The days of the same top teams dominating women's college basketball may be over. So far in the 2023-24 season, there have been several upsets of highly ranked teams being taken down by lower and unranked teams.
No. 20 Colorado over No. 1 LSU, 92-78
NC State over No. 2 UConn, 92-81
Kansas State over No. 2 Iowa, 65-58
Gonzaga over No. 3 Stanford, 96-78
With longtime powerhouses and starstudded teams falling early in the season in games that most thought they would win, we are starting to see some new teams on the rise and programs gain confidence heading into conference play.
Take Gonzaga for example. With their win against Stanford, they earned their highest-ranked win in program history, were named the NCAA Team of the Week, and moved up to No. 23 in the rankings. For a team that plays in the West Coast Conference, beating a top team from a major conference will give them an extra edge as they look to win their conference and make another appearance in the NCAA tournament.
NC State has shot up in the rankings and now sits at No. 3 in the country. They are the highest-ranked team in the ACC, a conference loaded with talent that will be highly competitive. The Wolfpack were predicted to finish eighth in the ACC in the preseason polls.
It may still be early to think about the NCAA Tournament, but with so many upsets early in the season, there will likely be lots of excitement come tournament time. Historically, the women’s tournament has not seen many upsets with higher-ranked teams typically advancing. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1982, 16 different teams have won a championship.
The 2023 NCAA Tournament had ten upsets and it will not be surprising if the number is similar or even higher in 2024. New teams are rising to the challenge and are not afraid to go toe to toe with the top teams.
Parity within college basketball is exciting for fans to watch and this season is just getting started.