South Carolina bought its NCAA title rings, and the Gamecocks and 16 different prime 25 groups bought their ft moist because the 2022-23 girls’s basketball season opened Monday.
Only one prime 25 workforce misplaced: No. 21 Creighton, the Cinderella of the 2022 girls’s NCAA match, beat No. 23 South Dakota State.
From freshmen getting their first style of the faculty sport to transfers introducing themselves to new followers to fifth-year tremendous seniors making their final go-rounds, it was a buzzy day. Expect the surprises and upsets to occur quickly, as a result of we have solely simply begun.
ESPN’s Alexa Philippou, Charlie Creme and M.A. Voepel take a look at among the issues that stood out most — and what they could imply for the remainder of the season — on opening day.
Are the Gamecocks even higher?
Defending nationwide champion South Carolina misplaced one starter, Destanni Henderson, from final season however returned nationwide participant of the 12 months Aliyah Boston. As good because the Gamecocks had been final season at 35-2, may they be an improved workforce this season?
Sure, a 101-31 opening victory over East Tennessee State was nothing like a take a look at. But it confirmed the Gamecocks veterans could have loads of reinforcement. Consider freshmen like Ashlyn Watkins, a 6-foot-3 ahead who had 11 factors, eight rebounds and two blocks in her faculty debut. Her efficiency was a part of 47 factors South Carolina bought from its bench.
Coach Dawn Staley talked afterward about how she felt each particular person returning bought higher. Considering the Gamecocks had no apparent weak point final 12 months, if there was a giant query this season it was precisely how the purpose guard duties could be coated with Henderson gone. Monday’s sport signifies it may be a shared chore, no less than for some time, with redshirt freshman Raven Johnson main the way in which with 4 assists. So opponents may not wish to hear it, however yeah, this may very well be a fair harder South Carolina workforce to beat. — M.A. Voepel
New favourite within the ACC?
Cayla King nails the trey vs. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
No. 13 Virginia Tech has some lofty expectations this season constructed principally round Elizabeth Kitley, Ashley Owusu and Taylor Soule. The Hokies dominated Mount St. Mary’s 101-45, however the story was that it was Cayla King — not Kitley, Owusu or Soule — who led the way in which. King, a 6-0 senior, made 9 3-pointers and scored 33 factors, each profession highs. That type of long-distance taking pictures can translate to any sport, towards any opponent.
One sport may not be a large enough pattern measurement, however King’s outburst may very well be an vital signal: If Virginia Tech really has a legit fourth scorer in King to play alongside Owusu and level guard Georgia Amoore within the backcourt, the Hokies might need to be thought of the favourite within the ACC. — Charlie Creme
Monday’s most vital win?
Defense was most missed side to Creighton’s Elite Eight run in final 12 months’s NCAA match. The Bluejays held Iowa and Iowa State, two of the top-scoring groups within the nation, under 70 factors final March, and put the clamps on South Dakota State in Monday’s 78-69 victory, the one sport of opening day to pit ranked groups. The nation’s most correct 3-point taking pictures workforce a season in the past, South Dakota State made solely 5-of-21 from deep towards the swarming Bluejays. Junior Lauren Jensen was dominant down the stretch with seven of Creighton’s factors in a decisive 9-0 run late within the fourth quarter. She scored 16 within the closing 10 minutes and completed with 30.
The win can be value a whole seed line in Tuesday’s Bracketology and offers Creighton a street win that the committee will love throughout its March deliberations. With video games towards South Dakota and Nebraska up subsequent, the Bluejays now have the possibility on the type of begin that would vault them into the highest 15 within the rankings. — Creme
Van Lith, Louisville begin quick
Hailey Van Lith drills the jumper vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Louisville Cardinals 87-68 win over Cincinnati was slightly shut for consolation at occasions — the Bearcats pulled inside eight within the third regardless of trailing by as many as 23 — however junior Hailey Van Lith had the form of large efficiency many count on of her as an upperclassman. Her 28 factors — the second-highest mark of her profession — led the Cardinals, and he or she did it pretty effectively on 12-for-20 taking pictures (60%). Van Lith reached that clip simply twice final 12 months as a sophomore, and did not try that many photographs both time (15, 16).
If the budding star can preserve that effectivity, plus sink photographs past the arc (she was 2-for-7 on Monday), and Florida State Seminoles switch Morgan Jones (14 factors and 13 journeys to the free throw line versus Cincinnati) continues to seek out her groove, Jeff Walz’s workforce may make the commencement of three starters a shortly forgotten matter. — Philippou
Two tales for the Terps
Diamond Miller stretches by means of the paint for up-and-under bucket
The unhealthy: Maryland senior guard Diamond Miller — who regarded actually good early on — went to the locker room within the second quarter of the Terps’ 88-51 victory over George Mason with an obvious knee injury and didn’t return to the ground resulting from “tenderness,” in line with Washington Post reporter Kareem Copeland.
The good: Princeton switch Abby Meyers can ball at the same time as she adjusts to a brand new workforce, assuming the go-to scoring function for the No. 17 Terps following Miller’s harm by ending with a team-high 19 factors (and beginning the sport on 5-for 5-shooting from 3). Meyers’ taking pictures prowess is much-needed for Maryland after shedding Katie Benzan, Owusu and Chloe Bibby.
If the remainder of the items round them proceed to settle in, Maryland may shock some people within the Big Ten regardless of a slew of exits behind Miller (assuming she’s OK) and Meyers. — Philippou
Is Soares what Cyclones have been lacking?
Ashley Joens did Ashley Joens issues (28 factors, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) in Iowa State’s 87-54 win over Cleveland State, scoring 24 factors in 18 first-half minutes. But what may be extra integral to the Cyclones’ long-term growth is how two-time NAIA participant of the 12 months Stephanie Soares fares. The 6-6 submit earned the beginning Monday and made her presence identified early with three blocks within the first two minutes of the sport, although she solely performed six minutes within the first half resulting from foul bother. She completed the sport with a double-double (15 factors, 14 rebounds), plus 4 blocks and 4 steals in 21 minutes.
If Soares can keep out of foul bother, maintain her conditioning getting into the fitting path and proceed to make an influence towards higher-quality posts, she gives an inside presence on each ends for Iowa State that it hasn’t had in recent times, one that would assist this system attain heights not seen for over a decade. — Philippou