As women’s basketball season approaches, let's take a look at some of the top returnerning players from around the country. These nine women guided their teams as national statistical leaders last year. And now, coming into the new season, these players look to repeat -- or even improve -- their performances.
Northwestern’s Ashley Deary topped the nation in steals in 2015-16, which helped her break the Wildcats’ career mark. She has posted more than 300 so far during her time donning purple and white. Each year, Deary tallied more steals than the year prior, so fans may see her add even more to her total in her senior year.
Bego Faz Davalos of Fresno State posted a 136 blocked shots last year. The Mexico native also broke the Bulldogs and Mountain West record for blocks in a single season. With more than 230 blocks in her career, Faz Davalos looks to continue to post impressive numbers in the 2016-17 season.
This Maryland center played in every game since she stepped on the court and has become a key player on Maryland’s offense. In 355 field goal attempts, Jones successfully put the ball in the net on 236, giving her that 66.5 percent rate. She maintains an average of about 63.03 percent for her career.
Out of 81 free-throw attempts, Alabama State’s Daniele Ewert connected on 73, giving her the best free-throw percentage of her career. This helped her average of points per game increase to 8.4.
Jackie Kemph broke Saint Louis’ record for most assists in a season with 239 and led her team in points per game, field goals made, free throws made, free throw attempts, assists per game, assist-turnover ratio, minutes per game, double-figure scoring games and fewest fouls per 40 minutes. If she continues this trend in 2016-17, she looks to be a key impact player for the Billikens.
After becoming the most decorated player in Hutchinson Community College history, Kalani Purcell transferred to BYU where she has ranked third in scoring on the team, averaging about 12 points per game. Purcell had season and BYU career highs in points with 19, in rebounds with 24, in assists with nine, in steals with six and in blocks with three.
Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell remains arguably one of the most powerful guards in women’s college basketball. Last year, she was named to the All-Big Ten first team and was named Big Ten player of the year in 2015.
Meghan Creighton, of Drexel, finished last year a single assist shy of breaking the Dragons’ record for most assists in a single season. She also was awarded the programs fifth Dean Ehlers Award.
Last year, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough set the Big Ten record in the 3-point field goal percentage rate. She was also part of the All-Big Ten first team and posted big numbers for her team in a number of areas.
*Note: All stats, facts and figures are pulled from stats.ncaa.org or the respective schools. Photos are from Grey Bartram, Kyle Terada, Geoff Burke, Brian Spurlock, Brad Penner, Melina Vastola and Thomas Russo from USA Today Sports Images or Fresno State and Drexel Athletics.