Women’s basketball Big East breakdown

Forward Nyamer Diew races down the court. Diew transferred to Iowa State following last season. Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics.

KENDALL HEDGE | SPORTS REPORTER | kmhedge@butler.edu 

The women’s college basketball season will be in full effect in two weeks. With the return to a full schedule this season and a mix of new NCAA rules, it’s time to dive into the stability of the Big East conference.  

With the craziness of the 2020-21 season, some Big East teams did not get the ability to go up against every team in the conference during the regular season due to COVID-19 regulations. Leaving a few teams questioning where they might rank this year. 

Once again, UConn punched their ticket to the final four tournament for the 13th year in a row. The Huskies went 18-0 in conference play and only lost two out-of-conference teams — giving them the momentum for yet another successful season. 

Many teams this season replenished their line-up with fresh faces and new talent in hopes to compete for tournament titles. With that being said, here’s a breakdown of the league heading into the upcoming season. 

Butler Bulldogs

KEY DEPARTURES: Okako Adika (13.8 ppg), Upe Atosu (11.1 ppg) 

RETURNING: Genesis Parker (12.7 ppg), Emilia Sexton (3.5 ppg) 

KEY ADDITIONS: Celena Taborn (Transfer from Furman), Kendall Wingler (Transfer from Eastern Kentucky), Sydney Jaynes (15.3 ppg at Trinity Lutheran High School)

BOTTOM LINE:  The Bulldogs lost the majority of their key players to transfers and added eight freshmen. Butler is looking at a rebuilding year for the program this season.

Creighton Bluejays

KEY DEPARTURES: Temi Carda (15.6 ppg), DeArica Pryor (3.6 ppg) 

RETURNING: Emma Ronsiek (11.6 ppg), Rachael Saunders (8.2 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Lexi Unruh (23.8 ppg at Sioux Falls Christian High School), Lauren Jensen (Transfer from Iowa)

BOTTOM LINE: The roster this year is almost a replica of last year, besides losing their key scorer. The Bluejays should have another successful season after replacing Carda with fresh talent in Unruh.

DePaul Blue Demons

KEY DEPARTURES: Jolene Daninger (0.8 ppg)

RETURNING: Deja Church (13.3 ppg), Lexi Held (16.6 ppg), Dee Bekelja (12.5 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Anessah Morrow (28.4 ppg at Simeon High School), Nazlah Morrow (Transfer from Miami Dade Junior College), Kiera Collier (Transfer from Drake)

BOTTOM LINE: Depaul missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years but returns their entire starting five. With the addition of transfers and freshmen, the Blue Demons will be a force to be reckoned with and will likely finish the regular season with a ticket to the tournament like in previous years.

Georgetown Hoyas

KEY DEPARTURES: Taylor Baur (3.4 ppg), Taylia Stimpson (1.5 ppg)

RETURNING: Anita Kelava (6.6 ppg),  Kelsey Ransom (10.5 ppg), Milan Bolden-Morris (9.5 ppg) 

KEY ADDITIONS: Mary Clougherty (Graduate Student from Leigh), Ariel Jenkins (Top 200 prospect)

BOTTOM LINE: The Hoyas didn’t do too hot in the Big East Conference last year and didn’t make serious changes to their lineup for the upcoming season. Kelsey Ransom will be the key piece to lead the team to success.

Marquette Golden Eagles

KEY DEPARTURES: Selena Lott (14.7 ppg)

RETURNING: Lauren Van Kleunen (13.2 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Karissa McLaughlin (Transfer from Purdue), Kennedi Myles (Transfer from Illinois)

BOTTOM LINE: The Golden Eagles lost two starters from their lineup last season, but they make up for it in picking up new talent and returning graduate students. The team is definitely young, but that doesn’t mean it’s a rebuilding year for Marquette.

Providence Friars

KEY DEPARTURES: Chanell Williams (9 ppg), Kyra Spiwak (11 ppg)

RETURNING: Mary Baskerville (12.7 ppg), Alyssa Geary (11.4 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Janai Crooms (Transfer from Michigan State), Emily Archibald (24.6 ppg at Kennebunk High School), Andreana Wrister (Graduate Transfer from Tennessee State)

BOTTOM LINE: The Friars are welcoming eight new players to their roster this season. Since many of these new faces are upperclassmen, the team is going to be very strong and should outperform their record from last year.

Seton Hall Pirates

KEY DEPARTURES: Desiree Elmore (17.4 ppg)

RETURNING: Andra Espinoza-Hunter (18.6 ppg),  Lauren Park-Lane (17.5 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Ariel Cummings (Transfer from West Virginia)

BOTTOM LINE: Not much changed for the Pirates this season. With the amount of returning veterans, Seton Hall  could easily be near the top of the conference standings.

St. John’s Red Storm

KEY DEPARTURES: Qadashah Hoppie (18.6 ppg) 

RETURNING: Leilani Correa (17.6 ppg), Kadaja Bailey (9.8 ppg), Unique Drake (9.6 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Danielle Cosgrove (Transfer from Notre Dame), Danielle Patterson (Transfer from IU), Katie Burton (21.9 ppg at Fishers High School) 

BOTTOM LINE: St. John’s had the talent there to be successful last season, but the team did not showcase it. With three returnees and two accomplished transfers, the Red Storm should have a better season this year.

UConn Huskies

KEY DEPARTURES: Anna Makurat (6.5 ppg), Autumn Chassion (1 ppg)

RETURNING: Paige Bueckers (20 ppg), Christyn Williams (14.6 ppg), Evina Westbrook (9.4 ppg), Oliva Nelson-Ododa (10.9 ppg) 

KEY ADDITIONS: Dorka Juhász (transfer from Ohio State), Azzi Fudd (five-star recruit), Caroline Ducharme (five-star recruit)

BOTTOM LINE: The Huskies were able to hang on to their starting five and add even more strong talent, like they do every year. Once again, UConn has a picture-perfect roster on paper and will give every other team a run for their money on their quest for another national championship. 

Villanova Wildcats

KEY DEPARTURES: Sarah Mortensen (11 ppg), Raven James (1.9 ppg)

RETURNING: Maddy Siegrist (22.8 ppg), Brianna Herlihy (13.8 ppg), Lior Garzon (8.8 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Anahi-Lee Cauley (15.2 ppg), Christina Dalce (14.4 ppg), Zanai Jones (18.7 ppg)

BOTTOM LINE: This being coach Denise Dillon’s second year and still having a young team, the Wildcats are looking at another year of rebuilding. Having Siegrist return will be beneficial, but the younger players need to step up to produce results.

Xavier Musketeers

KEY DEPARTURES: A’riana Gray (13.3 ppg)

RETURNING: Nia Clark (11.5 ppg), Kae Satterfield (9.2 ppg)

KEY ADDITIONS: Shelby Calhoun (Transfer from Virginia Tech), Mikayla Hayes (Transfer from Clemson), Shaila Beeler (Transfer from Vincennes University)

BOTTOM LINE: The Musketeers added eight new players — but will it make up for losing their top scorer? The team had some work to do this offseason to fill the hole of A’riana Gray. It will be a season of solidifying the team’s dynamic and trying to build an efficient offense to bounce back.

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