Over the last 10 years, women’s college basketball has grown and evolved. It’s not a bunch of “girls” on the court playing a simple fundamental game. These women are bigger, faster, stronger, smarter and more athletic than ever and today’s game reflects that. The excitement and interest surrounding college games is at an all time high. So let’s celebrate the top talent in women’s college basketball today. Without further ado, here’s the 10 best women’s college basketball players this year. Let the debate begin.
1) A’ja Wilson, South Carolina, F/C, 6’5”, Senior:
Current stats- 22.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.6 blocks, 56% field goal, 69% free throws, 42% three pointers
Wilson’s footwork and post game are top notch. Once she gets the ball on the block, she’s almost impossible to stop. She rebounds and block shots at a high level. Although her sample size is small, she hits enough three pointers to be respectable. Her biggest contribution and most important part of her game is leadership, as there are a lot of new faces and young players who need to be led and shown the way.
2) Gabby Williams, UConn, G/F, 5’11”, Senior:
Current stats- 10.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 2.6 steals, 59% field goal, 71% free throws
Quite frankly, there isn’t much Gabby Williams can’t do. She’s superior athlete who’s an excellent defender, rebounder and passer. She can score but is a reluctant shooter. The coaching staff continues to encourage her to be more aggressive on offense. Her impact is felt even if she’s not scoring, as her versatility can devastate opponents. Even with the talent around her, she finds a way to stand out.
3) Katie Lou Samuelson, UConn, G/F, 6’3”, Senior:
Current stats- 18.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, 53% field goal, 80% free throws, 48% three pointers
Samuelson is arguably the best shooter in college basketball and she leads the country in three point shooting. Once just a shooter, she is now a well balanced all around player. She moves well without the ball which helps her get open. She has also improved her ball handling, rebounding and defense. She can now attack the basket off the dribble, a new wrinkle in her offensive arsenal. Don’t let her calm demeanor fool you, there is an assassin behind that smile.
4) Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State, G, 5’8”, Senior:
Current stats- 24.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 46% field goal, 85% free throws, 40% three pointers
Always in attack mode on offense, Mitchell constantly pressures defenses geared to stop her. She’s a very good shooter with three point range, though she’s equally adept at attacking the basket. Exceptional in the open floor, Mitchell is hard to stop with just one defender. She can take over games when needed and has worked hard on being a better passer to get teammates involved. She’s looking to carry the Buckeyes to a Final Four.
5) Napheesa Collier, UConn, F, 6’1”, Junior:
Current stats- 15.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 1.9 blocks, 57% field goal, 78% free throws
Although her numbers have dipped a little, it does not measure how important Collier’s mere presence is on the court. She is very good scoring around the basket and her mid range shot is efficient. Her range has expanded out to the three point line. She also runs the floor like a guard. Her ability to score from all three levels at her size makes her a match up nightmare. She’s a strong defender and rebounder, which makes her a top two way player.
6) Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon, G, 5’10”, Sophomore:
Current stats- 19.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.6 steals, 46% field goal, 78% free throws, 46% three pointers
Onescu does it all on the court with great efficiency. Her game is not flashy but is full of substance. She can score, rebound and pass. Whatever the team needs, she will provide. She is shooting 40% from three and 80% from the free throw line, so you can understand why the ball has been entrusted to her. She plays with a calmness that belies her youth. Her understanding of the game and basketball IQ allows her to dissect defenses with precision. She will only get better with experience.
7) Asia Durr, Louisville, G, 5’10”, Junior
Current stats- 19.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 47% field goal, 82% free throws, 45% three pointers
Durr is an offensively gifted player with a sweet stroke. Whether from long distance or mid range, she can cripple a defense. The issue for defenses is to not let her get started. Her quick release and ability off the dribble makes her a nightmare one on one to guard. She is working on becoming a better rebounder and in ball defender. Her leadership skills have grown with her game.
8) Sophie Cunningham, Missouri, G, 6’1”, Junior:
Current stats- 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 56% field goal, 85% free throws, 47% three pointers
After playing through back pain last season, Cunninghams’s toughness can not be questioned. Now that she is healthy, she is providing the Tigers with a little bit of everything. She has already led them to a huge win over South Carolina. She is a better rebounder and passer than given credit for. Not the fastest player but she still manages to consistently gets by defenders. Adding to the toughness is that she is not afraid to get dirty, mix it up or dive on the floor for loose balls. She leads by example and her teammates follow.
9) Kia Nurse, UConn, G, 6’0”, Senior:
Current stats- 14.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 55% field goal, 80% free throws, 47% three pointers
Stats don’t always tell the whole story of Nurse’s impact. She would be a huge scorer on most other teams but she wouldn’t trade that for becoming the best player she could be nor the winning and championships. Her shooting has vastly improved (second in the country behind teammate Samuelson in three point shooting) and she is a ferocious defender. She also has the ability to be a playmaker as well. She is the glue to this team full of stars.
10) Kalani Brown, Baylor, C, 6’7”, Junior:
Current stats- 20.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 67% field goal, 76% free throws
The top field goal percentage shooter in the country, Brown changes the dynamic of the game from the post. She is the focus of Baylor’s offense as she makes it easier for teammates when she touches the ball. That can be a chore sometimes with inexperienced guards. She is often doubled or triple teamed every time she touches the ball but that does not stop her from putting up big numbers. She rebounds and defends the paint very well. She does not block a lot of shots but changes a ton of them.