

The more she thought about it, the more the rest made sense, too.

“If I left or if I stayed, I was still going to play basketball and have to play basketball at the best of my abilities,” she says.

So, Diamond embraced the unknown.

She didn’t know who would be on the team — Maryland added five transfers in the offseason — or how they would mesh together. But when Diamond decided to stay, that’s what she was signing up for, and the senior decided to go into her last season with zero expectations.

“That was so weird, but I wanted to change my thought process on how I approached the game anyway,” she says. “I put in the work, I put in the preparation, I wasn’t about to overthink it.”

With Diamond as the cornerstone, Frese rounded out the roster with transfers Brinae Alexander, Lavender Briggs, Abby Meyers, Elisa Pinzan and Allie Kubek.

Leading up to the season, the Terrapins held a team retreat. During the day, they did obstacle courses and other team-building activities, and at night they stayed up late, watching movies and talking, like an elementary school sleepover.

The Terrapins took things day by day, then week by week, then month by month. And eventually, Diamond’s re-commitment and her team’s new commitment paid off. Suddenly, Maryland was competing. Suddenly, they were beating UConn and shushing the Notre Dame crowd and rising into the top 10 of the AP Top-25 poll. And despite the odds, the Terrapins became a tight-knit squad, finishing the season at 25-7 and earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament that begins Friday.

“You can see the love on the court,” Diamond says. “There is no animosity towards one another, and that is a good feeling.”

(Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

When Diamond shushed the crowd on Dec. 1, she was shushing all the doubters. The people who thought her team wouldn’t be successful without Owusu and Reese. The people who counted them out before the season even started.

It was a statement to everyone, including herself.

That she could get injured, come back and still be an elite player. That she could play with a whole new group of players and still be successful. That no matter what was happening around her, she was in control.

“At the end of the day, what was for her would be for her,” Adreana reminded her during many conversations.

Basketball was for her. Making big shots was for her. Maryland was for her.

Diamond didn’t need to go anywhere else to be successful. She didn’t need to compare herself to other players. She didn’t need to be just a basketball player.

Now, Diamond is grateful for the injury. She says God knew she needed it. Until that point, everything had been too perfect. It pushed her out of her comfort zone and reminded her of something.

No matter what’s going on around her, one thing will always be certain.

“I’m still Diamond Miller,” she says with a smile. “I’m one of a kind. There is only one of me.”

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

The NCAA Tournament not only provides basketball fans with chills and thrills. March Madness also provides a sneak peek at the stars soon to join the WNBA ranks.

Just Women’s Sports analyst Rachel Galligan projected every first-round pick for the 2023 WNBA Draft in April. Based on her mock draft, here are the four potential lottery picks to watch as the NCAA Tournament gets underway.

Aliyah Boston, F, South Carolina

The consensus No. 1 pick leads the No. 1 overall seed into the tournament with her sights set on a repeat title. Boston and the Gamecocks won the national championship against UConn last year, and the undefeated Gamecocks look even stronger this time around.

While Boston’s stats have not been as strong this season, her 13.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game are nonetheless impressive — especially when considering the heavy defensive pressure the 6-foot-5 post receives from opponents.

JWS Bracket Challenge: Sign up for a chance to win $150,000!

Diamond Miller, G, Maryland

The second-seeded Terrapins lost four of their starters in the offseason, two to the transfer portal and two to graduation. But you wouldn’t know it to look at them, in large part thanks to the skill and composure of Miller, their lone holdover in the starting lineup.

The 6-3 guard is averaging 19.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.1 steals per game for Maryland, the best numbers of her career. After an injury-plagued junior season, she has looked stronger than ever in her senior season.

Rickea Jackson, F, Tennessee

The high-profile transfer had a rocky start to her Tennessee tenure, as she was benched for two games in early December due to a coach’s decision.

Since her return, though, Jackson has flourished for the fourth-seeded Volunteers. The 6-2 forward leads the team with 19.6 points per game, and she is peaking at the right time, with a 26-point double-double to lead Tennessee over LSU in the SEC tournament semifinals.

Haley Jones, G, Stanford

Jones’ value comes in her versatility. The 6-1 guard can score, she can create plays, and she can defend with the best of them. For Stanford this season, she is averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.

The No. 1 seed in the second Seattle region, Cardinal have lost two of their last three games — to Utah in their regular-season finale and to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals. But with Jones’ steady presence, they still have what it takes to reach the Final Four for a third consecutive season.

March Madness is creeping up on us, and every team is fighting to earn its spot in the field. The Selection Show takes place at 8 p.m. ET Sunday. In the meantime, contenders are battling it out in conference tournaments for automatic bids and resume-building wins.

Here’s what I think the 2023 NCAA Tournament bracket should look like if the season ended today.

No. 1 seeds

South Carolina, Indiana, Stanford, Virginia Tech

Undefeated SEC champion and reigning national title winner South Carolina is the de facto overall No. 1 seed.

Next comes Indiana, which — despite losing to Iowa and being on the wrong end of a 24-point comeback by Ohio State — has been consistent all season in a Big Ten conference that challenges teams at every turn. The Hoosiers have done enough to keep a 1-seed. While an argument can be made for Iowa, which took home the Big Ten tournament title, overall body of work gives the edge to Indiana. The Hawkeyes have been on a tear lately, but they have more questionable losses on the season than Indiana (Kansas State, in particular).

Stanford will be the third No. 1 seed despite a few slip-ups this season. The Cardinal’s loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament hurts, but not enough to bump them off the top line. Stanford has a No. 4 NET ranking and solid wins in and out of conference.

Competition for the final No. 1 seed is fierce. Iowa, Utah, Maryland and UConn were all in contention, but Virginia Tech played itself into the top of the bracket thanks to an ACC tournament title and an impressive record against top-ranked opponents.

Aliyah Edwards has been a bright spot for a UConn team beset by multiple injuries. (Matt Krohn/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 2 seeds

UConn, Iowa, Utah, Maryland

Iowa just misses out on a 1-seed, but their Big Ten tournament win makes the Hawkeyes the best of the No. 2s. Meanwhile, Maryland’s overall resume is solid enough to keep a 2-seed despite the Terrapins getting blown out by Iowa in the same tournament. Maryland has some of the best non-conference wins out of this bunch, topping both UConn and Notre Dame (when the Irish were at full strength). That and regular-season success in one of the country’s top conferences helps Maryland’s case.

Utah played itself out of a 1-seed by losing to Washington State in the Pac-12 tournament, but the Utes have done enough during the regular season to stop themselves from dropping even further. Other than that Washington State loss, the Utes lost only to ranked teams while beating stellar conference opponents, including Stanford, Colorado and UCLA.

UConn gets the final 2-seed thanks to strength of schedule. LSU’s loss to Tennessee in the SEC tournament allows the Huskies to keep their spot.

No. 3 seeds

Duke, Notre Dame, LSU, Texas

Two ACC teams find themselves on the 3-seed list, a testament to the conference’s strength. Duke would have been a No. 2 prior to their loss to Virginia Tech on Feb. 16 and close call against Virginia in their next game. They didn’t help their case in the conference tournament, either.

Notre Dame has been struggling without Dara Mabrey and Olivia Miles, and their lopsided loss to Louisville in the ACC tournament is proof of that. Still, overall body of work has to be considered when it comes to seeding. The Irish have great wins over teams such as UConn and Virginia Tech, plus a high NET ranking (8). They may struggle in March Madness without two of their starters, but that has nothing to do with seeding.

Texas is the surprise team on this list, but the Longhorns have crept back into favor in the past month. After a rocky start to the season, during which the Longhorns lost four of their first seven games and fell out of the AP poll, they’ve turned things around. They picked up a statement win over Oklahoma on Jan. 25 and are currently 11th in the NET rankings.

If the Tigers had a better resume heading into the conference tournament, they might have been able to hang onto a higher seed. But with no standout wins on their non-conference slate, LSU has to fall back on their two-loss record, which should give UConn an edge in the fight for a 2-seed. LSU’s consistency despite its weak schedule barely allows them to hang onto a 3-seed.

Villanova's Maddy Siegrist leads all scorers in NCAA Division I this season. (Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No. 4 seeds

Ohio State, UCLA, Oklahoma, Villanova

Ohio State is the surprise of this group. The Buckeyes started the season looking unbeatable, with an 18-0 record to match, but then as injuries to Madison Greene (out for the season), Jacy Sheldon and Rebeka Mikulasikova plagued the squad, they dropped seven of their last 13 games. But the Buckeyes have some fight left, and they proved it with a monumental win over Indiana in the Big Ten tournament. A 4-seed may seem a bit high, but no one in the 5 and 6 groups has done anything to show they are more worthy than the Buckeyes, who just executed a 24-point comeback over a team projected to be a No. 1 seed.

UCLA was sitting behind both Arizona and Colorado in seeding before it topped Stanford in the Pac-12 tournament, while the Buffs and the Wildcats went down early. The Bruins had a difficult January, dropping games to Arizona, Utah and Colorado, but then bounced back with four wins in a row. Add in the win over the conference’s top team, and UCLA has the resume for a 4-seed.

No. 5 seeds

Michigan, Arizona, Colorado, Louisville

The chaos of the Pac-12 tournament affected Arizona and Colorado in a big way. One win by each team and they might be hosting the first round. Instead, these squads find themselves on the 5-line. The Buffs in particular miss out, as they have been nearly unstoppable at home this season.

Michigan also didn’t help itself in the Big Ten tournament, nor in the games leading up to it. A loss to Ohio State looks better now that the Buckeyes beat Indiana, but Michigan’s resume is no better than any of the 4-seeds and no worse than the 6s.

Louisville’s appearance in the ACC championship game moves the Cardinals from a 6- to a 5-seed.

Florida State guard Ta'Niya Latson is a leading candidate for Freshman of the Year. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

No. 6 seeds

Florida State, North Carolina, Iowa State, Tennessee

The six-seeds are all teams that have gone through struggles and surprises this season. Florida State worked itself into the conversation when they beat North Carolina back in December, and since then, wins over NC State and Duke have only helped their case.

Tennessee struggled mightily out of the gate but settled into a good place as the season progressed. North Carolina has wins worthy of a higher seeding, but their inconsistency — the Tar Heels are 21-10 — keeps them from moving up.

Iowa State has stayed under the radar since Stephanie Soares tore her ACL and took the Cyclones out of national title conversations. Still, they’ve had a solid season, and as the Big 12 tournament begins, they can make a case to move up. For now, a 6-seed is a good spot for this team, which gets a boost by being 12th in the NET.

No. 7 seeds

Gonzaga, NC State, Creighton, Washington State

Of the 7-seeds, Gonzaga is the strongest. The likely WCC champions are 28-3, with quality wins over Tennessee and Louisville. They’ve also taken care of business in conference with just one loss.

NC State earns this position thanks to wins over Iowa and Notre Dame despite struggling overall in the ACC (8-8). The big upsets and a No. 18 ranking in the NET help the Wolfpack’s case.

Washington State is the surprise of this group. Before the Pac-12 tournament, the Cougars were among the last eight or so teams to earn a bid. Now, they not only have secured an automatic bid, they have played themselves up from a 10- or 11-seed and onto the 7-line. Topping Utah, Colorado and UCLA is no easy feat, but the Cougars pulled it off.

Creighton finished third in the Big East behind UConn and Villanova, with a victory over the latter helping the Blue Jays’ resume. They went on to lose a close game to the Wildcats in their conference tournament, but that doesn’t negatively impact the team overall.

USC snapped Stanford's 51-game winning streak against unranked opponents in January. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

No. 8 seeds

Illinois, Baylor, USC, South Florida

Illinois, Baylor and USC are all in the same boat. They’ve had amazing wins as well as head-scratching losses. But each team has enough quality victories to fall into the 8-seed category.

South Florida should lock up a No. 8 seed by winning the AAC but could fall if an upset occurs.

No. 9 seeds

Kansas, Miami, Marquette, Ole Miss

I know teams don’t earn their seeds based on games they almost won, but Ole Miss’ near upset of South Carolina in the regular season is indicative of how good the Rebels can be. They’ve held their own in the SEC with a 9-5 record and have wins over other potential tournament teams in Georgia and Arkansas.

Kansas and Marquette both spent time in the AP Top 25 this season but find themselves unranked at the moment. Miami is in the top half of a stacked ACC, having beaten North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Florida State, which makes them one of the stronger 9-seeds.

No. 10 seeds

Columbia, Purdue, Middle Tennessee, Alabama

Middle Tennessee is well-respected by AP voters, having been ranked in the Top 25 for the last few weeks. While the Blue Raiders play in Conference USA, which doesn’t earn them any points, they did beat Louisville in December and have been consistent since then.

Another notable 10-seed is Columbia, a potential sleeper in the NCAA Tournament. Led by sharpshooter Abbey Hsu and her 18.2 points per game, the Lions are 24-1 and atop the Ivy League standings.

Jayla Everett and St. John's took down No. 4 UConn late in the regular season. (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

No. 11 seeds

Florida Gulf Coast, St. John’s, Nebraska, Syracuse, Princeton

St. John’s played itself into the tournament by upsetting UConn late in the regular season, and Syracuse, Princeton and Nebraska are all on the bubble.

No. 12 seeds

UNLV, Oklahoma State, St. Louis, South Dakota State, Mississippi State

UNLV is another team that I would hate to match up with in the first round. The Runnin’ Rebels don’t get much love nationally while playing in the Mountain West, but that’s where the eye test comes in. UNLV has Power 5 talent, and if you watch them even once, it’s easy to see why they are a scary opponent.

St. Louis secured an automatic bid with a cinematic win over UMass in its conference final.

No. 13 seeds

Illinois State, Toledo, Green Bay, Long Beach State

Illinois State is fighting with Belmont for an automatic bid in the Missouri Valley, while Toledo is battling it out with Ball State in the Mid-American.

No. 14 seeds

James Madison, Iona, Boston, Drexel

The Boston Terriers are firmly in first place in the Patriot League and are the favorite to win the conference tournament. They went 17-1 in conference play this season.

No. 15 seeds

Albany, Fairleigh Dickinson, Montana State, Gardner-Webb

In the 15-seed group, Montana State stands out as a team with multiple wins over high-level opponents. The Bobcats defeated BYU and South Dakota State early in the season.

No. 16 seeds

Chattanooga / Norfolk State, Jackson State / SE Louisiana, Southern Utah, Tennessee State

All eyes will be on Jackson State this postseason after the Tigers nearly topped LSU in the first round of the 2022 tournament.

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