Column: Top three players to watch in NCAAWBB

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Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan talks with the media during the Southeastern Conference women’s NCAA college basketball media day. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Although college basketball season has yet to start, there are already many predictions and theories swirling around about top teams and players. Today, I wanted to look at non-UConn players whom women’s college basketball fans should be watching. These players led and shined last season and are sure to do more of the same this time around. Not only that, but they’re also so much fun to watch!

Sabrina Ionescu

Undoubtedly, Ionescu is my favorite player on this list to watch. As a freshman in 2016-17 she led Oregon to the Elite Eight, where they were beaten by UConn. To get there though, the 10th-seeded Ducks defeated second-seeded Duke and third-seeded Maryland.

Ionescu is fun to watch because even as a freshman she exuded the confidence necessary to be a stellar point guard. She was named the USBWA Freshman of the Year, ESPNW Freshman of the Year and was named to the All PAC-12 Team in her first season. In the NCAA tournament, she averaged 16.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists

As a sophomore, Ionescu led her team to the Elite Eight for a second straight year along with winning the Nancy Lieberman Award, which is given to the nation’s top point guard.

In September, Ionescu was invited to USA Basketball senior team training camp in South Carolina. Although she did not make the final 12-person roster, being invited is a huge honor in and of itself.

This season, the Ducks were picked to win the PAC-12 and Ionescu was named to the Lieberman Award watch list. Ionescu is only a junior and already she has taken her program to new heights

Arike Ogunbowale

They were the buzzer-beaters heard around the country. First, with one second left in overtime, Ogunbowale nailed a pull-up jumper against UConn in the National Semifinal. Then, she pulled another incredible buzzer-beater to win the National Championship against Mississippi State. She was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and a WBCA All-American.

This season, Ogunbowale is a senior and back with an Irish team that is full of confidence. Last season, they were riddled with injury but still won a national championship. This season, they come back with national championship experience

Ogunbowale was already named to the 2019 Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list. The award is given to the top-shooting guard in the country. Last season, Ogunbowale averaged 20.8 points per game.

Teaira McCowan

Another fun one to watch, McCowan is a defensive superstar. The 6-7 center dominates the paint and was a defining factor in last season’s spectacular Mississippi State team.

Last season, McCowan was named a WBCA All-American, ESPNW First Team All-American, NCAA All-Final Four Team Member and the Naismith Player of the Year.

Currently, McCowan is ranked second in MSU history in career blocks with 184 and second in career rebounds with 1,015.

McCowan is a senior this year and surely hungry for another Final Four appearance. It’s hard to watch McCowan play and not make comparisons to WNBA All-Star Brittney Griner.


Mariana Dominguez is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at mariana.dominguez@uconn.edu.

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