The Women’s NCAA Tournament consists of three weeks in the NCAA’s controlled environment in San Antonio. The action, however, will be out of control as the talent is abundant and future WNBA superstars will be on display.
Dawn Staley‘s South Carolina women’s basketball team is on a mission to get back to the promised land for the first time since 2017.
READ MORE: Dawn Staley Finally Cuts Down Her Own Net
Superstar Aliyah Boston plans to get them there this year. The sophomore forward accrued an impressive collection of postseason awards: first-team AP All-American, SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year, first-team all-SEC, SEC tournament Most Outstanding Player.
She is a finalist for the Lisa Leslie Award, given to the nation’s top center.
Boston followed up a historic freshman season with an increase in production, averaging a double-double with 13.0 points and 11.7 rebounds per game along with almost three blocks per game.
South Carolina is a No. 1 seed in its region and finished the regular season No. 6 overall in the country. With Boston on her game, Staley’s crew has enough sauce to emerge out of an Uber competitive field.
Dana Evans (Louisville)
The fiesty 5-foot-6 guard from Gary, Indiana was recently named a first-team AP All-American, espnW and Sports Illustrated First Team All-American and also a finalist for the Naismith Award.
The multi-talented baller is averaging 20.0 PPG, is shooting just over 35% from beyond the 3-point line, and is one of the best free-throw shooters in the country at 92%.
Regardless of what she does in the NCAA Tournament (No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals have to get past No. 1 seeds Stanford and UConn, to advance to the title game), Evans is going to be a first-round pick in the WNBA Draft.
Paige Bueckers (UConn)
Paige Bueckers took the baton from Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu as the next generational talent in women’s college basketball. She has lived up to the hype in her first season and is looking to help UConn capture its 12th title and the first since Breanna Stewart ran off three in a row from 2014-2016
The AP All-American and Naismith Award finalist averaged 19.7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and just over 6.0 APG, as she led the young Huskies to a Big East regular season and tournament championship and another No. 1 seed.
Bueckers joins a long line of legendary Huskies players who have left indelible marks on college and professional hoops and paved the way for thousands of young girls to come. To solidify herself among the UConn greats she has to win at least one title.
Aari McDonald (Arizona)
McDonald returned to Arizona to win a national championship and she’s been dedicated to the task. The senior averaged 19.3 PPG and 5.1 RPG for the Wildcats while distinguishing herself as one of the country’s best defenders.
Charli Collier (Texas)
No. 6 Texas will have its hands full against No. 11 Bradley in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
The 6-foot-5 Collier — a draft-eligible junior who projects as the top pick in the WNBA Draft — is averaging 20.9 points and 12.2 rebounds will have to lead them. She’s a monster inside with lit faceup skills. She went off for 44 against North Texas back in November.
Her potential is limitless. If she can keep control of her emotions, this is the perfect platform to solidify her standing in the draft and consider leaving school early.
Want to give some love to the big girls, the centers who still get their checks in the paint and handle some of the dirty work getting busy on the block. Their contributions are noted.
Elizabeth Kitley (Virginia Tech)
The 6-foot-5 sophomore center was first-team All-ACC. She averaged an impactful double-double (18.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG) while leading the seventh-seeded Hokies to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 15 years.
Kamilla Cardoso (Syracuse)
The intimidating 6-7 center was the media’s pick for ACC freshman of the year, averaging 13.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 2.6 BPG.