By: Jeffrey Newholm
For REAL basketball fans, the NBA may not be enough. But who wants to watch the stinky college men with so much corruption and a meaningless regular season? No worries, ladies to the rescue! The top five NCAAW teams each carry two important storylines for authentic basketball fans to follow. Every game counts with seeding significant, so each opportunity to knock off a titan is vital.
1. Sabrina Ionescu
If you somehow haven’t heard of this decade’s best point guard, check ESPN3 right away! Ionescu recorded an incredible 19th triple-double Saturday and is poised to lead the Ducks to a first national championship.
2. Olympic Shocker
The US Olympic team has lost one tournament game since 1996 and hadn’t lost to a college team since 1999. Until Oregon pulled a stunner, to the fans’ delight!
For an exhibition…
— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) November 10, 2019
Unfortunately, Oregon fans seem somewhat fair-weathered considering how few were around before Ionescu. That’s ok though, better late than never.
1. Lauren Cox Heroic Recovery
Almost nothing’s better in sports than an injury comeback. In Baylor’s national championship win, Cox suffered an MCL sprain, and she feared a missed 2019-20 season. She seemed poised to return but will miss more time with a foot injury. When she returns for conference play, she’ll have plenty of time to improve against a less talented Big 12. And that’s bad news for the other team’s women because they won’t impede the 6′ 4″ muscular terror.
2. Repeat Dominance
One couldn’t ask for a better NCAA final than Baylor-Notre Dame.
Some sexist dum-dums claim there’s no parity in women’s basketball. Then why, I ask, have there been four different champs in the last four years? However, Baylor is capable of breaking this trend in a return to one-team dynamism.
1. Consistent excellence
A fake Aristotle quote alleges excellency stems from consistency. NBS cuts through the fake news to clarify: twelve straight sweet 16s and thirteen total Final Four appearances are both excellent and consistent. The Cardinal returns four starters from and Elite Eight run and adds the #2 recruiting class, including top recruit Haley Jones. Stanford has enough talent to win its first title since 1992.
— WSLAM (@wslam) November 10, 2019
2. VanDerveer’s vengeance
It’s hard to believe the Cardinal hasn’t won in 28 years, and it’s even harder considering Tara VanDerveer’s hall-of-fame excellence. Unfortunately, 2020 will be another year when excellent teams overshadow not-quite-as-excellent Stanford. VanDerveer, then, needs to focus her young women on competing well in the PAC-12 and earning a vital #1 seed.
1. Proud to Win the American
Through Sunday, Uconn is 121-0 all-time in the American conference. Mercifully for both the bored Huskies and their overwhelmed opponents, the team is moving back to the Big East next season. American opponents will have at least 16 more opportunities to tarnish Husky perfection. Will the blue thunder depart flawlessly, or will someone pull a momentous surprise?
— UConn Women's Hoops (@UConnWBB) November 17, 2019
2. Core Four Unbalanced?
Between Megan Walker, Olivia Nelson-Ododa, Crystal Dangerfield, and Christyn Williams, Uconn features four very talented starters. Through three games, however, the rest of the roster has done almost nothing. Will four players’ talent be enough to push Uconn to its 13th straight Final Four?
1. Chennedy Carter Certainty
A little-known fact about the SEC: it’s an outstanding women’s basketball conference. And Carter is its best player. She knocked off DePaul in the 2018 tourney with an epic buzzer-beater and almost beat vaunted Notre Dame with an absurd 35-point scoring burst.
Want to bet against her in March? May as well short the Brooklyn Bridge.
2. New Blood
Texas A&M has one of the most lucrative football teams in America. So, it’s pleasant that a women’s team is emerging to prevent attention monopoly. Furthermore, a new player in the national race promotes greater glory for the greater sex. And when players like Ciera Johnson defeat talented mid-majors with devastating daggers, clearly it’s time for sports fans to diversify basketball fandom.
— Texas A&M Women's Basketball (@AggieWBB) November 17, 2019
Future of Equality Nearing
For two years, NBS has optimistically proclaimed the improving state of women’s basketball. While there’s still much room for improvement, the significantly increased chatter about the NCAAW indicates this trend’s continuation. I know it’s tempting to yawn, “wait till April.” Please don’t! The next five months of women’s hoops will display a dazzling spectacle of hoops heroism, previewing the next generation of summer basketball.