College Sports Madness Top 44 Preview: 2020-21

Ignatius L Hoops

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The countdown begins:

44. BYU
43. Penn
42. South Florida
41. Rutgers
40. Tennessee
39. Southern Cal
38. Boston College
37. Marquette
36. Texas
35. Florida State
34. LSU
33. North Carolina
32. MINNESOTA!
31. Georgia
30. West Virginia
29. Arizona State
28. TCU
27. Georgia Tech
26. Princeton
25. Missouri State
24. MIchigan
23. Gonzaga
22. DePaul
21. Syracuse
20. Northwestern
19. Oregon State
18. Texas A&M
17. Indiana
16. Arkansas
15. Notre Dame
14. Ohio State
13. Iowa State
12. Oregon
11. Kentucky
10. Maryland
9. UCLA
8. Louisville
7. North Carolina State
6. Arizona
5. Baylor
4. Mississippi State
3. Stanford
2. UConn
1. South Carolina
 
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Ignatius L Hoops

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #7 Big Ten
Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has continued to be a very good program under the leadership of C. Vivian Stringer. They have won at least19 games in five of those six seasons. However, it has only resulted in two trips to the NCAA Tournament and neither resulted in advancing past the first weekend. Last year would have been their third tournament appearance and with three starters back and talented newcomers coming in, Rutgers should find themselves right on the cusp of another tournament appearance.

2019-20 Record:
22-9, 11-7
Coach: C. Vivian Stringer
Coach Record: 521-286 at Rutgers, 1,041-421 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Khadaizha Sanders, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Jordan Wallace, Center, 7.6 ppg

Maori Davenport, Center, 2.7 ppg
Danielle Migliore, Guard, 2.5 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Arella Guirantes, Senior, Guard, 20.6 ppg
Tekia Mack, Senior, Guard/Forward, 11.5 ppg
Mael Gilles, Senior, Forward, 6.5 ppg

Zipporah Broughton, Junior, Guard, 3.6 ppg
Joiya Maddox, Sophomore, Guard, 2.7 ppg

Key New Players
Chyna Cornwell, Freshman, Forward
Stephanie Guihon, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Longwood
Diamond Johnson, Freshman, Guard
Erica Lafayette, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Destiny Marshall, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Jacksonville, not eligible
Elizabeth Martino, Freshman, Guard
Aicha Ndour, Freshman, Center
Sakima Walker, Freshman, Center

Projection:
Arella Guirantes will again lead the Scarlet Knights after averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 assists during her junior season. Guirantes was the most prolific and consistent three-point shooter on a team that rarely shot from long range. Obviously she does not have to hoist up a bunch of three’s to be a prolific scorer, but it is helpful that Guirantes can remain a threat from beyond the arc in order to open up more space for the rest of the team. Tekia Mack, a 5-11 wing, is another returning senior starter. She tallied 11.5 points and a team high 7.0 rebounds in 2019-2020. Mael Gilles brings that experience to the frontcourt, where she can use her shooting ability to stretch the defense. Diamond Johnson highlights a very impressive recruiting class. She is widely regarded as one of the best point guards in this class and she is expected to take over for the departed Khadaizha Sanders right away. Chyna Cornwell and Sakima Walker will add some depth to the frontcourt as freshmen and that will give Rutgers enough depth to remain competitive in the always difficult Big Ten.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 66.5 (149th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.7 (28, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.2 (80, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 35.6 (20, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.7 (275, 13)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.0 (179, 12)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.7 (175, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (85, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.0 (162, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.3 (81, 4)


Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:

#23 Diamond Johnson
#41 Sakima Walker
#55 Chyna Cornwell
#84 Liz Martino
 

Katogopher

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Hmm wonder who the other 6 top BIG teams are. In my mind I had Gophers around #7, behind Indy, Maryland, Michigan OSU, NW, Rutgers not necessarily in that order. Can never count out Iowa either.
 

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Well it looks like College Sport Madness really like the Gophers. Have Gophers at number 32, and 6th in BIG. Pleasantly surprise. On mobile device and could not paste the link here. Hopefully someone else can do it. Go Gophers!
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Minnesota Golden Gophers

Overall Rank: #32
Conference Rank: #6 Big Ten
This is an important season for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers are still trying to recapture the magic of the 2000’s when they went to six NCAA Tournament’s in seven years stretching from 2003 to 2009. Two years ago the program brought in Lindsay Whalen to lead the tea,. After finishing 21-11 with a trip to the WNIT in 2018-2019, Minnesota fell to 16-15 overall last year with a very disappointing 5-13 mark in Big Ten play. With the return of three double digit scorers, this should be the year the program finds some consistency and stability.

2019-20 Record:
16-15, 5-13
Coach: Lindsay Whalen
Coach Record: 37-26 at Minnesota, 37-26 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Destiny Pitts, Guard/Forward, 16.3 ppg
Taiye Bello, Forward, 11.8 ppg
Jasmine Brunson, Guard, 9.8 ppg

Masha Adashchyk, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Kehinde Bello, Forward, 1.3 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Jasmine Powell, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg
Gadiva Hubbard, Senior, Guard, 11.2 ppg
Sara Scalia, Sophomore, Guard, 10.8 ppg

Klarke Sconiers, Sophomore, Center, 2.5 ppg
Barbora Tomancova, Sophomore, Forward/Center, 0.8 ppg

Key New Players

Laura Bagwell Katalinich, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Cornell
Grace Cummings, RS Freshman, Forward
Erin Hedman, Freshman, Forward
Kayla Mershon, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Nebraska, pending waiver
Justice Ross, RS Freshman, Forward
Kadi Sissoko, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Syracuse
Alexia Smith, Freshman, Guard
Caroline Strande, Freshman, Guard
Daja Woodard, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer

Projection:
The backcourt trio of Jasmine Powell, Sara Scalia and Gadiya Hubbard will have to carry this team for now. Powell was just a part-time starter as a freshman, but still managed to average 12.1 points and a team high 3.1 assists. Powell is ready to emerge as the team’s top overall scoring threat. Scalia, another very promising sophomore, hit 36.9 percent of her attempts from beyond the arc. Hubbard, the lone returning upperclassmen on the roster, is another double digit scorer and the team’s most prolific three-point shooter. That is a great trio to build around, but the big questions are in the frontcourt where Coach Whalen has brought in a bunch of newcomers to help fill the void. Laura Bagwell Katalinich is a very experienced senior who comes from Cornell where she led the Big Red in scoring and rebounding last season. Kadi Sissoko also has some Division I experience after spending one season at Syracuse where she saw limited playing time. Daja Woodard spent a couple seasons at the junior college level and she should at least be a solid contributor on the defensive end of the floor. The highest rated freshmen are guards Alexia Smith and Caroline Strande, but forward Erin Hedman has the talent to make an impact right away too. Minnesota has a lot of questions after the three returning guards, but this team has talent. If the new pieces can come together, especially in the frontcourt, Minnesota could start to turn things around and be a competitive team in the Big Ten.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.6 (64th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.5 (270, 11)
Field-Goal Percentage: 39.5 (192, 12)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.8 (314, 12)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.7 (47, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.4 (21, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.4 (34, 1)
Rebound Margin: -1.4 (219, 12)
Assists Per Game: 12.7 (186, 12)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (83, 5)


Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:

#93 Alexia Smith
#95 Caroline Strande
#125 Erin Hedman
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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This was submitted before Leigha Brown became eligible.

Michigan Wolverines

Overall Rank: #24
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
Michigan did a good job of beating the teams they should have beaten last year. There really is not a bad loss on the schedule despite going just 10-8 in Big Ten play. With the exception of a 15 point win over Iowa in early February, there were not too many impressive victories either. What that means is this was a consistent team. With four starters and much of the depth returning, the hope is that this season the Wolverines can remain consistent, but be consistently better too.

2019-20 Record:
21-11, 10-8
Coach: Kim Barnes Arico
Coach Record: 177-96 at Michigan, 447-302 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kayla Robbins, Forward, 11.6 ppg

Priscilla Smeenge, Guard, 1.7 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Naz Hillmon, Junior, Forward, 17.4 ppg
Amy Dilk, Junior, Guard, 11.6 ppg
Akienreh Johnson, Senior, Guard, 10.3 ppg
Hailey Brown, Senior, Forward, 8.9 ppg

Izabel Varejao, Sophomore, Center, 5.4 ppg
Maddie Nolan, Sophomore, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Michelle Sidor, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Emily Kiser, Junior, Forward, 3.0 ppg
Danielle Rauch, Junior, Guard, 1.5 ppg

Key New Players
Leigha Brown, Junior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Nebraska, not eligible
Meghan Fiso, Freshman, Guard
Whitney Sollom, Freshman, Forward
Elise Struck, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Cameron Williams, Freshman, Forward

Projection:
Naz Hillmon followed up her Freshman of the Year campaign in 2018-2019 with another huge season in 2019-2020. The 6-2 junior led the team with 17.4 points and 8.7 rebounds and connected on 56.7 percent of her shots from the floor. Not many teams can stop Hillmon when she gets the ball in a good position in the paint. Hailey Brown will again start at small forward after averaging 8.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and totaling a team high 29 blocks. She also hit a team high 56 three-pointers. Izabel Varejao had a very promising freshman campaign, averaging 5.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and nearly one block per game despite averaging just 14.2 minutes per game. Expect to see Varejao put up bigger numbers with more playing time this season. The backcourt will again revolve around Amy Dilk and Akienreh Johnson. Dilk is a great point guard who can score in a variety of ways and set up her teammates. Johnson is a capable outside shooter, but does most of her scoring attacking the basket. Sophomores Maddie Nolan and Michelle Sidor should again provide quality depth off the bench. Those two can provide a nice offensive spark. The Big Ten has quite a bit of turnover this year, so returning four starters should see Michigan make a decent jump up the Big Ten standings and potentially even push for a conference title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.8 (63rd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.4 (144, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.7 (25, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.7 (222, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.8 (264, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.8 (97, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.1 (212, 11)
Rebound Margin: 7.8 (23, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (76, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.9 (186, 12)

Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#42 Cameron Williams
#65 Meghan Fiso
#103 Whitney Sollom
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Much is expected from the Hoosiers:

Indiana Hoosiers

Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten
This could be Indiana’s year. The Hoosiers finished last season at 24-7, which was their fifth straight season with 20 or more victories. With six of their top seven scorers returning, the Hoosiers have higher hopes than simply winning 20 games again. The Big Ten has quite a bit of turnover, but that is not the case in Bloomington and that could lead to Indiana’s best conference finish since they won the regular season title in 1983.

2019-20 Record:
24-8, 13-5
Coach: Teri Moren
Coach Record: 127-73 at Indiana, 325-203 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Brenna Wise, Forward, 7.9 ppg

Jorie Allen, Forward, 1.9 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Ali Patberg, Senior, Guard, 15.6 ppg
Grace Berger, Junior, Guard, 13.1 ppg

Mackenzie Holmes, Sophomore, Forward, 10.3 ppg
Jaelynn Penn, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Aleksa Gulbe, Junior, Forward, 9.0 ppg

Chanel Wilson, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Keyanna Warthen, Senior, Guard, 1.4 ppg
Hannah Noveroske, Sophomore, Center, 1.1 ppg

Key New Players
Kiandra Browne, Freshman, Forward
Nicole Cardano-Hillary, Junior, Guard, Grad Transfer from George Mason
Chloe Moore-McNiel, Freshman, Guard
Danielle Patterson, Junior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Notre Dame
Arielle Wisne, RS Freshman, Center

Projection:
All-Conference guard Ali Patberg is back for a sixth season after averaging 15.6 points and 5.3 assists in 2019-2020. An efficient shooter and scorer from everywhere on the floor, Patberg will be eyeing even more accolades this year. Grace Berger had a breakout junior campaign, ranking second on the team with 13.1 points per game. The 6-0 junior is not much of a shooter, but she does very well attacking the basket. The backcourt also returns senior starter Jaelynn Penn. Penn was the most prolific three-point shooter on the team last season and it will be important for her to be a more consistent threat on a team that shot just 30.3 percent from beyond the arc last season. Mackenzie Holmes and Aleksa Gulbe are back up front and both are proven interior scorers. If Indiana needed a little bit of depth, they got it with George Mason transfer Nicole Cardano-Hillary and Notre Dame transfer Danielle Patterson. Cardano-Hillary is George Mason’s all-time leading scorer and Patterson has the size to hit the glass and help out the frontcourt. But the Hoosiers still have to prove that they can consistently beat the best the Big Ten has to offer, most notably Maryland. The Terrapins beat IU three times last year and none of those games were closer than ten points.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 72.6 (38th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.4 (60, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.1 (13, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.3 (33, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 4.7 (274, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.3 (220, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (96, 5)
Rebound Margin: 4.2 (70, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (87, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.0 (71, 2)
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Ohio State Buckeyes

Overall Rank: #14
Conference Rank: #2 Big Ten
Following a disappointing 2018-2019 season, Ohio State finished 21-12 last season. It may not have been as impressive as their four year run from 2014 to 2018, but it was a step in the right direction. And with six of their top seven scorers returning, Coach Kevin McGuff’s team is poised to compete for a Big Ten title and make a deep NCAA Tournament run.

2019-20 Record:
21-12, 11-7
Coach: Kevin McGuff
Coach Record: 134-65 at Ohio State, 389-164 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kierstan Bell, Guard, 10.9 ppg

Janai Crooms, Guard, 6.8 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Dorka Juhasz, Junior, Forward, 13.2 ppg
Jacy Sheldon, Sophomore, Guard, 9.6 ppg
Braxtin Miller, Senior, Guard, 8.2 ppg
Aaliyah Patty, Junior, Forward, 7.8 ppg

Madison Greene, Sophomore, Guard, 7.7
Rebeka Mikulasikova, Sophomore, Forward, 7.7 ppg

Key New Players
Tanaya Beacham, Senior, Forward, Grad Transfer from Toledo
Rikki Harris, RS Freshman, Guard
Gabby Hutcherson, Freshman, Forward
Anyssa Jones, Freshman, Guard
Kateri Poole, Freshman, Guard
Hevynne Bristow, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Providence, not eligible

Projection:
Junior forward Dorka Juhasz is the lone returning player who averaged double digits in the scoring department. On top of her 13.2 points, Juhasz added 9.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. She earned All-Big Ten First-Team honors last season and will be among the favorites to earn Big Ten Player of the Year honors this season. Jacy Sheldon had a strong freshman campaign and averaged 9.6 points per game. She is a solid outside shooter and should emerge as the Buckeyes top scoring threat on the perimeter. Madison Greene is another promising sophomore who can shoot the ball. Braxtin Miller will again run the point after dishing out 3.5 assists per game last season. Aaliyah Patty will again start beside Juhasz and Ohio State has plenty of frontcourt depth. Rebeka Mikulasikova spent last season coming off the bench and the 6-4 sophomore will likely play that role again and the addition of Tanaya Beacham, a graduate transfer from Toledo, will give the Buckeyes plenty of experienced options. A solid recruiting class will largely benefit the backcourt with redshirt freshman Rikki Harris and incoming freshman Kateri Poole leading the way.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 71.5 (52nd in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.9 (212, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (51, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.0 (128, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.4 (57, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.1 (121, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (198, 9)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (167, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (47, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.2 (143, 9)

Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#32 Kateri Poole
#46 Gabby Hutcherson
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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They finally listed the 20th ranked team, Northwestern. Which at this point means the B1G is:

41 Rutgers
32 Minnesota
24 Michigan
20 Northwestern
17 Indiana
14 Ohio State


Northwestern Wildcats

Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #4 Big Ten
Northwestern was well on their way to their first NCAA Tournament since 2015. It would have been just their second appearance under Coach Joe McKeown, who took over the program in 2008. Of course the tournament never happened, but the Wildcats still won a share of the Big Ten title for the first time ever and the 2019-2020 campaign will be remembered in Evanston for a long time. The lack of experience in the frontcourt with the departures of Abi Scheid and Abbie Wolf may keep Northwestern from winning another Big Ten title, but the backcourt should carry them to the NCAA Tournament.

2019-20 Record:
26-4, 16-2
Coach: Joe McKeown
Coach Record: 175-160 at Northwestern, 684-334 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Abi Scheid, Forward/Center, 11.5 ppg
Abbie Wolf, Forward/Center, 11.3 ppg

Byrdy Galernik, Guard, 2.8 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Lindsey Pulliam, Senior, Guard, 18.8 ppg
Veronica Burton, Junior, Guard, 11.6 ppg
Sydney Wood, Junior, Guard, 5.1 ppg

Jordan Hamilton, Senior, Guard, 5.0 ppg
Courtney Shaw, Junior, Forward. 3.9 ppg
Laya Hartman, Sophomore, Guard, 0.8 ppg

Key New Players
Jasmine McWilliams, Freshman, Guard
Anna Morris, Freshman, Forward
Paige Mott, Freshman, Forward

Projection:
Lindsey Pulliam has led the team in scoring for three years. She will make it four in 2020-2021. Last year the senior guard averaged 18.8 points and added 2.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds. She can score from anywhere on the floor and the opposition has had three years to figure out how to contain Pulliam with very little success. Juniors Veronica Burton and Sydney Wood will again join Pulliam in the starting backcourt. Burton is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after totaling an impressive 100 steals last season. But Burton is not just about defense; she also was second on the team with 11.6 points per game and led the Wildcats with 5.1 assists. Wood is also a very good ballhandler and ranked third in the conference with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. Wood will not put up big numbers, but she is a key piece to the backcourt. The frontcourt returns just one contributor in junior Courtney Shaw. She averaged fewer than a dozen minutes per game, but was relatively productive in that time. Northwestern will rely heavily on incoming freshmen Anna Morris and Paige Mott. Morris is one of the best recruits Northwestern has had in the last decade. If that leads to immediate frontcourt productivity, this is a team that will stay right in the mix for a Big Ten title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.9 (60th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.1 (31, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (38, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 37,5 (64, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.9 (165, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (26, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 60.3 (205, 10)
Rebound Margin: 0.6 (168, 10)
Assists Per Game: 18.2 (9, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (12, 1)

Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#59 Anna Morris
#122 Jasmine McWilliams
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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This completes the B1G:

41 Rutgers
32 Minnesota
24 Michigan
20 Northwestern
17 Indiana
14 Ohio State
10. Maryland


Maryland Terrapins

Overall Rank: #10
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
Maryland has won five Big Ten titles since joining the conference six seasons ago. The other year they finished way back in second. Until proven otherwise, the Terrapins will remain the team to beat in the conference. However, the rest of the Big Ten does have some hope in 2020-2021 as Coach Brenda Frese attempts to replace all five starters.

2019-20 Record:
28-4, 16-2
Coach: Brenda Frese
Coach Record: 486-128 at Maryland, 543-158 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Kaila Charles, Guard, 14.3 ppg
Shakira Austin, Forward, 12.0 ppg
Stephanie Jones, Forward, 11.3 ppg
Taylor Mikesell, Guard, 11.2 ppg
Blair Watson, Guard, 7.8 ppg

Sara Vujacic, Guard, 3.5 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Ashley Owusu, Sophomore, Guard, 12.0 ppg
Diamond Miller, Sophomore, Guard, 7.7 ppg
Faith Masonius, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 3.8 ppg
Channise Lewis, Junior, Guard, dnp last season

Key New Players
Katie Benzan, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Harvard
Chloe Bibby, Senior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Mississippi State
Mimi Collins, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Tennessee
Taisiya Kozlova, Freshman, Guard
Angel Reese, Freshman, Forward/Guard
Zoe Young, RS Freshman, Guard

Projection:
Despite losing all five starters, Maryland does return a double digit scorer who started half of the team’s games last season. Ashley Owusu had a very productive freshman campaign, averaging 12.0 points and 5.4 assists. She earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades and is suddenly the experienced leader on this team. A couple of other sophomores will look for more playing time this season too. Diamond Miller and Faith Masonius were the clear second and third options for Maryland off the bench in 2019-2020. That experience, and more available minutes, should lead to more production this time around. The only returning upperclassman is Channise Lewis, who missed last season. The point guard was a part-time starter two years ago and dished out 5.4 assists. Three Division I transfers will bring more experience to the roster. Katie Benzan was an All-Ivy League First-Team honoree three times before coming to College Park. Chloe Bibby was a starter at Mississippi State and is a solid rebounder and shooter. Mimi Collins spent just one season at Tennessee where she averaged 5.5 points and rebounds. While all of that experience is great, Maryland fans are most excited about incoming freshman Angel Reese. The 6-3 wing is the highest ranked incoming recruit in Maryland history and will make a huge impact right away. There are a lot of new pieces here, but Coach Frese has the talent and depth she needs to win another Big Ten title.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 82.8 (4th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 57.0 (29, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.8 (11, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.6 (42, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (115, 6)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.6 (16, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.7 (139, 6)
Rebound Margin: 8.7 (16, 1)
Assists Per Game: 18.3 (8, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (120, 8)

Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#3 Angel Reese
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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At number #1: South Carolina (the Gamecocks are currently leading Charleston 30-7 at the end of the first quarter).

South Carolina Gamecocks

Overall Rank: #1
Conference Rank: #1 SEC
Following two seasons in which South Carolina did not win the SEC, the Gamecocks returned to dominance in 2019-2020. Coach Dawn Staley’s team went 16-0 in conference play and 32-1 on the season. Their lone loss came in November against Indiana. They beat the likes of Maryland, Baylor and Connecticut last year, not to mention everybody in the SEC. Heading into 2020-2021, South Carolina is the clear team to beat in the nation. Two starters are gone, but everybody else is back and this group should pick up right where they left off.

2019-20 Record:
32-1, 16-0
Coach: Dawn Staley
Coach Record: 305-98 at South Carolina, 477-178 overall

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan, Forward, 13.1 ppg
Tyasha Harris, Guard, 12.1 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Ailyah Boston, Sophomore, Forward, 12.5 ppg
Zia Cooke, Sophomore, Guard, 12.1 ppg

Destanni Henderson, Junior, Guard, 8.6 ppg
LeLe Grissett, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Brea Beal, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 ppg
Victoria Saxton, Junior, Forward, 5.5 ppg
Laeticia Amihere, Sophomore, Forward, 4.9 ppg
Olivia Thompson, Sophomore, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Elysa Wesolek, Junior, Forward, 1.4 ppg

Key New Players
Destiny Littleton, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Texas
Eniya Russell, Freshman, Guard

Projection:
Coach Staley started three freshmen last year and that trio is suddenly experienced sophomores who will be the leaders of this team. Ailyah Boston proved to be a massive force in the paint, averaging 12.5 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Zia Cooke averaged 12.1 points per game during her freshman campaign and knocked down a team high 40 three-pointers. Brea Beal did not make much of an impact in the scoring department, but she will get an opportunity to look for her shot more this time around. Laeticia Amihere only averaged 13.0 minutes per game as a freshman, but she has the potential to team up with Boston to form a solid frontcourt duo. Junior Victoria Saxton will be asked to play more in the frontcourt as well in an effort to replace Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan. Junior Destanni Henderson should step into a larger role this season as well after averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 assists off the bench in 2019-2020. Texas transfer Destiny Littleton is coming off a couple ankle injuries, but she could give the Gamecocks a much needed outside shooting threat if healthy. Incoming freshman Eniya Russell has the talent to make an impact right away, but there is more than enough talent on this team to not have to rely on their only freshman on the roster. With this much talent and experience, South Carolina should cruise to an SEC title and be in a great position to win another national championship.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 82.0 (6th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.1 (20, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.0 (10, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 33.3 (4, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.1 (247, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.9 (40, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.8 (171, 8)
Rebound Margin: 12.4 (3, 1)
Assists Per Game: 16.1 (26, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (41, 5)

Madness 2020 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#37 Eniya Russell
 
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