South Carolina acquired its NCAA title rings, and the Gamecocks and 16 different prime 25 groups acquired their ft moist because the 2022-23 ladies’s basketball season opened Monday.
Just one prime 25 group misplaced: No. 21 Creighton, the Cinderella of the 2022 ladies’s NCAA event, beat No. 23 South Dakota State.
From freshmen getting their first style of the faculty sport and transfers introducing themselves to new followers and fifth-year tremendous seniors making their final go-rounds, it was a buzzy day. Count on the surprises and upsets to occur quickly, as a result of we have solely simply begun.
ESPN’s Alexa Philippou, Charlie Creme and M.A. Voepel have a look at a few of the issues that stood out most — and what they could imply for the remainder of the season — on opening day.
Are the Gamecocks even higher?
Defending nationwide champion South Carolina misplaced one starter, Destanni Henderson, from final season however returned nationwide participant of the yr Aliyah Boston. Nearly as good because the Gamecocks had been final season at 35-2, may they be an improved group this season?
Certain, a 101-31 opening victory over East Tennessee State was nothing like a take a look at. However it confirmed the Gamecocks veterans may have loads of reinforcement. Take into account freshmen like Ashlyn Watkins, a 6-foot-3 ahead who had 11 factors, eight rebounds and two blocks in her school debut. Her efficiency was a part of 47 factors South Carolina acquired from its bench.
Coach Daybreak Staley talked afterward about how she felt each particular person returning acquired higher. Contemplating the Gamecocks had no apparent weak point final yr, if there was an enormous query this season it was precisely how the purpose guard duties could be lined with Henderson gone. Monday’s sport signifies it could be a shared chore, a minimum of for some time, with redshirt freshman Raven Johnson main the way in which with 4 assists. So opponents may not wish to hear it, however yeah, this may very well be a fair harder South Carolina group to beat. — M.A. Voepel
New favourite within the ACC?
Cayla King nails the trey vs. Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers
No. 13 Virginia Tech has some lofty expectations this season constructed largely round Elizabeth Kitley, Ashley Owusu and Taylor Soule. The Hokies dominated Mount St. Mary’s 101-45, however the story was that it was Cayla King — not Kitley, Owusu or Soule — who led the way in which. King, a 6-0 senior, made 9 3-pointers and scored 33 factors, each profession highs. That type of long-distance taking pictures can translate to any sport, in opposition to any opponent.
One sport may not be a large enough pattern measurement, however King’s outburst may very well be an essential signal: If Virginia Tech actually has a legit fourth scorer in King to play alongside Owusu and level guard Georgia Amoore within the backcourt, the Hokies might need to be thought-about the favourite within the ACC. — Charlie Creme
Monday’s most essential win?
Protection was essentially the most missed facet to Creighton’s Elite Eight run in final yr’s NCAA event. The Bluejays held Iowa and Iowa State, two of the top-scoring groups within the nation, beneath 70 factors final March, and put the clamps on South Dakota State in Monday’s 78-69 victory, the one sport of opening day to pit ranked groups. The nation’s most correct 3-point taking pictures group a season in the past, South Dakota State made solely 5-of-21 from deep in opposition to the swarming Bluejays. Junior Lauren Jensen was dominant down the stretch with seven of Creighton’s factors in a decisive 9-0 run late within the fourth quarter. She scored 16 within the ultimate 10 minutes and completed with 30.
The win will probably be value a whole seed line in Tuesday’s Bracketology and offers Creighton a highway win that the committee will love throughout its March deliberations. With video games in opposition to South Dakota and Nebraska up subsequent, the Bluejays now have the possibility on the type of begin that might vault them into the highest 15 within the rankings. — Creme
Van Lith, Louisville begin quick
Hailey Van Lith drills the jumper vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
Louisville Cardinals 87-68 win over Cincinnati was slightly shut for consolation at occasions — the Bearcats pulled inside eight within the third regardless of trailing by as many as 23 — however junior Hailey Van Lith had the kind of huge efficiency many anticipate of her as an upperclassman. Her 28 factors — the second-highest mark of her profession — led the Cardinals, and she or he did it pretty effectively on 12-for-20 taking pictures (60%). Van Lith reached that clip simply twice final yr as a sophomore, and did not try that many photographs both time (15, 16).
If the budding star can preserve that effectivity, plus sink photographs past the arc (she was 2-for-7 on Monday), and Florida State Seminoles switch Morgan Jones (14 factors and 13 journeys to the free throw line versus Cincinnati) continues to search out her groove, Jeff Walz’s group may make the commencement of three starters a shortly forgotten matter. — Philippou
Two tales for the Terps
Diamond Miller stretches by the paint for up-and-under bucket
The unhealthy: Maryland senior guard Diamond Miller — who regarded actually good early on — went to the locker room within the second quarter of the Terps’ 88-51 victory over George Mason with an obvious knee injury and didn’t return to the ground resulting from “tenderness,” based on Washington Publish reporter Kareem Copeland.
The nice: Princeton switch Abby Meyers can ball whilst she adjusts to a brand new group, assuming the go-to scoring position for the No. 17 Terps following Miller’s damage by ending with a team-high 19 factors (and beginning the sport on 5-for 5-shooting from 3). Meyers’ taking pictures prowess is much-needed for Maryland after dropping Katie Benzan, Owusu and Chloe Bibby.
If the remainder of the items round them proceed to settle in, Maryland may shock some people within the Massive Ten regardless of a slew of exits behind Miller (assuming she’s OK) and Meyers. — Philippou
Is Soares what Cyclones have been lacking?
Ashley Joens did Ashley Joens issues (28 factors, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) in Iowa State’s 87-54 win over Cleveland State, scoring 24 factors in 18 first-half minutes. However what could be extra integral to the Cyclones’ long-term growth is how two-time NAIA participant of the yr Stephanie Soares fares. The 6-6 submit earned the beginning Monday and made her presence identified early with three blocks within the first two minutes of the sport, although she solely performed six minutes within the first half resulting from foul hassle. She completed the sport with a double-double (15 factors, 14 rebounds), plus 4 blocks and 4 steals in 21 minutes.
If Soares can keep out of foul hassle, maintain her conditioning getting in the precise route and proceed to make an impression in opposition to higher-quality posts, she offers an inside presence on each ends for Iowa State that it hasn’t had lately, one that might assist this system attain heights not seen for over a decade. — Philippou