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On3's post-spring Women's Basketball Top 25 rankings

Talia-HS-white-300x300by:Talia Goodman05/13/24


Plenty has changed since the 2023-24 season concluded. The transfer portal saw more than 1,300 entries, including some of the biggest names in the sport. Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Cameron Brink started their rookie seasons in the WNBA and legendary Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer retired.

While a few big names remain in the transfer portal, rosters are mostly set for the 2024-25 season, so here are On3’s post-spring Top 25 Women’s Basketball rankings about six months before the season kicks off.

1. USC Trojans

(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

The USC Trojans couldn’t have hoped for a better offseason than they had. 

They added two of the best available transfers in Stanford star Kiki Iriafen and Oregon State transfer Talia von Oelhoffen. They also have the best incoming freshmen class in the country, highlighted by Kennedy Smith, a California native who ranks as a top-10 recruit in the country. 

The team will still be centered around sophomore JuJu Watkins, who plays the game at a higher level than nearly everyone in the country. But having high-level talent surrounding her makes this team my early national title favorite.

2. South Carolina Gamecocks

Dawn Staley
(Kirby Lee | USA TODAY Sports)

The South Carolina Gamecocks are coming off a national title in 2024 and have a real chance at going back-to-back. They lose 6-foot-7 center Kamilla Cardoso to the WNBA but return everyone else, including Te-Hina Paopao, MiLaysia Fulwiley and Raven Johnson. They also add the No. 3 freshman in the country, forward Joyce Edwards

Don’t doubt the Gamecocks – we all saw how that turned out last season. 

3. UConn Huskies

Paige Bueckers
(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

UConn will have no shortage of talent, as long as the Huskies can stay healthy. Paige Bueckers returns for her final season in Storrs and Azzi Fudd is expected to be healthy and ready to go. She hasn’t played a full season since her freshman campaign, but she’ll be a large factor in the Huskies’ fate next season. 

UConn will also add the No. 1 freshman in the country, Sarah Strong, who should have an immediate impact. Their lone offseason addition is grad transfer Kaitlyn Chen, who’s coming off of a phenomenal senior campaign at Princeton. Last season, six players suffered season-ending injuries. Health will be key for the Huskies. 

4. Texas Longhorns

(USA Today)

The Texas Longhorns have one of the most talented backcourts in the country in Rori Harmon, Madison Booker, Michigan transfer Laila Phelia and Shay Holle. They lost a few pieces to the portal, but with two top 10 freshmen heading to Austin and Harmon returning from a torn ACL, hopes are high for the Longhorns.

5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

notre dame women's basketball
(Photo by Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

Hannah Hidalgo, Maddy Westbeld, Sonia Citron and Olivia Miles’ return from injury was enough for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to be a preseason top-10 team, and then they went ahead and added two big names from the transfer portal. 

The additions of Marquette transfer Liza Karlen and Pittsburgh transfer Liatu King give the Irish depth and experience to an already-loaded roster. Coach Niele Ivey also brings in the No. 5 freshman in Kate Koval.

6. UCLA Bruins

Kiki Rice, UCLA
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

The UCLA Bruins return key pieces in Kiki Rice and Lauren Betts, along with adding former Washington State standout point guard Charlisse Leger-Walker. She’ll help replace Charisma Osborne.

The Bruins’ most recent addition is Oregon State transfer Timea Gardiner, another top portal player with two years of eligibility remaining. With an impressive incoming class of newcomers and a solid core of returners, UCLA has the pieces to make a deep postseason run.

7. LSU Tigers

Flau'jae Johnson-LSU Tigers-LSU basketball-NIL
(USA Today Network)

LSU brought in another major portal haul, but that didn’t quite jive the way the Tigers hoped it would last season. Hopefully, this loaded group of Shayeann Day-Wilson (Miami), Kailyn Gilbert (Arizona), Jersey Wolfenbarger (Arkansas) and Mjracle Sheppard (Mississippi State) will adjust to their roles. The Tigers may struggle following the departures of Angel Reese (WNBA) and Hailey van Lith (portal) but the transfers they landed should help ease that transition.

LSU still returns a group of high-level talent in Flau’jae Johnson, Aneesah Morrow and Mikaylah Williams. The Tigers are primed for success yet again but need to make sure the team chemistry is strong among newcomers.

8. Iowa State Cyclones

Audi Crooks
(The Ames Tribune)

The Iowa State Cyclones had a phenomenal offseason, between retaining their two impact freshmen, keeping fifth-year senior Emily Ryan and surrounding Audi Crooks with talented pieces. Crooks and Addy Brown each had incredible freshmen campaigns – and they’ll build this team with that pair in mind. 

Iowa State brings in Marquette transfer Mackenzie Hare, TCU’s Sydney Harris, Oregon State sharpshooter Lily Hansford and UMass transfer Lily Taulelei. That’s one heck of a haul. With all those options, the Cyclones could be unguardable next season. 

9. NC State Wolfpack

Zoe Brooks
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

The NC State Wolfpack returns a key core including Aziaha James, Saniya Rivers, Zoe Brooks and Madison Hayes following their Final Four run last season. They’ll surely miss the leadership and experience of Mimi Collins and River Baldwin, but the Wolfpack didn’t need to go digging for too much in the portal. They made one lone addition, Patriot League player of the year Caitlin Weimar out of Boston University

10. Duke Blue Devils

(Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

Duke has the potential to be really good this season, but there are a lot of unknowns. The Blue Devils were young last season, so on the plus side, they’ll return nearly everyone from a season ago. 

But there was a lot of inconsistency in Duke’s 2023-24 season. They made it to the Sweet Sixteen after taking down Ohio State, but the question marks stem from the offseason improvements of the youngsters. There’s no lack of depth here – the Blue Devils were one of few Power-4 schools that didn’t have a player enter the transfer portal. Duke also adds Maryland transfer Riley Nelson and a freshman class that includes two top-20 recruits.

11. Baylor Bears

The Baylor Bears added only one transfer during the offseason, but it was a splashy addition. Aaronette Vonleh out of Colorado should be a great fit at Baylor. She averaged 14 points and 5.2 rebounds last season and will aid an already talented backcourt.  

Baylor returns forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs, Sarah Andrews and Jada Walker as well. They’ll be without last season’s leading scorer Dre’Una Edwards, but they’ll have options to replace that scoring elsewhere. 

12. Oklahoma Sooners

The Oklahoma Sooners have a big-time transfer addition and a roster full of veteran returners that looks very, very good on paper. Oregon State 6-foot-4 transfer Raegan Beers chose the Sooners over UConn and there’s no overstating how huge that is for Oklahoma, both in size and talent. 

She was one of the best forwards in the country and still has two seasons of eligibility, but the Sooners also return a loaded core of co-Big 12 player of the year Skylar Vann, Payton Verhulst, Lexy Keys and freshman Sahara Williams. This is a team full of experience. 

13. Louisville Cardinals

Louisville didn’t hit the portal hard, but that’s because they really didn’t have to. The Cardinals return Olivia Cochran, Jayda Curry and Nyla Harris, while also adding two top-25 freshmen.

They’ll lose a decent chunk of production but will look for the underclassmen to fill in some gaps and the addition of Miami transfer Ja’Leah Williams to aid on the defensive end. 

14. Kansas State Wildcats

Returning leading scorer and rebounder Ayoka Lee is massive for this Kansas State squad. She averaged 19.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks last season while shooting 62% from the field. They’ll also return Serena Sundell, Jaelyn Glenn and Zyanna Walker and landed two additions from the portal. 

The most significant newcomer is Tulsa transfer Temira Poindexter, who averaged 21 points last season as a junior. The Wildcats have a talented, proven roster heading into the season.  

15. West Virginia Mountaineers

The West Virginia Mountaineers will return their two leading scorers in Jordan Harrison and JJ Quinerly after nearly knocking off Iowa in the NCAA Tournament. Coach Mark Kellogg’s first season at the helm was a success, and the Mountaineers return a big chunk of their production. The Mountaineers also added Auburn transfer Sydney Shaw

16. Ohio State Buckeyes

Between the return of Taylor Thierry and Cotie McMahon, incoming freshman Jaloni Cambridge (No. 2 in the country) and the transfer additions of Kentucky’s Ajae Petty and Oregon’s Chance Gray, the Ohio State Buckeyes have the potential to be great. Sure, they’ll miss Jacy Sheldon who was picked fifth overall in the WNBA Draft, but the transfers they brought in filled their targeted needs and they pounced early on portal action. 

17. Iowa Hawkeyes

Yes, Caitlin Clark is gone. There’s no replacing her. But if you wanted to try, the best option on the market would be Villanova’s Lucy Olsen, and she’s now an Iowa Hawkeye. Iowa also still has Hannah Stuelke and Sydney Affolter and a group of talented incoming freshmen. Too many people are underestimating Lisa Bluder and the Hawkeyes – and I’m not going to be one of them. 

18. North Carolina Tar Heels

North Carolina returns Lexi Donarski and Alyssa Ustby for their fifth seasons, but Deja Kelly entered the transfer portal and recently committed to Oregon. There are a decent amount of unknowns in how newcomers Grace Townsend, a transfer from Richmond, and a group of highly-ranked freshmen will slot into this squad. Donarski and Ustby will hold a lot of responsibility heading into this season, and the Tar Heels can afford to take some time to mesh before ACC play starts up. 

19. Maryland Terrapins

Coach Brenda Frese got to work and the Maryland Terrapins were one of the biggest winners of the transfer portal. They added Arkansas transfer Saylor Poffenbarger, VCU’s Sarah Te-Biasu, Rutgers’ Kaylene Smikle and UConn transfer Amari DeBerry

But they also return some of their best talent in Bri McDaniel, Shyanne Sellers and Allie Kubek. They lost a decent amount of depth, whether it be to the portal or they through eligibility, so the transfer additions were necessary.

20. TCU Horned Frogs

Not only does TCU return Sedona Prince for her final year of eligibility, but they still have Madison Conner who thrived in her first season after transferring from Arizona. Combined, the pair averaged 38.9 points and 14.4 rebounds. 

The Horned Frogs also added three significant portal pieces, including former Louisville Cardinal and LSU Tiger Hailey van Lith, who elected to play one more year of college basketball instead of declaring for the WNBA Draft. TCU also adds Kentucky transfer Maddie Scherr and USC transfer Taylor Bigby for a roster full of talent.

21. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State retains most of its starting core, including Ta’Niya Latson, who averaged 21.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 steals as a sophomore last season. Makayla Timpson and point guard O’Mariah Gordon will also return and the Seminoles added Malea Williams out of Cincinnati and junior college transfer Raiane Dias Dos Santos

22. Alabama Crimson Tide

The Alabama Crimson Tide return four of their five leading scorers from a year ago. Aaliyah Nye entered the transfer portal but ultimately decided to return to Tuscaloosa. Alabama also added a few pieces from the portal, including Ohio State transfer Diana Collins, Campbell forward Christabel Ezumah and Arkansas Pine-Bluff’s Zaay Green, who averaged 16.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.2 steals last season. 

23. Indiana Hoosiers

The Indiana Hoosiers lose their All-American, Mackenzie Holmes, to the WNBA and sharpshooter Sara Scalia is out of eligibility, but plenty of talent remains in Bloomington. Seniors Chloe Moore-McNeil and Sydney Parrish returned for their fifth seasons and Lexus Bargesser has two years of eligibility left. 

Bargesser and Lilly Meister need to take significant jumps for this team to be a contender. But the Hoosiers also added a capable shooter in Penn State transfer Shay Ciezki and post depth in Tennessee’s Karoline Striplin

24. Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss returns a veteran core of Kennedy Todd-Williams, Madison Scott and KK Deans, who’s coming back from an injury she suffered early last season. But the Rebels also made an impact in the portal, adding Michigan State transfer DeeDee Hagemann, UCLA’s Christeen Iwuala and Arkansas Pine-Bluff transfer Starr Jacobs, who last played in the 2022-23 season. This added depth will aid Ole Miss next season in a tough SEC conference. 

25. Utah Utes

The Utah Utes lost Alissa Pili to the WNBA but will return Gianna Kneepkens, who missed much of last season due to injury. They’ll also retain plenty of veteran talent and add Michigan transfer Chyra Evans and Rhode Island’s Mayé Touré, who flipped her commitment from Maryland to the Utes.