There’s still a lot of basketball ahead of Selection Monday on March 15. If you’re just now tuning into the heat of the season, here’s one notable thing you should know about each team in Monday night’s initial rankings:
No. 1 seeds – UConn, South Carolina, Stanford and Louisville
1. UConn — Neither age, nor a lack of experience, has been an obstacle for this team with nine newcomers. Especially when its leading scorer, Paige Bueckers, is a freshman, but she performs like a veteran. Bueckers helped her team become No. 1 in the AP poll on Feb. 15, after knocking off then-No. 1 South Carolina in overtime. Bueckers made program history in the top-two matchup, becoming the first Husky with three consecutive 30-plus point performances.
2. South Carolina — It’s no secret the Gamecocks are one of the strongest defensive teams in the nation. In fact, South Carolina is No. 2 in the country in blocked shots. That’s credit to Aaliyah Boston locking down the paint, ranking in the top five in the country in blocks, while Victaria Saxton ranks No. 2 in the SEC.
3. Stanford — The Cardinal held the No. 1 AP ranking for the opening month, up until a tough week of upsets to Pac-12 opponents in Week 9. The Cardinal fell to unranked Colorado in overtime and then-No.6 UCLA by single digits. Since that Jan. 22 loss to the Bruins, Stanford has gone on a seven-game winning streak and still remains the No. 1 team in the Pac-12, with ranked wins over Arizona, Oregon and UCLA.
4. Louisville — Dana Evans. That’s one thing you should know about Louisville. The ACC’s leading scorer (20.8 points per game) can get it done in many fashions, especially with the game on the line. On Evans’ senior night against Georgia Tech, she broke the program’s record with 37 consecutive double-figure scoring games, passing Angel McCoughtry.
— Louisville WBB (@UofLWBB) February 13, 2021
No. 2 seeds – Texas A&M, NC State, Maryland and Arizona
5. Texas A&M — The Aggies are currently 8-0 against ranked opponents, which is the most ranked victories in the country. Texas A&M has only been knocked off by unranked LSU, which out-rebounded the Aggies 40-31 in a 65-61 overtime result Jan. 14. Texas A&M is currently 15-0 when they win the game on the glass.
If you love hoops, then you gotta love this team ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WqsMFaU3B4
— Texas A&M Women’s Basketball (@AggieWBB) February 10, 2021
6. NC State — The Wolfpack has knocked off two No. 1 teams this season, upsetting South Carolina on Dec. 3 and Louisville on Feb. 1, to become the third team to defeat two top-ranked teams in the past 20 seasons. The latter effort could have elevated the Wolfpack to No. 1 in the country. However, NC State couldn’t close out that week against unranked North Carolina’s hot 3-point shooting, falling to the Tar Heels on Feb. 7.
7. Maryland — The Terps have a well-oiled offense, leading the Big Ten in points per game, field-goal percentage and free throws. Maryland has the No. 1 scoring offense in the country and four Terps average double-digit points, led by sophomore guard Ashley Owusu at 19.3 points per game.
8. Arizona — The Wildcats’ go-to offensive threat is All-American guard Aari McDonald. McDonald has scored in double-digits in 81 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the league. She joined the 2,000-point club on Jan. 22.
No. 3 seeds – UCLA, Baylor, Oregon and Georgia
9. UCLA — Michaela Onyenwere and Charisma Osborne are a dynamic duo for the Bruins. Both are top-four scorers in the Pac-12 conference, averaging 36 points combined. The All-American forward Onyenwere is also ranked second in rebounds in the conference, grabbing 8.3 boards per game.
10. Baylor — Not only does Baylor lead the Big 12 in scoring, averaging 82.4 points per game in 18 games, the Bears’ defensive presence has been a problem for their opponents. Baylor’s defense holds teams to only 52.6 points per game, which ranks No. 1 in scoring defense for the Big 12 and No. 10 in the nation.
11. Oregon — The Ducks might be young, but their potential is endless. Freshman TeHina PaoPao has looked very comfortable as the Ducks’ primary ball-handler. PaoPao has found crafty ways to find her teammates, while remaining in the top 10 in the Pac-12 with a 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio. However, Oregon is still trying to find consistency on offense.
12. Georgia — The Bulldogs take a lot of pride in their defense. The Bulldogs are the first in the SEC in scoring defense, holding teams to 59.3 points per game. Georgia is also No. 2 in the SEC in blocks (6.2) and No. 6 in the country. That’s credit to Jenna Staiti, who leads the conference with 61 blocks.
No. 4 seeds – Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana and Kentucky
13. Tennessee — The Lady Vols’ incredible length gives Tennessee an advantage on offense, including the perimeter with the 6-1 Rae Burrell and 6-2 Rennia Davis being able to work inside and out. The pair are Tennessee’s top scorers, averaging nearly 32 points together. On the defensive end, Burrell and Davis’s length also makes it difficult for opposing guards to get the ball into the paint.
14. West Virginia — The Mountaineers currently sit at No. 2 in Big 12 play with the help of lead scorer Kysre Gondrezick, who’s averaging 21.2 points per game, which ranks No. 4 in scoring in the conference. Out of West Virginia’s 19 contests, she’s led the Mountaineers in points in 13 games. She also leads her team in assists and steals.
15. Indiana — The Hoosiers have an incredible duo in Mackenzie Holmes and Grace Berger. Holmes’ inside game puts her in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding in the Big Ten. Berger leads the nation with three triple-doubles this season, averaging 15.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
16. Kentucky — The Wildcats have been tasked with a tough schedule, falling to unranked Ole Miss and four top-15 opponents — DePaul, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Tennessee. Opposing teams know in order to be successful, they have to find a way to shut down Kentucky’s lead scorer Rhyne Howard (19 points per game). Howard has stepped up in big moments for her team with three 30-plus point performances, so far.