South Carolina Gamecocks: Finishing The Job
The great architect Dawn Staley is back with her Lady Gamecocks, fresh off of leading Team USA women to the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo this summer.
After last year’s tough Final Four loss to Stanford, Staley once again landed the No. 1 recruiting class.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 31, 2021
And guess what? Staley’s entire squad is back for another run with the addition of incoming freshman sensation Raven Johnson. Johnson is the only female to ever play in the Allen Iverson Classic. This team is primed for a long run with Staley at the helm.
Uconn: Relocked & Reloaded
Geno Auriemma has won 11 national titles (the most ever), but it’s been five years since his team played in a title game. Led by last year’s college Player of the Year Paige Bueckers and 2021 No. 1 overall recruit Azzi Fudd, the Lady Huskies will be a joy to watch.
Get into it pic.twitter.com/ZIGCSQNugT
— UConn Women’s Basketball (@UConnWBB) September 25, 2021
The word around the country is Geno’s back on top. His entire junior class returns, and the hope is they’ll provide leadership and look to make one last run in Storrs. Remember the name Caroline Ducharme. She was the No. 5-ranked player in the 2021 recruiting class, and with them adding Fudd no one seems to be talking much about her. She can flat-out boogie.
Stanford Cardinals: Defending NCAA Champions
The Stanford Cardinal had a historical 2020-2021, giving head coach Tara VanDerveer her third national championship and first since 1992. This squad is primed to run it back.
With 2021 Final Four Most Outstanding Player Haley Jones returning to lead the team as a junior, the Cardinal already has a proven go-to player. She’ll team with Lexi Hull to provide leadership and shotmaking at a high level. The Cardinal has great size and athleticism in the frontcourt with twin towers Cameron Brink and Fran Belibi.
Few coaches in the history of collegiate basketball have been as consistent and efficient as VanDerveer. She’s been leading the Cardinals since 1996.
Maryland: College Park Killers
Brenda Frese has turned Maryland into a powerhouse and national championship contender just about yearly in College Park. She put Maryland on the national map in 2006 when she won it on the strength of a dynamic recruiting class that included Kristi Toliver, Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne.
One of Frese’s strengths is getting underclassmen to perform well early in their careers. Last season the Lady Terps led the nation in scoring until they were locked down by eventual No.1 overall Charlie Collier and the Texas Longhorns in the Sweet 16. Ashley Owusu leads the way with Angel Reese, Diamond Miller, and a ton of quality depth.
Other Title Threats
Louisville, N.C. State, Indiana, Iowa, and Oregon are all talented squads capable of going on a run.
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) September 30, 2021
It will be interesting to watch how Baylor responds to having lost legendary coach Kim Mulkey, who went home to coach LSU. Former Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen has her work cut out for her in Waco, but the cupboard is hardly devoid of talent.
Should be a fun and entertaining college basketball season with lots of great games and epic battles.