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Mitchell Northam | NCAA.com | November 1, 2019

2019-20 women’s college basketball season: The essential guide to top teams, players, games and rankings

Watch: UConn's Geno Auriemma reflects on his career entering 35th season

Get ready for basketball, y’all. The 2019-20 women’s college basketball season tips off Tuesday, Nov. 5. Some of the country’s top teams will be in action that night, making plays from the high post, dishing out dimes and swishing three-pointers.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming women’s basketball campaign.

OREGON ON TOP: Ducks top the Associated Press Top 25 Preseason Poll

2019-20 Women’s College Basketball: Season preview

After making the Final Four last year and bringing back one of the most electric players in college basketball in Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon is the early favorite heading into the season. Kelly Graves’ squad also returns stellar players in Ruthy Hebard, Satou Sabally and Erin Boley.

The Ducks should be well-equipped to make another postseason run, but they’ll face a challenge from a team in their own conference too as Stanford looks to be tougher this season after going to the Elite Eight last year. The Cardinal returns a veteran team and also added the nation’s top recruit in Haley Jones.

Baylor will look to defend their title from last season as they bring back three starters from last year’s national championship team, including the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Lauren Cox. Versatile guards DiDi Richards and Juicy Landrum are also back for Kim Mulkey, and the veteran coach added a pair of transfers.

Other contending teams include Maryland, led by Kaila Charles; Texas A&M, powered by Chennedy Carter; and of course, Geno Auriemma’s UConn Huskies. 

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL BEST RETURNING: Shooters | Passers | Rebounders

2019-20 women’s college basketball: Rankings

Here’s what the preseason AP Top 25 Poll looks like. In the far right column are the team’s first games of the season.

Through Games OCT. 30, 2019

RANK

TEAM

POINTS

2018-19 RECORD

First game

1 Oregon (25) 697 33-5 Nov. 11 vs. Northeastern
2 Baylor (3) 675 37-1 Nov. 5 vs. New Hampshire
3 Stanford 631 31-5 Nov. 5 vs. Eastern Washington
4 Maryland 596 29-5 Nov. 5 vs. Wagner
5 UConn 569 35-3 Nov. 10 vs. Cal
6 Texas A&M 554 26-8 Nov. 5 vs. Arkansas Little Rock
7 Oregon State 525 26-8 Nov. 9 vs. UC Irvine
8 South Carolina 518 23-10 Nov. 5 vs. Alabama State
9 Louisville 477 32-4 Nov. 5 vs. Western Kentucky
10 Mississippi State 443 33-3 Nov. 9 vs. Southern Miss
11 UCLA 380 22-13 Nov. 5 vs. Weber State
12 Florida State 354 24-9 Nov. 5 vs. Charleston Southern
13 Kentucky 342 25-8 Nov. 5 vs. Mount St. Mary's
14 N.C. State 320 28-6 Nov. 6 vs. N.C. A&T
15 Texas 303 23-10 Nov. 8 at USF
16 Notre Dame 290 35-4 Nov. 5 at Fordham
17 Michigan State 205 21-12 Nov. 5 vs. Eastern Michigan
T-18 DePaul 174 26-8 Nov. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio)
T-18 Miami 174 25-9 Nov. 10 vs. Jackson State
20 Arizona State 118 22-11 Nov. 5 vs. Air Force
21 Syracuse 103 25-9 Nov. 5 vs. Ohio
22 Arkansas 93 22-15 Nov. 8 vs. New Orleans
23 Minnesota 90 21-11 Nov. 5 vs. Missouri State
24 Indiana 86 21-13 Nov. 7 vs. Mount St. Mary's
25 Michigan 77 22-12 Nov. 8 vs. Western Michigan

2019-20 women’s college basketball: Top games of opening week

Missouri State at No. 23 Minnesota -- Tuesday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. EST, Big Ten Network

Unfortunately there's no ranked-vs.-ranked matchups on opening night, but Minnesota does face a tough early test in Missouri State. The Bears won 25 games last season, captured the Missouri Valley Conference title and upset DePaul and Iowa State in the NCAA tournament before falling to Stanford in the Sweet 16. The Bears return three of their four top scorers from last season.

No. 8 South Carolina at No. 4 Maryland -- Sunday, Nov. 10, 3 p.m. EST, ESPN

An early season measuring stick for a pair of teams with Final Four hopes. South Carolina made the Sweet 16 last season, while Maryland was upset at home in the second round of the NCAA tournament by UCLA. The Terps return 90 percent of their scoring from last season, including preseason All-American Kaila Charles. The Gamecocks lost All-SEC guard Te'a Cooper in a transfer to Baylor, but bring back Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Tyasha Harris. Dawn Staley also brought in one of the best recruiting classes in the nation by landing the No. 2 and No. 21 prospects, according to ESPN's 2019 rankings.

WNBA FINALS: Where the starters went to college | Delle Donne's Delaware career

Returning All-Americans

Ionescu is the only First Team All-American from last year who is returning to women’s college basketball this season. No second-teasers return either as it was a senior-heavy group.

From the third team, only Baylor’s Cox returns.

Of the honorable mentions from last season, here’s who’s back: Bella Alaire (Princeton), Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M), Kaila Charles (Maryland), Crystal Dangerfield (UConn), Ae’rianna Harris (Purdue), Ruthy Hebard (Oregon), Aari McDonald (Arizona), Beatrice Mompremier (Miami), Destiny Slocum (Oregon State).

AWARD WATCH LISTS: Lieberman Award | Meyers Award | Miller Award | McClain Award | Leslie Award

2018-19 women’s college basketball season recap

The Final Four in Tampa, Florida featured two traditional powers in Notre Dame and UConn, a previous champion in Baylor and an upstart Oregon team led by Ionescu.

In the semifinals, Baylor topped Oregon — thanks in large part due to the play of Kalani Brown and Cox in the paint, and Richards’ defense on Ionescu. The Irish beat the Huskies in the latest chapter of their rivalry.

Chloe Jackson connected on a lay-up in the national championship game with 3.9 seconds left to give her Lady Bears the lead over Notre Dame. Longtime Irish guard Arike Ogunbowale missed a free throw, sealing the win for Baylor.

Iowa’s Megan Gustafson led the nation in scoring and was named AP and Naismith Player of the Year after leading the Hawkeyes to the Elite Eight.

2019 FINAL FOUR: Baylor is old school | DiDi Richards' heroics | Win over Notre Dame | Smith steps up

2019-20 women’s college basketball NCAA tournament: Schedule, bracket

The selection show is set for Sunday, Dec. 1. Here's the full breakdown, including rounds.

  • Selection Show: Monday, March 16
  • First and Second Rounds: March 20-23 at campus sites
  • Regionals: March 27-30 in Greenville, South Carolina; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Portland, Oregon; Dallas, Texas
  • Semifinals and National Championship: April 3 and 5 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana

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