A team from the Big Ten has not won the NCAA women’s basketball championship since 1999, when a Purdue team led by Ukari Figgs won the whole the thing.
Since then, the Big East, the Big 12, the ACC, the SEC and the American have all had teams take home the national title. A Big Ten team hasn’t appeared in the national final since 2005, when Michigan State fell to Baylor.
While Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Indiana have opportunities to improve next season, there’s really one Big Ten team whose chances of making the Final Four stand out among the rest.
That team is based in College Park, Maryland.
Still, Brenda Frese’s team is built to accomplish big things next year. Maryland’s top five scorers are all back, anchored by a trio of rising seniors in Charles, Jones and Watson. Charles is a near-lock to be a preseason All-American, Jones is a veteran in the post and an efficient scorer and Watson can do a little bit of everything, in addition to being a solid three-point shooter.
Maryland should also get a boost from another strong incoming recruiting class, which is headlined by Ashley Owusu, who is pegged by ESPN as the fifth best player in the nation and the overall top point guard. The Terps are also set to get five-star guards Diamond Miller, Zoe Young and Faith Masonius, all ranked inside the top 50 recruits in the nation by ESPN.