Women’s Pre-Season Rankings
- Baylor-With Player of the Year winner, Brittney Griner returning for her senior year, Baylor is expected to have a season similar to their championship season last year. At 6’8”, Griner, who averaged 23.4 points per game last season, gives Baylor an advantage over their opponents.
- Notre Dame– Notre Dame’s senior guard, Skylar Diggins (16.8 ppg), was the only Big East player to be honored as a 1st Team All-American. This year she has been chosen as the preseason conference player of the year. Notre Dame also has two starters and eight veterans returning this season, which should help revive last season’s championship hopes.
- Tennessee– The Lady Vols program began preseason practice without Pat Summit as the head coach for the first time since 1974. Summit made the decision to step aside after 38 seasons as head coach after being diagnosed with early-onset dementia. With the return of six letter-winners, including senior Taber Spani, the Lady Vols are looking to continue on the track where Summit left off.
- Connecticut– The Huskies have three players who were selected for the Pre-season All-Big East 1st team. Freshman center Breanna Stewart was named the 2012-13 Pre-season Big East Freshman of the Year. The Huskies are looking to maintain their reputation as a top women’s basketball program.
- Stanford– The twelve-time defending Pac-12 champion Stanford Cardinal enters the 2012-13 season with ongoing streaks. They own the nation’s longest home winning streak, having won 79 games in a row at Maples Pavilion that started back in the 2007-08 season, and have won a conference-record 78 straight games against Pac-12 schools. This year’s Cardinal squad returns four starters from 2011-12’s NCAA Final Four lineup that went 35-2 overall and 18-0 in the Pac-12.
- Texas A & M– The Aggies are coming off of a 24-11 season but excitement is spreading two-fold this fall with the program’s best-ever non-conference schedule as well as the ground-breaking entry into the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M will start the season with consecutive games against nationally-ranked opponents. The Aggies will be looking for junior Kelsey Bone to take first round WNBA draft pick Danielle Adams’ place and lead the team in scoring.
- Miami (FL)– The Canes have had three straight 20-win campaigns, and despite another challenging schedule, a fourth is in reach. After an ACC-leading 68 three-pointers as a junior, Stefanie Yderstrom enters her senior season looking to have an equally successful year and take over as a leader of this team.
- Duke– Duke is returning with four starters and ten letter-winners from last year’s team that had a 27-6 overall record and made it to the NCAA Tournament Elite 8. The Blue Devils returned 88.7% of their scoring from a year ago, including All-America selections, junior Chelsea Gray and sophomore Elizabeth Williams.
- Louisville– Unanimous Preseason All-Big East selection Shoni Schimmel returns to lead the Cardinals in her junior season. Schimmel was named an All-Big East First Team selection and finished league play ranked 11th in scoring, sixth in assists, and fourth in steals. Monique Reid, an honorable mention selection, saw action in eight games last season and was the team’s leading, averaging 13.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game before she had a season ending injury.
- Maryland– With only 11 players on the roster, it is impressive to see this team ranked in the Top 10. Senior Alyssa Thomas, ACC Player of the Year in the 2011-12 season, will be expected to step up and lead this team to another ACC Championship.
- Georgetown– For the third-consecutive year, senior shooting guard Sugar Rodgers was a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big East Team. Last year, the shooting guard led the Hoyas to a solid season with a record of 23-9 and a mark of 11-5 in Big East play. Georgetown spent the entire season in the national rankings moving as high as No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
- Georgia– With 7 seniors, leadership won’t be hard to come by on this veteran team. Yet with 5 freshmen, the experienced players are going to be expected to step up to the plate and lead this team through the season. This team has a lot of speed and quickness, and this athleticism is what will move them forward.
- Florida State– Florida State junior forward Natasha Howard nabbed preseason All-ACC honors. Howard led the ACC in double-doubles with 12 a year ago and is one of just two returning players in the conference who captured all-league and ACC All-Defensive Team accolades in 2011-12. The Toledo, Ohio native averaged 12.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks last season, while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor.
- Penn State– The three captains of the team are seniors that will continue to make a big impact on this program. Alex Bentley was on the All-Big Ten first team for the second-straight season after finishing second in the Big Ten and in the Top 20 nationally in steals, averaging 3.0 per game. Mia Nickson was named to the NCAA Tournament Kingston All-Region team after tallying 19 points, five rebounds and two steals against eventual National Semi-finalist Connecticut.
- Kentucky-The Wildcats are coming off a year where they finished 28-7 and won just their second regular season Southeastern Conference title in school history and their first since 1981-82. After making it to the NCAA tournament for their third consecutive year and advancing to the 2012 Elite Eight, the Wildcats are looking to do it again. The Wildcats welcome back four starters, including Senior A’dia Mathies, who was the 2012 SEC Player of the Year.
1st Team All-American:
- Brittney Griner (Sr.)- Baylor
- Elena Delle Donne (Sr.)- Delaware
- Skylar Diggins (Sr.)- Notre Dame
- Alyssa Thomas (Jr.)- Maryland
- Chiney Ogwumike (Jr.)- Stanford
Madison Zanotto is a Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball.