Husky Hoopla: Big East Women’s basketball standings predictions

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Big East Women’s Basketball Projected Standings:

UConn
DePaul
Marquette
Seton Hall
St. John’s
Creighton
Villanova
Providence
Xavier
Butler
Georgetown

1. UConn

The UConn Huskies played against ECU on March 9, 2019. File Photo/The Daily Campus

Nick Hellinghausen: UConn’s women’s basketball team is expected to once again be one of the best teams in the nation. Although the team lost star players like Megan Walker and Crystal Dangerfield to the WNBA and graduation, they still have plenty of talent on their roster. They have a ton of sensational returning players, including Christyn Williams (14.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG) and Olivia Nelson-Ododa (10.9 PPG and 8.5 RPG), as well as superb newcomers headlined by Paige Bueckers. Once the season gets underway, UConn’s stacked squad will look to add a 12th national championship to their collection. Overall, UConn’s elite team seems primed to dominate for many years to come.

2. DePaul

DePaul played against Penn State on March 21, 2011. Image by Penn State on Flickr Creative Commons

Danny Barletta: Unlike the men’s team for DePaul, the women’s team is actually one of the best programs in the country. They have won at least a share of the Big East title every season since the conference realigned in 2013. We have to drop them down to second this year, since UConn is back in the conference, but they are still a really good team, as shown by their No. 19 ranking in the preseason AP poll. Doug Bruno is one of the best coaches in women’s college basketball, and he has some great players this year, including Lexi Held and Sonya Morris. UConn went undefeated in conference play every year they were in the AAC. DePaul is the main reason why that likely won’t continue in the Big East.

3. Marquette

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, accompanied by President-elect Joe Biden, speaks at The Queen theater, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Ashton Stansel: The women’s team for Marquette is substantially better, at least they seem like they should be. They were second in the 2019-20 season, just behind DePaul and finishing the season with a 13-5 record. This will be the second season for their head coach, Megan Duffy. The team’s senior guard, Selena Lott, was also voted onto the preseason All-Conference Team. The Marquette roster is an extremely young one; Lott is one of just two seniors, and there is only one junior. The other 10 players are all freshman or sophomores. That’s a very good sign for Marquette’s future, and they’re likely to build on their success from last season, though UConn’s return to the Big East does make it likely that they drop a spot. Fans should certainly keep an eye on Lott, who last season averaged 15.5 points per game alongside 5.6 assists and finished third in field goal percentage (52.5%).

4. Seton Hall

David Sandoval: The women’s team for the Pirates didn’t perform as well last season as the men’s, finishing in sixth. The team will be losing three key players: Shadeen Samuels, Alexis Lewis and Barabra Johnson, where Samuels was probably the most vital, averaging 14.3 points per game. However, this doesn’t mean they will be in a similar position than the men’s team. For instance, Connecticut native Desiree Elmore will likely step up in their chance for a postseason competition after an average of 13 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season. Fans should also keep an eye on freshman Amari Wright, who averaged 17.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and about six steals per game in her high school in Jacksonville.

5. St. John’s

Johnny the Thunderbird at St. John’s Red Storm Game in 2012. Image by Marianne O’Leary on Flickr Creative Commons.

Conner Gilson: The Red Storm finished last season in a five-way tie for third place, ending the season with a respectable 11-7 conference record and 19-12 record overall. But heading into this season, St. John’s lost three of their five top scorers to graduation or transfer, including Tiana England, who also led the Storm with 5.2 assists per game. On next year’s team, all eyes will be on guards Qadasha Hoppie and Leilani Correa, the team’s No. 1 and No. 2 scorers from last season respectively. Hoppie put up 15.4 points per game last year while Correa added 13 points and five rebounds per game of her own en route to being a unanimous selection to the Big East All-Freshman Team and Sixth Woman of the Year. Losing almost half your rotation will hurt the Red Storm this season, but the dynamic backcourt of Hoppie and Correa should keep this team in contention.

6. Creighton

Jon Synott: Ranked No. 53 in the country by RPI, the Bluejays are looking to improve upon last year’s third place finish in the conference. Last year, they went 19-11, while finishing 11-7 in the Big East. Creighton no longer has their top scorer, passer and rebounder in Jaylyn Agnew, and this may set them back early in the season. Fortunately, returning senior Temi Carda will hope to pick up where Agnew left off, as she finished second on the team in points, assists and rebounds last year. While the Bluejays aren’t the most talented team in the conference, look for them to make some noise in conference and tournament play this season. They hope to make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2018.

Villanova Woman’s Basketball Coach Harry Perretta talks to player Grace Stant during a game in February of 2019. Photo by Nicholas Schreder/AKSM Photography

7. Villanova

Karthik Iyer: The Villanova women’s team is back and their long range three point snipers are ready. After shooting an impressive 35% from three as a team last season, this Villanova team has the fire power to knock out any given team on any given night. They simply have that puncher’s chance at an upset. While the team’s featured talent doesn’t measure up on paper to the other conference contenders on paper, the team’s veteran chemistry, while being led by Forward Mary Gedaka who averaged on 14.4 points per game on 66.1% shooting, will hold them in good stead to make any matchup competitive and entertaining for the fans.

8. Providence

Evan Rodriguez: A Providence women’s season is not looking very promising this year. With Jim Crowley at the helm, the team lost five quality transfers to rival schools, such as Kaela Webb and Earlette Scott, who put up 9.9 points and 7.7 points respectively. Mary Baskerville could be a huge impact player if she manages to stay on the court throughout the season as the forward put up 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds. Olivia Orlando and Alyssa Geary need to step up if any type of success for this team is going to be seen. Considering their previous season’s record of 3-15, and that now, this Providence squad has even less talent than in prior years, this will not be an easy team to watch in this upcoming women’s college basketball season.

9. Xavier

Cole Stefan: Xavier has just one departure in Ashley Gomez, but most of the core is back for another season. A’Riana Gray (15.8 PPG), Aaliyah Dunham (4.5 APG) and Lauren Waslyson (31% 3-point shooting) are the supposed core of young studs that are going to take over the paint and perimeter. Xavier also has Carrie Gross (22+ MPG) and Morgan Sharps (37.5% 3-point shooting) to finish off an intriguing starting rotation. In terms of the future, the best freshman Xavier has is No. 225 ranked prospect Janayshia Brown from Perkiomen Senior High School. Head coach Melanie Moore is going to have her hands full trying to find the balance to success, as Xavier went 3-27 last year. If Xavier cannot close their point margin and fail to improve their averages in shooting and assists, then it is going to be a long winter in Cincinnati.

10. Butler

Tim Keaten: Head coach Kurt Godlevske has a tough time cut out for him coming into this new season. Only two starters are returning to the team that went 19-11 during the 2019-20 season. This year’s freshman class adds important depth to the Butler team, including guard Madison Royal-Davis, who averaged 28 points per game during her junior season with Toledo Christian High School. Godlevske says they hope that developing this freshman class will allow the team to rebuild into a competitive program and play up from the 10th place rank they have been given. It is not going to be an easy season for the Bulldogs, but I wouldn’t write off their chances to land in the top half of the sheet.

11. Georgetown

Jorge Eckardt: The Hoyas weren’t great last season. I think some would even venture to say they were bad. Alright, I’ll stop mincing words — they were flat out horrible. With a 5-25 record overall and a 2-16 record in conference, they didn’t muster much in terms of competitive basketball. On top of that, they’re losing their leading scorer, Taylor Barnes, who was the only one to average double digit points ion the season. Second-leading scorer Brianna Jones is also out the door, along with third-leading scorer Nikola Kovicikova, fifth-leading scorer Marvellous Osagie-Erese and sixth-leading scorer Tayanna Jones. Anita Kelava, the team’s fourth-leading scorer and leading rebounder, will have to step up. They’re a young and inexperienced team, so don’t expect them to win many games.

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