The 2022-23 college basketball season will be here in less than a week. South Carolina and Stanford are looking like easy choices for the top two teams in the CBS Sports Power Rankings, but a lot can change between November and March because there won't be a shortage of teams trying to prove themselves.
Tennessee looks deep and versatile with solid returners and new faces. The Iowa State Cyclones are in terrific hands with Ashley Joens coming back for a fifth season. Meanwhile, the UConn Huskies will have to play without Paige Bueckers but can still succeed with Azzi Fudd embracing a bigger role.
Here are out women's basketball preseason Power Rankings:
1. South Carolina Gamecocks
Guard Destanni Henderson will be missed, but the Gamecocks still look more than solid with the other four starters returning. The key piece is Aliyah Boston, the reigning Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Boston led the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks last season. Zia Cooke was also a double-digit scorer and could take on a bigger role as a point guard in 2022-23. Dawn Staley won last season's Naismith Coach of the Year award for a reason, so she's not about to let her team lower its expectations.
2. Stanford Cardinal
The departure of Lexie and Lacie Hull along with sixth-year guard Anna Wilson will be felt, but the Cardinal also return a lot of talent. Stanford keeps its top two scorers and rebounders in Cameron Brink and Haley Jones. Jones facilitates offense and will likely lead the team in assists again. Brink is strong defensively and is force in the paint. The Cardinal will also have the interior services of Lauren Betts, a 6-foot-7 forward and the No. 1 recruit in the nation.
3. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Hawkeyes will once again have one of the best players in the country in point guard Caitlin Clark, who averaged 27 points and eight assists -- both No. 1 in the nation -- along with eight rebounds per game last season. Monika Czinano choosing to come back for her fifth season is big for the Hawkeyes too. Last season, the forward/center averaged 21.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and led the country in field goal shooting percentage at 67.9 percent.
4. Tennessee Lady Volunteers
Tennessee will be deep and versatile with solid returners and strong new additions. The Lady Vols are returning most of their starters, including Jordan Horston and Tamari Key. Last season, Horston led her team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Key dominates on the offensive interior and shot 58.4 percent from the field while leading the nation with 119 blocks. New players include Mississippi State transfer Rickea Jackson, last season's top scorer in the SEC, and Justine Pissott, the No. 11-ranked recruit in the nation.
5. Iowa State Cyclones
Ashley Joens returning for a fifth season will certainly help Iowa State. The 6-foot-1 guard/forward led the Cyclones with 20.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season. The team is returning four starters that helped Iowa State reach a program-record 28 victories. Emily Ryan was third in the nation in assists last season with 7.1 per game, and she added 13.1 points per game. Ryan also led the team in steals with 62.
6. UConn Huskies
Paige Bueckerswhile recovering from a torn ACL is the main thing keeping the Huskies from being ranked higher. Azzi Fudd, the only double-digit scorer returning, will have to take a bigger role in every area of the game. UConn will have solid shooters in Fudd, Caroline Ducharme and Lou Lopez Sénéchal. They also add two top-five recruits in Isuneh Brady and Ayanna Patterson. If head coach Geno Auriemma was able to reach the championship game during last season's injury-filled campaign, could make it an easier journey.
7. Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns' future looks good with the return of point guard Rori Harmon, who was last season's Big 12 Freshman of the Year and the Big 12 Tournament's most outstanding player. She led her team with 2.4 steals per game last season and contributed 11.4 points per game. Aaliyah Moore missed significant playing time because of an ankle injury, but she made the All-Big 12 Preseason team along with Harmon. Strong new additions include grad transfers Shaylee Gonzales from BYU and Sonya Morris from DePaul. Gonzales was the 2022 WCC Player of the Year, while Morris was an unanimous All-Big East First Team selection.
8. Louisville Cardinals
The Cardinals have impact returners, including their leading scorer in Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran, who averaged 8.6 points per game while shooting 51.4% from the field last season. Senior Mykasa Robinson is a versatile defender who has been named to the ACC All-Defensive team for the last two years. A solid new addition is Florida State transfer Morgan Jones, who led the Seminoles with 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season. Jones and Van Lith made the Preseason All-ACC team. The Cardinal also have the No. 13 freshman class in the country with four top-100 prospects.
9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The Fighting Irish kept their lineup consistent last season as only six players started games. Four of them are returning and they all averaged double digits last season, led by then-freshman Olivia Miles with 13.7 points per game. She also led the club in assists 244. Sonia Citron is also back this season, and she's coming off a campaign in which she averaged 11.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. That young talent with super senior Dara Mabrey is a solid combination. Transfers will also add depth to the roster. They include Kylee Watson from Oregon, Jenna Brown from Stanford and Lauren Ebo from Texas.
10. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels used the same five starters in all 32 games last season, and they return four of them – keeping their top offensive and defensive players. Deja Kelly was the team's top scorer a season ago with 16.5 points per game. Alyssa Ustby added 12.9 points per game and led the team in rebounds with 8.6 boards per game. Ustby also led the Tar Heels in steals with a total of 54. Anya Poole led in blocks and shooting percentage. Kennedy Todd Williams averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
11. Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes finished last season as a top-10 offensive team and they get to keep their best offensive weapons in Jayce Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell. Sheldon was a top-25 scorer nationally at 19.7 points per game. Mikesell averaged 18.6 points per game and was the second leading 3-point shooter in the country with 3.6 triples per game.
12. Oklahoma Sooners
The Sooners had the third best offense in the nation last season, and it could happen again as their top scorers return for 2022-23. Madi Williams led the team with 18.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game a season ago. Taylor Roberston's return gives Oklahoma the best 3-point shooter in the nation, as she averaged 3.65 3-pointers per game last season. Ana Llanusa saw her 2021-22 season cut short due to injury, but she averaged 17.3 points in the 10 games she played.
13. Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech is returning ACC Player of the Year Elizabeth Kitley, who led the Hokies with 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game last season. Those efforts landed Kitley on the preseason All-American team. Georgia Amoore is also a key returner, as she contributed 11.2 points per game last season while helping others score with 145 assists. Transfers Ashley Owusu from Maryland and Taylor Soule from Boston College give Virginia Tech an extra push in the right direction.
14. NC State Wolfpack
The Wolfpack won't look the same without Elissa Cunane, Kai Crutchfield, Raina Perez and Kayla Jones, but NC State will still have depth. Diamond Johnson, Jakia Brown-Turner and Jada Boyd will play big roles in the success of the team. Johnson led the team in steals last season and was the second-leading scorer behind Cunane with 10.8 points per game. Brown-Turner followed closely with 9.8 points per game. Boyd had the best shooting percentage at 59.5 percent from the field.
15. Arizona Wildcats
Seniors Cate Reese and Shaina Pellington – who led the team in scoring with 14.3 and 11.3 points per game, respectively – will be returning. Reese, the team's top rebounder from a season ago, is also back. The Wildcats won't have Sam Thomas anymore, but the roster should still be solid. Arizona is adding a lot of talent in McDonald's All-American Maya Nnaji, a 6-foot-4 five-star recruit.
16. Indiana Hoosiers
The Hoosiers have talented leaders with experience. They have two valuable returners in graduate student Grace Berger and senior Mackenzie Holmes, last season's leading scorers with 16.2 points and 15.2 points per game, respectively. The addition of Sara Scalia from Minnesota also helps. The senior guard averaged 17.9 points per game last season and shot 41.3 percent from beyond the arc, which was good for 23rd in the nation.
17. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Cornhuskers finished the 2021-22 season as the 10th best offense in the nation with 77.8 points per game. This should be similarly proficient in 2022-23 as they are returning all four of their double-digit scorers in Jaz Shelley, Alexis Markowski, Isabelle Bourne and Sam Haiby. Shelly was one of the best players in the nation from beyond the arc last season, as she averaged 2.56 3-pointers per game.
18. Maryland Terrapins
The Terrapins lost a lot of players from last season, but Diamond Miller is the key returner. Miller dealt with a knee injury last season and therefore didn't play as much as she could, but she is entering her senior year as a preseason All-Big Ten selection and part of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award watch list. A list of talented transfers will also help. They include the 2022 Ivy League Player of the Year Abby Meyers from Princeton and Vanderbilt's top scorer Brinae Alexander.
19. Creighton Bluejays
A Creighton roster that relied heavily on sophomores accomplished the best postseason run in program history last season by going all the way to the Elite Eight. The Bluejays are returning all but three of the players from last year's team, including all the double-digit scorers in Emma Ronsiek, Lauren Jensen and Morgan Maly. With another year of experience under their belt, the Bluejays can't be overlooked.
20. Oregon Ducks
Oregon lost multiple key players from last year's roster, including Sedona Prince, who suffered a torn ligament in her elbow and. However, the Ducks still have two of their top scorers returning in Endyia Rogers and Te-Hina Paopao -- both preseason All-Conference elections. Oregon added more strength with Taya Hanson from Arizona State, who averaged 8.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season. The team also has the No. 2 incoming freshman class in the nation, one headlined by five-star recruits Chance Gray and Grace VanSlooten.
21. UCLA Bruins
The Bruins did the best they could through an injury-plagued year and made it to the WNIT semifinals. Emily Bessoir and former Wake Forest starter Gina Conti are two players who missed all of last season but are looking for a comeback.and returning leading scorer Charisma Osborne, an All-Pac-12 selection, will make UCLA stronger. The Bruins also have the No. 1 freshman class headlined by No. 2 recruit Kiki Rice and Gabriela Jaquez, who shared MVP honors at the 2022 McDonald's All-American Game.
22. Utah Utes
The Utes' young talent from last season set a solid foundation for the program. Now-sophomore Jenna Johnson led the team with 12 points per game last season on better than 52 percent from the floor. Giana Kneepkens registered 11.8 points per game and was named the coaches' selection for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. Both are returning with more experience and are preseason All-Conference selections. Kennady McQueen, another sophomore, got a preseason All-Conference honorable mention.
23. Baylor Lady Bears
Baylor had a top-15 offense last season, but the Lady Bears are losing a lot with NaLyssa Smith, Jordan Lewis and Egbo Queen gone. The only double-digit scorer returning is Sarah Andrews, who averaged 11.1 points per game last season. Ja'Mee Asberry and Caitlin Bickle, who averaged 9.5 and 7.4 points per game, respectively, will likely step up too. Baylor also has talented new faces, including one of the best JUCO recruits in the country in Catarina Ferreira and five-star McDonald's All-American Darianna Littlepage-Buggs.
24. South Dakota State Jackrabbits
The Jackrabbits won the 2022 WNIT Tournament and a share of the Summit League 2021-22 regular season title. They return their leading scorer in senior Myah Selland, who missed some games early in the season while dealing with an injury. She is now the preseason Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Starting point guard Paige Meyer, another key returner, was leading her team in assists and steals last season until she suffered a leg injury in late February. Selland, Meyer and fifth-year forward Paiton Burckhard made the the preseason All-Conference First team.
25. Princeton Tigers
Princeton lost Ivy League Player of the Year Abby Myers, but the Tigers still look strong with the other four starters coming back. Julia Cunningham and Kaitlyn Chen averaged double figures last season with 13.4 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. Ellie Mitchell led the team in rebounds with 10.4 boards per game and steals with 72. Grace Stone contributed 9.3 points per game as well as 72 assists.