Women’s NCAA match 2023 – Ranking the highest 25 gamers in March Madness

The bracket is out, and we all know everybody’s potential path to Dallas. But who would be the leaders on that journey for one of the best girls’s school basketball groups?

For the third time this season, we’re rating the highest 25 gamers within the nation — however we have restricted it to one of the best gamers competing within the 2023 girls’s NCAA match.

Some distinguished names are lacking, together with UConn guard Azzi Fudd. She was in our high three in December’s rating, however has appeared in simply 12 video games this season due to damage. Similarly, Ohio State guard Jacy Sheldon made our final record, however has performed solely 9 video games. Because of their restricted enjoying time, they did not meet the factors for inclusion. But concern not: ESPN will replace the record heading into the Sweet 16, at which level they and others would possibly play their manner into the rating.

Players comparable to Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles, whose damage standing continues to be unclear, have been ranked primarily based on what we’ve seen of their current play.

The nationwide participant of the 12 months debate this season has centered largely round Iowa’s Caitlin Clark and South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston, with passionate supporters on either side for excellent causes. As some extent guard and a put up, they could not be extra completely different of their talent units. Both have excelled all season at what they do one of the best. But there may be just one on the No. 1 spot.

ESPN’s Alexa Philippou, Charlie Creme and M.A. Voepel rank the gamers as we prepare for March Madness to materialize.

Brackets are open! Head to Women’s Tournament Challenge and fill out your bracket now! And click on right here for a printable bracket.

Guard | 6-foot | junior
2022-23 stats:
27.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 8.3 APG

Clark gained Big Ten Player of the Year and league match MVP, each for the second season in a row. The essence of why Clark is so good may be summed up this fashion: She’s No. 1 in Division I in assists and in 3-pointers (108), and second in scoring common. With the ball in her fingers, Clark has her alternative of the way to carve up defenses, and virtually all the time makes the appropriate choice. She’s making reads at a professional stage, whilst a university junior. Her “logo 3s” are a professional a part of her recreation, not simply in stretching out the protection however the best way they will energize the Hawkeyes and deflate the opposition. Clark’s 4 triple-doubles this season — and 10 in her profession — replicate her robust work on the boards, too, and she or he additionally has improved as a defensive participant. — Voepel

Forward | 6-foot-5 | senior
2022-23 stats:
13.3 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.0 BPG, 56.8 FG%

Statistically talking, that is Boston’s worst season since her freshman 12 months. But do not suppose for a second there may be something unsuitable with Boston’s recreation. She stays essentially the most imposing defensive participant within the recreation, and when South Carolina actually wants a basket, Boston is getting the ball. The dropoff within the numbers is extra a results of the Gamecocks dealing with much less urgency of their video games and having extra dependable choices on the roster this season. But of their greatest video games towards Maryland, Stanford, UCLA, UConn and LSU, Boston averaged 17.6 factors, 11.2 rebounds and a couple of.2 blocks. — Creme



Why did Stanford get the sting over UConn for the 1-seed?

Lisa Peterson, committee chair of NCAA Division I girls’s basketball, explains the thought course of behind filling out the ladies’s bracket.

Forward | 6-foot-4 | junior
2022-23 stats:
14.9 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 3.4 BPG

Brink continues to be a power for the Cardinal, main them in factors, rebounds and blocks regardless of averaging solely 24.5 minutes per recreation. Earlier this 12 months she recorded a triple-double, and she or he additionally set a program report for profession blocks. With Stanford’s offense sputtering in current weeks, she will be able to’t be the one dependable possibility on that finish of the ground, however she’ll nonetheless have to be her dominant self, and to remain out of foul bother, if the Cardinal need to advance to a 3rd consecutive Final Four. — Philippou

Forward | 6-foot-3 | senior
2022-23 stats:
22.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 68.8 FG%

Holmes is second in Division I — and first amongst Power 5 convention gamers — in area objective share, which is why her teammates discuss with her as an automated bucket. Once Holmes will get the ball the place she needs it, the chances are overwhelming that she’s going to rating, the protection will foul her, or each. Her 70.1 true taking pictures share (2-pointers, 3-pointers, free throws) and 40.3 participant effectivity ranking this season are each profession highs. Holmes has blocked 56 pictures and is the centerpiece inside one of the best protection within the Big Ten. She plans to make use of the COVID-19 waiver to play a fifth 12 months at Indiana subsequent season. — Voepel

Forward | 6-foot-3 | sophomore
2022-23 stats:
23.4 PPG, 15.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 54.0 FG%

Few anticipated this type of season from LSU, and far of the success is as a result of play of Reese. After a extremely productive sophomore season at Maryland, Reese moved on to LSU and took her recreation to a different stage. Her dominance across the rim is evidenced by her nation-leading 28 double-doubles. Reese additionally leads the nation in offensive rebounds and free throws tried and made per recreation. After staying extra within the background at Maryland, Reese has embraced her management function with the Tigers, whose NCAA match success will largely experience on how she performs. — Creme

Forward | 6-foot-6 | senior
2022-23 stats:
18.6 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 2.3 BPG

The back-to-back ACC Player of the Year is the centerpiece of a crew that emerged as one of the best in one of many hardest leagues. She has continued to be environment friendly down low (a career-high 56.3% from the sphere) and a power on the glass, averaging a double-double for the second time in her profession. She put the Hokies on her again with a 42-point outburst of their first-round loss to Florida Gulf Coast in final 12 months’s match, however she’ll have extra assist this time round on a Hokies crew targeted on a Final Four bid. — Philippou

Guard | 6-foot-3 | senior
2022-23 stats:
19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 2.1 SPG

A two-time All-Big Ten first-team choice, Miller has nice size and quickness on the perimeter, which she makes use of to her benefit on offense and protection. She creates mismatches inside and has scored in double digits in each recreation this season besides one, together with a season-high 32 factors towards Baylor. One of her greatest baskets of the season was her buzzer-beating fadeaway to defeat Notre Dame in December. Miller is within the Big Ten’s high 5 in scoring, blocked pictures and steals. She’s taking pictures a career-low 21% from behind the arc, in order that’s an space of enchancment for her on the subsequent stage; she’s projected to be a lottery decide in April’s WNBA draft. — Voepel



Why UConn is a harmful crew heading into the Big Dance

Rebecca Lobo makes the case that UConn is the favourite to win the Seattle Regional regardless of being a 2-seed.

Forward | 6-foot-3 | junior
2022-23 stats:
16.6 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 57.3 FG%

With Fudd’s absence and the host of accidents UConn has skilled, there isn’t any telling the place the Huskies could be with out Edwards, who rebounded from a rocky sophomore season to place herself within the All-American dialog. Geno Auriemma has mentioned his posts will decide how far his crew goes within the match, and if Edwards can play like she has towards high competitors this season — together with South Carolina (25 factors, 10-for-14 taking pictures) — UConn will probably be in nice form. — Philippou

Forward | 6-foot-1 | senior
2022-23 stats:
28.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG

Caitlin Clark will get many of the headlines for her offense, however Siegrist enters March Madness because the nation’s main scorer, and she or he’s doing it on unbelievable effectivity (51.8% from the sphere, 37.3% from 3, 85.1% from the road). Siegrist has scored not less than 20 factors in every of the Wildcats’ video games this season (and even had 50 towards Seton Hall earlier this 12 months), however her major focus down the stretch is to steer Villanova into the second weekend of the NCAA match for the primary time since 2003. — Philippou

Forward | 6-foot-2 | junior
2022-23 stats:
20.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 58.5 FG%

Coming out of nowhere to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pili has remodeled the Utes from an upstart program to a nationwide title contender. She wasn’t even on the 15-player preseason all-conference crew however ended up main the league in scoring as Utah shared the Pac-12 regular-season title with Stanford, a primary for this system. Pili had an excellent freshman season at USC however struggled with accidents the previous two seasons earlier than making the transfer to Salt Lake City. She’s a dual-threat offensive participant with an uncanny capacity to complete within the put up, but in addition shoots 42.9% from 3-point territory. — Creme



Seven SEC girls’s groups put together for March Madness

SEC Now analyst Steffi Sorensen says the committee acquired it proper by together with six different convention groups with No. 1 South Carolina within the NCAA match area.

Forward | 6-foot-2 | senior
2022-23 stats:
19.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 55.2 FG%

Jackson’s first few months in Tennessee (which included a two-game suspension in December) have been a bit rocky, however she has settled and contributed immensely to the Lady Vols’ upswing. She managed not less than 20 factors in eight consecutive video games — with practically 60% effectivity, no much less — earlier than Tennessee fell to South Carolina within the SEC match ultimate. Jackson additionally stepped up with a 26-point, 10-rebound recreation in Tennessee’s semifinal upset over LSU. Her expertise is simple and she or he’ll have loads of eyes on her within the weeks earlier than she is predicted to be a first-round WNBA draft decide. — Philippou

Guard | 6-foot-1 | senior
2022-23 stats:
13.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 4.1 APG, 43.1 FG%

Read also  Draymond Green says Warriors missing collective will to defend

Jones is certainly one of Stanford’s most essential and greatest rebounders and the Cardinal’s chief facilitator. While she has shared extra clutch moments with Brink this season, Jones stays a giant shot-taker for Stanford. She hit the deciding pictures for the Cardinal of their 2021 Final Four semifinal and ultimate wins, eternally etching her place in Stanford historical past. Jones has struggled together with her exterior taking pictures this season however stays one of the vital versatile offensive gamers within the nation together with her dual-threat capacity as a fringe passer and post-up risk. — Creme

Guard/ahead | 6-foot-1 | senior
2022-23 stats:
21.5 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.0 APG

During the Big 12 match, Joens handed the three,000-point mark for her profession, making her certainly one of simply 14 NCAA Division I girls’s gamers who’ve completed so. She’s now at 3,037 factors and owns Iowa State’s profession information for factors, rebounds, double-doubles, area objectives, free throws and 3-pointers, and this season turned the second Cyclone to win Big 12 Player of the Year. She can also be the second Cyclone to be named Big 12 match Most Outstanding Player after Iowa State gained the title for the primary time since 2001. Joens adjusted her recreation when Iowa State added 6-6 middle Stephanie Soares, then readjusted when Soares was misplaced for the season in early January with a knee damage. The fifth-year senior has began and performed extra video games (157) than anybody in Big 12 girls’s hoops historical past. — Voepel

Guard | 5-foot-10 | sophomore
2022-23 stats:
14.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 6.9 APG, 2.1 SPG

The knee damage Miles suffered within the regular-season finale towards Louisville stays one of the vital talked about storylines heading into the NCAA match. That’s as a result of she’s that proficient of some extent guard and is that essential to Notre Dame’s success. Her capacity to play freed from damage considerations will possible decide the Irish’s postseason destiny. The most dynamic passer within the recreation, Miles is sixth within the nation in assists and her capacity to rebound and deal with the ball makes her a one-player quick break. She has 10 double-doubles this season — 5 with factors and assists and 5 with factors and rebounds. — Creme

Guard | 5-foot-6 | sophomore
2022-23 stats:
11.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.3 APG

Harmon was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this season, and in addition led the league in assists per recreation and assist-turnover ratio (2.4). There’s nobody fairly like her within the Big 12 and few in every other league. She’s able to enjoying intense on-the-ball protection for 40 minutes if wanted, whereas nonetheless being an elite offensive participant and by no means seeming to tire. Harmon missed the primary 5 video games of the season with a foot damage, and Texas misplaced three of them. Her return steadied issues for the Longhorns, who have been Big 12 regular-season co-champions, though they did not repeat as league match champs. — Voepel

Guard | 5-foot-6 | junior
2022-23 stats:
15.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 5.3 APG

For as good as Kitley has been in current weeks, Amoore’s elevated play has been key to the Hokies’ success, as she has averaged 17.6 factors (40% taking pictures from 3) all through their 11-game win streak. In their prior video games, she averaged 14.1 factors and 31.4% taking pictures from the perimeter. She additionally set the ACC match report for made 3-pointers (14) on her method to profitable MVP, and that is to not point out her driving or distribution talents. If Amoore will get going, it makes it a lot simpler for Kitley to function, and Virginia Tech that a lot more durable to beat. — Philippou



Boston, Staley discuss familiarity of NCAA regional groups

Aliyah Boston and Dawn Staley focus on dealing with a few of the groups within the Greenville Regional this 12 months, saying No. 1 South Carolina “can’t put the cart before the horse.”

17. Zia Cooke, South Carolina

Guard | 5-foot-9 | senior
2022-23 stats:
15.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.1 APG

Cooke has been the No. 1 crew’s main scorer this season and has actually come into her personal. Her 57 3-pointers are a profession excessive, as are her 102 free throws and 80% taking pictures on the line. As a senior, she has a career-best true taking pictures share (52.6), participant effectivity ranking (24.1) and offensive ranking (119.5). And even in video games by which Cooke is probably not at her greatest offensively, there’s been no dropoff in her contributions on the defensive finish, the place the Gamecocks virtually all the time management video games. — Voepel

Forward | 6-foot-1 | senior
2022-23 stats: 15.7 PPG, 43.0% 3FG

Read also  Nationals prospect Cole Henry particulars TOS surgical procedure choice

Edwards has been essential for the Huskies, however so too has Lopez Sénéchal, who in some methods has been much more constant this season. The Fairfield switch has been a revelation in Storrs and has been clutch in massive moments for a UConn crew that was typically short-handed, significantly shining within the Huskies’ massive highway win at Tennessee (26 factors). Life would possibly get even simpler for her in March with Fudd again within the lineup and demanding consideration from opposing defenses alongside the perimeter. — Philippou

Forward/middle | 6-foot-3 | senior
2022-23 stats:
17.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 67.4 FG%

Czinano is fourth in Division I in area objective share and has been Caitlin Clark’s favourite goal the previous three seasons. For good cause: Czinano is so basically sound on the low block, with nice fingers, positioning and energy. She can also hit face-up pictures in her consolation vary. She set an Iowa single-game report for area objective share by going 11-of-11 towards Michigan State this season, and the Big Ten match mark by going 11-of-12 towards Ohio State within the championship recreation. The fifth-year senior is second on Iowa’s profession scoring record (2,316 factors) behind solely Megan Gustafson (2,804), who was Czinano’s freshman season mentor. — Voepel

Guard | 6-foot-2 | senior
2022-23 stats:
15.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.5 SPG

Long and athletic, Horston has been a cornerstone on Rocky Top for 4 years. The offense has by no means been constructed round her, however she has remained one of many SEC’s greatest shot creators. With the ballhandling expertise of a smaller guard and the flexibility to complete, Horston excels in transition. Averaging 17 factors and eight.6 rebounds in three SEC match video games, she helped propel the Lady Vols to the ultimate, and she or he has scored in double figures in all however two video games in February and March. — Creme

Center | 6-foot-7 | junior
2022-23 stats:
10.0 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 2.0 BPG

No participant is as essential to South Carolina’s depth as Cardoso, who is sort of averaging a double-double in simply 18.7 minutes per recreation. She can play both instead of Boston or alongside her and can put on down opponents together with her big-time blocks and relentlessness on the offensive glass (3.7 offensive boards per recreation). As nice as Boston is and as a lot as Cooke has improved offensively, Cardoso is the Gamecocks’ X issue of their quest to repeat as nationwide champions. — Philippou

Guard | 6-foot | senior
2022-23 stats:
12.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.8 APG

She missed eight video games after struggling a knee damage in November however got here again in January and was instantly efficient. Berger is a revered on-court chief and dependable playmaker who makes use of her measurement and energy to penetrate and rating or dish off. She would not shoot the 3-pointer so much (she has made 47 in her profession), however she’s among the finest midrange shooters within the nation. Berger has been an essential cog in Indiana’s Big Ten-best protection as nicely, and a significant component within the Hoosiers’ rise to a nationwide energy the previous few seasons. — Voepel

Guard | 6-foot-1 | sophomore
2022-23 stats:
14.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 43.9 3PT FG%

When Miles went down together with her damage, the Irish instantly turned to Citron, and she or he got here by. Her 27-point efficiency within the regular-season finale towards Louisville, a victory by which Miles was harm, delivered Notre Dame the ACC regular-season championship. As flashy as Miles may be, Citron is the other. Precise and business-like in her strategy, Citron hardly ever takes a nasty shot or forces a play and is regular in her demeanor and manufacturing. — Creme

Guard | 5-foot-6 | senior
2022-23 stats:
15.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.2 APG

Morris has an inspiring story of perseverance. After being on the all-Big 12 freshman crew at Baylor in 2018, she was dismissed for a violation of crew guidelines by then-Bears coach Kim Mulkey and transferred to Rutgers. Things did not work on the market, and she or he went to Texas A&M. Then final 12 months, she sought out Mulkey to play for her once more, this time at LSU, and has had two terrific seasons for the Tigers. She’s at present their second-leading scorer and leads LSU in assists and steals. Morris has hit 45 3-pointers this season and can also be explosive going to the basket. — Voepel

G | 5-foot-10 | junior
2022-23 stats:
18.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.2 APG

Perhaps it solely appears like Leger-Walker has taken each massive shot for the Cougars since her arrival in Pullman from Waikato, New Zealand, three years in the past. She has been the focus of the offense since her first recreation, which occurred to be a 20-point, seven-rebound effort towards rival Washington. Not coincidentally, the previous two seasons have been the winningest within the historical past of this system, which culminated with the Pac-12 match championship two weeks in the past, the primary match title in Cougars historical past. Leger-Walker was the Most Outstanding Player with 23 factors within the ultimate towards UCLA. — Creme