With the women’s college basketball season just a few weeks away, the Associated Press released the top 25 preseason rankings. Defending champion South Carolina is the unanimous No. 1 — the Gamecocks' third consecutive season opening in the top spot.
Stanford, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee round out the top five. Creighton (No. 21), South Dakota State (No. 23) and Princeton (No. 24) are all ranked in the preseason for the first time in program history.
Here are the full rankings:
|1||South Carolina (30)||29-2||750|
|23||South Dakota State||29-9||67|
2023 MARCH MADNESS Women's NCAA tournament schedule, dates, times
Reigning national champion South Carolina remains No. 1
South Carolina leads the AP top 25 preseason poll for the third straight year. Dawn Staley’s squad hasn’t wavered from No. 1 since the 2021-22 preseason poll, holding that spot all of last season.
The Gamecocks retain four starters coming off a NCAA national championship, most importantly Aliyah Boston. Boston, in her senior season, follows an impressive third-year campaign earning both Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
South Carolina will have a new starting point guard facilitating the offense after Destanni Henderson was drafted into the WNBA.
Stanford, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee round out top five
Alongside South Carolina, the rest of the top five is made up of Stanford, Texas, Iowa and Tennessee.
Stanford ranks No. 2 after a Final Four run last season and just two seasons removed from a national championship. Like South Carolina, the Cardinal returns with a star senior in Haley Jones alongside junior standout Cameron Brink paired with proven championship coach Tara VanDerveer.
Texas and Iowa didn’t crack the AP poll rankings this high all last season. The Longhorns went deep in the NCAA tournament, losing to Stanford in the Elite Eight. Meanwhile, Iowa was upset in the second round but returns the nation’s leading scorer, Caitlin Clark.
After a hot start in last season Tennessee isn’t a stranger to the top-5, but after some injuries later fell in the rankings. Now, key players Jordan Horston and Tamari Key return. Despite being short handed, the Lady Vols had a surprise March Madness run into the Sweet 16 with lower classmen getting extended roles.
UConn falls out of preseason top five for the first time since 2007
A 15-year streak comes to an end as UConn ranks No. 6, just out of the top five. UConn last begin outside the top five in 2007, when it was No. 8.
In August, Paige Bueckers tore her ACL and had reconstructive surgery shortly after. The junior leader is expected to miss the entirety of the 2022-23 season.
MORE: Bueckers feels 'grateful' and says she'll play college basketball again
Still, 11-time champion Geno Auriemma still has quite a few weapons on the roster, including sophomore Azzi Fudd, who will be a focal point in commanding offense without Bueckers.
Creighton, South Dakota State and Princeton break the rankings as first-timers
Peaking in March can help bolster preseason rankings — Creighton, South Dakota State and Princeton represent that. All three made the preseason top 25 for the first time in program history; the Tigers become the first women's team in Ivy League to start the season ranked.
Last season, Princeton picked up an upset win in the first round while Creighton beat a No. 2 and 3 seed in a Cinderella run, making it all the way to the Elite Eight as a No. 10 seed. Meanwhile, South Dakota State went 29-9 and won the WNIT.
|CONFERENCE||NO. OF TEAMS RANKED|
|SEC, Pac 12||3|
|Summit League, Ivy League||1|