High 25 participant rankings: Ionescu and the loaded Geese conflict with UCLA

Earlier than the beginning of the ladies’s faculty basketball season, we ranked the highest 25 gamers within the nation based mostly totally on what we noticed of them from 2018-19. It is a onerous record for a freshman to crack earlier than enjoying a school sport.

However now, nearing mid-February, we’re re-ranking the 25 greatest gamers. In some methods, it isn’t any simpler. There’s contemporary knowledge to work with, however there are challenges — reminiscent of how a participant ranks when her workforce is not doing as properly, or when she has missed substantial time because of accidents however has not been dominated out for the season.

The tip result’s there are eight new gamers on our record now who weren’t there again in November. And in lower than a month, these are a few of the key names who will likely be on the focus for March Insanity.

Only a reminder, these rankings are based mostly on faculty efficiency this season and never WNBA potential.

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1. Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon Geese, G, 5-foot-11, senior

Season stats: 17.Three PPG, Eight.Eight RPG, Eight.5 APG
Preseason rating: 1

Now with 24 profession triple-doubles, Ionescu has been precisely as was anticipated of her this senior season: a must-watch participant who has utilized not simply all her weapons, however all of her workforce’s. The Geese, recognized extra for his or her offense, have proven energy on each side of the court docket this season, and Ionescu has been the consummate chief for them in all regards. — Mechelle Voepel

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2. Lauren Cox, Baylor Woman Bears, F, 6-foot-Four, senior

Season stats: 11.5 PPG, Eight.zero RPG
Preseason rating: 2

She handled a stress response in her proper foot in November and December however returned to do no matter is required for Baylor. That does not essentially imply scoring loads, nevertheless it means facilitating the whole lot else: along with her rebounding, protection, passing and management. Baylor is simply higher in each method when Cox is on the ground. — Mechelle Voepel

AP Photograph/Bryan Woolston

Three. Rhyne Howard, Kentucky Wildcats, G, 6-foot-2, sophomore

Season stats: 23.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG
Preseason rating: 17

An enormous guard with pro-level skills to create scoring alternatives for herself or teammates, Howard has gone from one of the best freshman within the nation to probably the greatest gamers within the sport. The Wildcats survived with out Howard within the lineup whereas she was out with a damaged finger on her non-shooting hand, nevertheless it was additionally apparent that they want her (see the current loss to Florida, a workforce Kentucky beat by 20 factors in January). With a utilization fee — which measures the proportion of a workforce’s performs through which that participant is concerned — within the high 10 nationally, and because the SEC’s main scorer, Howard is as very important to her workforce as any participant within the nation. — Charlie Creme

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Four. Satou Sabally, Oregon Geese, F, 6-foot-Four, junior

Season stats: 16.Three PPG, 7.Four RPG
Preseason rating: Eight

Anybody would profit from enjoying alongside Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard. What units Sabally aside is how clearly gamers of that caliber profit from enjoying alongside her. Reasonably than being overshadowed, Sabally picks and chooses her moments to take the lead. She’s completely able to pulling defenders away from Hebard within the submit or doing the pick-and-roll soiled work for Ionescu. She may be the nation’s most overqualified complementary piece. However there are additionally stretches when she is one of the best participant on the court docket, an uptick in her rebounds and free throw makes an attempt this season proof of an ever extra aggressive — and unstoppable — presence. Put it this manner: Nobody within the nation extra often upstages Ionescu. — Graham Hays

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5. Ruthy Hebard, Oregon Geese, F, 6-foot-Four, senior

Season stats: 16.5 PPG, 9.Three RPG
Preseason rating: 5

A lot of the credit score for Oregon’s top-rated offense goes to Ionescu, and rightfully so, however Hebard’s contributions can’t be diminished. The success of the pick-and-roll that’s such a basic a part of the Geese’ assault is as a lot about Hebard’s means to catch and end as is it Ionescu’s imaginative and prescient. Area aim accuracy and consistency have been Hebard’s calling playing cards since arriving in Eugene, and along with her gentle arms and nice footwork, she not often takes a nasty shot. Hebard has made practically 65% of her discipline aim makes an attempt over her profession, and she or he is capturing 67% for the second straight season. — Charlie Creme

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6. Mikayla Pivec, Oregon State Beavers, G, 5-foot-10, senior

Season stats: 14.Four PPG, 9.7 RPG
Preseason rating: 13

Is she some extent guard who rebounds so relentlessly that she averages near a double-double? Is she an undersized Three who sits close to the highest of the Pac-12 in assists? Is she the final word ensemble piece or essentially the most unselfish soloist? Pivec is a basketball platypus, in contrast to nearly anybody else however completely suited to her surroundings at Oregon State. On a workforce that depends upon loads of skilled Three-point capturing and inexperienced submit expertise, Pivec affords a center floor. She retains the ball shifting to search out the shooters or the posts, wins second probabilities with rebounds and sniffs out angles that few others see to get her personal factors. — Graham Hays

AP Photograph/Gerry Broome

7. Dana Evans, Louisville Cardinals, G, 5-foot-6, junior

Season stats: 18.5 PPG, Four.Three APG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

No participant made a much bigger soar from the preseason rankings. Blame us, nevertheless it additionally speaks to what Evans has accomplished with the chance offered by Asia Durr’s departure. A prolific scorer in her personal proper in highschool, Evans understandably fell into the function of playmaker and defensive stopper when Durr was round. She additionally clearly did not overlook how one can be the star of the present. She has already tried extra free throws than she did all of final season (and may try greater than her first two seasons mixed). And capturing higher than 90% from the free throw line, whereas additionally higher than 40% from the Three-point line, is an efficient method for one in all faculty basketball’s quickest gamers to drive opposing defenses to distraction. — Graham Hays

Junior ahead Megan Walker, UConn’s main scorer at 19.1 factors per sport and a 45% shooter on the season, shot Three-of-16 towards Oregon. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports activities

Eight. Megan Walker, UConn Huskies, F, 6-foot-1, junior

Season stats: 19.zero PPG, Eight.9 RPG
Preseason rating: 15

It took two seasons of studying and enjoying behind some transcendent expertise, however Walker is now the All-American Geno Auriemma deliberate for her to be when she was the No. 1 recruit within the 2017 class. The advance has been regular from 5.Eight factors per sport as freshman to 12.1 as sophomore to 19.zero this season. With Crystal Dangerfield and Christyn Williams by her facet on the perimeter, Walker has assist, however she has established herself because the Huskies’ clear No. 1 scoring choice and a flexible offensive participant. The following step is extra effectivity in UConn’s greatest video games. She shot only a mixed 22% in video games towards Baylor, Tennessee and Oregon. The Huskies will want higher from their greatest participant if a 13th consecutive Closing 4 is to occur. — Charlie Creme

AP Photograph/Stephen Spillman

9. Aari McDonald, Arizona Wildcats, G, 5-foot-6, junior

Season stats: 20.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG
Preseason rating: 12

How transformative is she? In 2018, when she was sitting out her switch 12 months from Washington, the Wildcats received six video games. Final season, McDonald was the nation’s third-leading scorer (24.1 PPG) and Arizona received the WNIT. The scoring common is down just a little, however the contributions and outcomes are even higher. The Wildcats are sure to make their first NCAA match since 2005 and likewise might host first- and second-round video games. Few gamers are as quick over 94 ft as McDonald, and that pace makes her practically unstoppable in transition and is the first ingredient in Arizona’s pick-and-roll offense. — Charlie Creme

AP Photograph/Sam Craft

10. Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M Aggies, G, 5-foot-7, junior

Season stats: 20.6 PPG, Four.6 RPG
Preseason rating: Three

There is not a extra ball-dominant participant within the sport at the moment than Carter. Neither is there a extra dominant participant with the ball in her arms. Her deep capturing vary mixed the power to show the nook and get to the rim or pull up at full pace makes Carter the whole offensive bundle. Her sport has been criticized for being too individualistic, however having a participant who can all the time get her shot is a pleasant luxurious to have. Whereas she has been sidelined over the previous seven video games by an ankle damage suffered Jan. 9, Texas A&M has gone Four-Three — and averaged simply 56.Three factors within the three video games towards ranked groups in that stretch. — Charlie Creme

Elissa Cunane and NC State transfer as much as a No. 1 seed. The Wolfpack are also ranked No. Four on this week’s AP High 25, their highest rating in 20 years. AP Photograph/Gerry Broome

11. Elissa Cunane, NC State Wolfpack, C, 6-foot-5, sophomore

Season stats: 17.zero PPG, 10.5 RPG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

It is no shock that in the one sport the Wolfpack have misplaced this season, to North Carolina, Cunane was held to only eight factors and struggled capturing. That simply would not occur a lot to the sophomore who’s averaging a double-double and has turn out to be one of many high low-block threats within the nation. She will additionally step exterior and hit some photographs, too. — Mechelle Voepel

Michaela Onyenwere and UCLA are presently projected as a No. 2 seed in Charlie Creme’s newest Bracketology. Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire

12. Michaela Onyenwere, UCLA Bruins, F, 6-foot, junior

Season stats: 19.9 PPG, 7.9 RPG
Preseason rating: 11

As Onyenwere’s sport continues to develop it helps that she is solely a greater athlete than virtually anybody she faces. She has scored greater than 20 factors in 11 video games and stays the chief cause why UCLA is only a sport behind Oregon within the Pac-12 race. — Charlie Creme

AP Photograph/Sean Rayford

13. Aliyah Boston, South Carolina Gamecocks, F, 6-foot-5, freshman

Season stats: 13.Three PPG, 9.1 RPG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

A lot was anticipated of the freshman, and she or he has delivered. She’s the main scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker for the top-ranked workforce within the nation, capturing higher than 60% from the sphere and practically 80% from the foul line. She has additionally proven loads of maturity and court docket presence past her years. — Mechelle Voepel

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14. Christyn Williams, UConn Huskies, G, 5-foot-11, sophomore

Season stats: 14.9 PPG, 5.zero RPG
Preseason rating: 10

Probably the most bodily gifted of UConn’s core 4 gamers, Williams has spent a lot of the primary half of the season attempting to develop that pure expertise right into a extra well-rounded sport. Her rebounding and assists numbers are up, nevertheless it’s nonetheless her pure scoring means, even when she is in a self-described capturing hunch, that units her aside. An excellent finisher in transition, Williams additionally possesses a midrange sport that’s uncommon at the moment. Her activity now’s to place all of her huge instruments collectively and play with the consistency sometimes demanded at UConn. — Charlie Creme

Crystal Dangerfield and UConn have misplaced thrice this season — on the street at No. 1 South Carolina and at residence towards No. 2 Baylor and No. Three Oregon. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports activities

15. Crystal Dangerfield, UConn Huskies, G, 5-foot-5, senior

Season stats: 16.zero PPG, Four.zero APG
Preseason rating: 6

The expression on Dangerfield’s face not often modifications, however her sport has. With a steely-eyed glare of focus, Dangerfield continues to be a facilitator first, however on the behest of coach Auriemma now seems to be for her personal shot extra typically. Not many increased compliments exist than getting Auriemma’s full belief. Whereas her assists are down, Dangerfield runs an offense that continues to be high 10 within the nation in assists per sport. She has turn out to be the Huskies’ greatest and most frequent Three-point shooter and their unquestioned on-court chief. — Charlie Creme

Tyasha Harris completed with 19 factors and 11 assists for South Carolina, which beat UConn for the primary time. AP Photograph/Sean Rayford

16. Tyasha Harris, South Carolina Gamecocks, G, 5-foot-10, senior

Season stats: 12.1 PPG, 5.5 APG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

She has quietly had one of many nice careers in Gamecocks historical past. Harris isn’t the focus, however she is all the time a motor making issues run easily as level guard. The senior has dealt properly with three freshmen within the beginning lineup and may be counted on to not get rattled or flip over the ball even within the hardest and tightest of video games. — Mechelle Voepel

Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire

17. Kathleen Doyle, Iowa Hawkeyes, G, 5-foot-9, senior

Season stats: 18.7 PPG, 6.5 APG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

Iowa was presupposed to battle this season with out Megan Gustafson, however the Hawkeyes have received 11 of 12 video games and are ranked 17th with a 20-Four report. That is largely due to Doyle. She has extra profession assists than any energetic participant not named Sabrina Ionescu, however she has additionally turn out to be one of many Huge Ten’s greatest scorers. Her means to get inside and both end or get to the free throw line serves as an unconventional technique to substitute Gustafson. — Graham Hays

Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire

18. Rennia Davis, Tennessee Woman Vols, G/F, 6-foot-2, junior

Season stats: 18.1 PPG, Eight.Three RPG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

A superb auxiliary participant in her first two seasons in Knoxville, Davis is now the go-to scorer for the Woman Vols, hitting double figures in all however one sport this season. Her discipline aim accuracy and scoring have improved from her sophomore 12 months despite the fact that she attracts one of the best defenders and most consideration from any opponent. In a season that has been higher than anticipated for Tennessee, Davis has been the catalyst, drawing reward from coach Kellie Harper in her willingness to take the massive shot. The proof is there. Davis’ buzzer-beater towards Alabama and 30-point efficiency towards LSU marked the 2 greatest wins of the season for the Woman Vols, now in third place within the SEC. — Charlie Creme

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19. Future Slocum, Oregon State Beavers, G, 5-foot-7, junior

Season stats: 14.6 PPG, Four.9 APG
Preseason rating: 9

She is placing up virtually an identical numbers to a season in the past. Her workforce, convention struggles apart, stays within the thick of the nationwide race. So it is most likely not honest that Slocum dropped this removed from her preseason place. It is not even essentially a unfavourable that she hasn’t improved on final season’s scoring numbers — it is no less than partly an indication of how properly younger posts Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown are coming alongside in what’s going to all the time be a balanced offense. If Slocum is likely one of the 19 greatest gamers within the nation, she’s doing simply high quality. And simply over midway into her enjoying eligibility with Oregon State, there’s nonetheless time for her to achieve one other stage. — Graham Hays

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20. Kiah Gillespie, Florida State Seminoles, F, 6-foot-2, senior

Season stats: 15.Eight PPG, 9.zero RPG
Preseason rating: 21

Taking part in large in large video games has turn out to be Gillespie’s calling card. She averaged 23 factors per sport towards Florida State’s three highest-ranked opponents: Texas A&M, NC State and Louisville. The Seminoles received all however a kind of video games (NC State), and behind Gillespie’s management, they’re nonetheless within the hunt for a top-four NCAA match seed. Gillespie, with 10 double-doubles on the season, is productive from anyplace on the court docket, nevertheless it’s her rebounding, fourth-best within the ACC, that soar begins her sport. — Charlie Creme

Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire

21. Ashley Joens, Iowa State Cyclones, G/F, 6-foot, sophomore

Season stats: 21.Three PPG, 10.5 RPG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

Ranked six spots forward of Rhyne Howard amongst final season’s top-100 recruits, she has accomplished a greater job than simply about anybody else in her class of protecting tempo with the Kentucky celebrity. Joens will get to the free throw line greater than virtually anybody within the nation, averages double-digit rebounds and nonetheless exhibits off a superb Three-point contact. She dislocated a shoulder shortly after halftime of a current sport towards Oklahoma and nonetheless got here again to hit key free throws down the stretch whereas ending with 17 factors and 15 rebounds in a win. — Graham Hays

Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith had 20 factors on 9-for-13 capturing towards UConn. AP Photograph/Jessica Hill

22. NaLyssa Smith, Baylor Woman Bears, F, 6-foot-2, sophomore

Season stats: 14.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG
Preseason rating: Not ranked

A key participant as a freshman on the Woman Bears’ nationwide championship workforce final 12 months, she’s filling an excellent larger function this season as their main scorer. Smith is explosively fast and might get to the rim towards anybody, plus she often hurts opponents on the offensive glass along with her putback prowess. Just like the workforce as an entire, she’s sturdy defensively, too. — Mechelle Voepel

Kiana Williams scored 17 factors to guide Stanford previous Oregon State on Sunday. AP Photograph/Amanda Loman

23. Kiana Williams, Stanford Cardinal, G, 5-foot-Eight, junior

Season stats: 13.zero PPG, Three.9 APG
Preseason rating: 14

As deep, balanced and ball-sharing aware because the Cardinal offense is, it is Williams who makes all of it go. As Stanford has integrated youth into the lineup and navigated some accidents, Williams and her quiet confidence has been the steadying presence. She is the one Stanford participant topping 30 minutes per sport and can also be Stanford’s second-leading scorer and Three-point shooter and high free throw shooter. — Charlie Creme

AP Photograph/Michael Woods

24. Chelsea Dungee, Arkansas Razorbacks, G, 5-foot-11, junior

Season stats: 18.1 PPG, 5.zero RPG
Preseason rating: 18

Coming off a troublesome six-game stretch through which she averaged simply 10.Three factors per sport, Dungee on Sunday obtained again to being the participant who earned a spot on this record with 24 factors in an vital win over Kentucky. She drove aggressively to the basket, expertly completed on the rim, used excessive ball screens to open up Three-point capturing area and excelled in transition, all attributes that obtained her observed on the nationwide scene towards the tip of final season. The spine of her sport is that aggressiveness and the arrogance that comes with it, one thing the Razorbacks will want as they hit the important thing portion of their SEC schedule. — Charlie Creme

AP Photograph/Michael Reaves

25. Beatrice Mompremier, Miami Hurricanes, F, 6-foot-Four, senior

Season stats: 16.Three PPG, 10.Four RPG
Preseason rating: 7

Typically worth cannot be actually measured till it’s gone. That appears to be the case in Miami with Mompremier. The Hurricanes had been ranked and primed to compete for a top-four end within the ACC when their middle went down with a foot damage on Jan. 2. Since Mompremier was sidelined, Miami has gone Three-7. A wholesome Mompremier with improved submit strikes and the prolonged capturing vary that was on show in November and December nonetheless tasks as a first-round WNBA draft decide, however a as soon as promising season for the Hurricanes has disappeared with the lack of their star. — Charlie Creme

Dropped out: Kaila Charles, Maryland (No. Four); Bella Alarie, Princeton (No. 16); Tynice Martin, West Virginia (No. 19); DiJonai Carrington, Stanford (No. 20); Peyton Williams, Kansas State (No. 22); Elizabeth Balogun, Louisville (No. 23); Ae’rianna Harris, Purdue (No. 24); Shadeen Samuels, Seton Corridor (No. 25)