Women’s College Basketball Preview
Today will be a busy day for NCAA Division I Basketball, because not only will the men kick off their season, so will the women. Just like the men’s season, the women will also end their season on St. Patrick Day. Let’s see what to look forward to for the 2023-24 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball season.
All eyes will be primarily on the team who left the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas as the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Champions…the Louisiana State University Tigers. This will be the first time that LSU will begin a season, as the defending champions. Thankfully for the Tigers, (head coach) Kim Mulkey has been through this 3 times before, when she was the head coach for the Baylor Bears. With their leader, Angel Reese, there is no shortage of confidence among the women’s Tigers team.
A constant threat to be in the championship picture are the University of Connecticut Huskies. Last season, while the men’s team won the National Championship, the women’s team were shockingly eliminated in the Sweet 16 for the first time since the 2004-05 season. The women’s Huskies have not missed a tournament, since the 1987-88 season. Going into his 39th season as U Conn’s head coach, Geno Auriemma has been the biggest constant for the success of the Huskies. Many people in Storrs, CT don’t think that success will come to an end, any time soon.
A team who had once been a constant threat to be in the championship picture, but have had some mixed success in recent years are the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The only team to have been in every NCAA tournament, the Lady Vols haven’t won the National Championship since the 2007-08 season. They’ll hope to build off of 2 consecutive Sweet 16 appearances under (head coach) Kellie Harper, who won 3 National Championships as a Tennessee player in the mid to late 1990s.
Let’s look at some big games for this season. Of course, opening day with the champs is a must to include. LSU competing against the Colorado Buffaloes in a Naismith Hall of Fame Series game on Monday night will be sure to have some attention, since the game will be on TNT, especially from those who played earlier in the day. December 10th, the Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Showcase will take place from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
Naturally enough, the Huskies will compete in one of the 3 games there. They will have the final game on that event, as they play the North Carolina Tar Heels. January 25th, it’s a battle of the last 2 Women’s National Champions, as current champions LSU host the former champions, the South Carolina Gamecocks. With Southeastern Conference pride on the line, both of these teams will want to send each other a personal message, after sending subtle ones, last season. The Gamecocks won the SEC Tournament by defeating Tennessee (the team who eliminated LSU in the semi-finals).
However, the Tigers won the National Championship by defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes (the team who dethroned South Carolina in the Final Four). February 25th, the Lady Volunteers will host LSU. If Harper wants to know where her team stands, a late-season showdown with the defending champions will be a strong indicator for where her Volunteers are as potential championship contenders.
Of course, when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, 68 teams will be very happy to know they will be involved in this season’s Women’s March Madness. Then from March 20th to March 31st, grueling battles will determine who will take a trip to Cleveland, Ohio for the Final Four. On April 5th, we will find out who will compete for the National Championship. On April 7th, we will determine who will leave Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse as the 2023-24 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Champions.