The 2022-23 season concluded with a historic moment as the women’s college basketball championship was broadcasted on network television for the first time since 1995. The game attracted 9.9 million viewers, setting a new record. LSU emerged victorious against Iowa with a score of 102-85. As we move into the 2023-24 season, LSU holds the top position in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 rankings. Coach Kim Mulkey has once again made strategic moves in the transfer portal, making LSU the team to beat.
South Carolina, despite losing key players like WNBA Rookie of the Year Aliyah Boston, remains a strong contender. UConn is also back in the race with Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd returning from injuries. The team aims for its 12th national championship.
Conference realignment is another significant change. Stanford will be moving to the ACC, and UCLA, which is expected to be Stanford’s primary competitor in the Pac-12, will transition to the Big Ten. Iowa’s Caitlin Clark, the reigning national player of the year, may return for an additional season due to the COVID-19 waiver. This puts WNBA teams in a waiting position to see which college players will enter the draft.
The transfer portal has been a game-changer, with over 1,000 players entering it this past offseason. LSU has been particularly active, bringing in Hailey Van Lith from Louisville and Aneesah Morrow from DePaul. UConn is also back to full strength, with key players returning from injuries.
The Pac-12 is undergoing significant changes, with teams moving to various other conferences. The Big 12, on the other hand, is expanding by adding Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah to its roster for the next season.
The landscape of college sports has also been altered by Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities. Players like Reese and Clark have been capitalizing on these opportunities by appearing in television commercials and events
LSU’s coach Kim Mulkey secured the two best players from the transfer portal and also signed the No. 1 recruiting class. Lauren Betts’ move from Stanford to UCLA could indicate a power shift in the Pac-12. Several SEC schools have also been active in the transfer portal to keep up with LSU.
TCU has undergone a significant transformation under new coach Mark Campbell. He has significantly improved the roster by bringing in players from the transfer portal. South Carolina’s coach Dawn Staley has also been active in the transfer portal and has the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class.
TCU has been the biggest riser in the projections, moving from a non-ranking to No. 41. Mississippi State and Texas A&M have also moved up in the rankings. Arkansas and NC State have seen a drop in their projected seeds.