GT & ACC WBB 2021-2022

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Blue Ribbon Panel Predictions
#1 NC St.
Fifth-ranked North Carolina State will open the season as the Atlantic Coast Conference favorite, while senior center Elissa Cunane is the preseason player of the year.
The 6-foot-5 Cunane was a second-team All-American pick for The Associated Press last year after averaging 16.3 points and 8.3 rebounds. She helped the Wolfpack win a second straight ACC Tournament title and earn the program's first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Picked as player of the year in both votes, Cunane is the headliner for a team that returns its top eight scorers while adding sophomore transfers Diamond Johnson from Rutgers and Madison Hayes from Mississippi State.
 

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#2 Louisville
Head coach: Jeff Walz (3rd season)
2020-21 record: 26-4 (14-2 in ACC)
Conference finish: 1st

Everyone wanted to see how transfer Kianna Smith would factor into the roster. The whole fanbase was ecstatic over the signing of McDonald’s All Americans Hailey Van Lith and Olivia Cochran. They led to a first place ACC regular season finish.

Van Lith is on the 1st Team All-ACC Preseason.

Incoming Transfers: Former 5-star recruit Emily Engster was the Co-ACC Sixth Player of the Year, while Chelsie Hall was a 1,000 point scorer at Vandy. Both are expected to headline a new-look squad. Engstler from Syracuse and Hall from Vanderbilt both bring scoring and playmaking in bunches to the squad looking to emulate its 2021 success.

The Cardinals also signed a pair of high regarded high school seniors in guard Payton Verhulst and center Sydni Schetnan. Verhulst is a McDonalds All-American, Schetnan is a dual sport athlete with volleyball, and both helped guide their schools to state championships in their senior year.

Verhulst has been selected for the All-Newcomers Team.

Louisville has options in naming their primarily ball handler next season, but Mykasa Robinson has earned that right. Out of all the returning players, Robinson's 4.2 assists per 40 minutes leads the team, and trailed Dana Evans by half an assist.

Louisville has been ranked in the preseason top 10 in each of the past seven seasons and 10 times in the past 11 years.
 
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#3 Georgia Tech
THE FLATS – No. 17 Georgia Tech women’s basketball was picked to finish third in the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, while Lorela Cubaj and Lotta-Maj Lahtinen were tabbed preseason all-ACC, the league office announced Wednesday.

Last season, Tech made its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and first since 2014, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second time in program history with wins over Stephen F. Austin and West Virginia. The Yellow Jackets capped a successful 2020-21 season with an outright third-place finish in the ACC – the best in program history – after being picked to finish ninth by the Blue Ribbon Panel and fifth by the league’s head coaches in the preseason poll. Tech was last picked to finish third in the ACC in 2012-13 following its first run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

The reigning ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, Cubaj returns after averaging a double-double last season behind 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Cubaj led the team and ACC in rebounding, while ranking 12th in the nation last season. She currently ranks fourth in the Georgia Tech record book with 909 career rebounds. After becoming the first-ever defensive player of the year in Georgia Tech women’s basketball history, Cubaj also collected all-ACC first team honors, ACC all-tournament team (second) recognition and WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-American honorable mention accolades.

Joining Cubaj on the 2021 all-ACC first team (media), Lahtinen was named the ACC Most Improved Player last season after averaging 15.0 points per game to lead the Jackets and shot 43.0 percent from the field, including a 34.3 percent average beyond the arc. The Yellow Jacket recorded 14 games scoring 15 or more points last season and was one of only six players in the ACC to score 30 points or more in a game when she scored a career-high 30 against NC State. Lahtinen returns for her senior season also having garnered WBCA NCAA Division I Coaches’ All-America honorable mention honors last season.

Cubaj and Lahtinen were named to the Preseason All-ACC Team this season by both the Blue Ribbon Panel and head coaches, and Tech was predicted to finish third by both parties as well.
 

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#4 Va. Tech
2020-21 Record: 15-10, 8-8
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kenny Brooks
Coach Record: 101-59 at Virginia Tech, 432-176 overall

Following three straight trips to the WNIT under head coach Kenny Brooks, Virginia Tech finally reached the NCAA Tournament in 2021. The Hokies ended a 15-year drought and will now look to start a little streak of reaching the NCAA Tournament. With all five starters returning and one of the better shooting teams in the country, the Hokies should at least be able to make it two NCAA.

Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Asiah Jones, Forward, 8.7 ppg
Da’Ja Green, Guard, 2.2 ppg
Makayla Ennis, Guard/Forward, 1.5 ppg

Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Elizabeth Kitley, Junior, Center, 18.2 ppg
Aisha Sheppard, Senior, Guard, 17.7 ppg
Georgia Amoore, Sophomore, Guard, 11.8 ppg
Cayla King, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Azana Baines, Junior, Guard, 6.5 ppg

D’asia Gregg, Senior, Forward, 3.4 ppg
Taylor Geiman, Junior, Guard/Forward, 1.5 ppg

Key New Players
Shamaria King, RS Freshman, Guard
Emily Lytle, Senior, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Liberty
Rochelle Norris, Sophomore, Center, Transfer from West Virginia
Kayana Traylor, Senior, Guard, Transfer from Purdue


Projection:
Elizabeth Kitley(All-ACC Team)is the heart of this team. The 6-6 center tallied an ACC high 12 double-doubles and averaged 18.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. On paper, Kitley is surrounded by four guards, but Azana Baines and Cayla King are big guards who can help out on the glass. Baines missed the first seven games of the season after transferring in from Duke, but ranked second on the team with 5.9 points per game and is a very efficient shooter when given the opportunity. King will not spend much time in the paint, but she knocked down 60 three-pointers in 25 games. King certainly helped Virginia Tech rank in the top ten in the nation in three-point field goals made per game, but it was Aisha Sheppard that who led the way with 87 three-pointers. She was also second on the team with 17.7 points per game. Point guard Georgia Amoore dished out 4.6 assists per game and added 11.8 points. She too is an efficient and prolific outside shooter. Kayana Traylor and Emily Lytle will provide more options in the backcourt. Traylor started the better part of three seasons at Purdue and averaged 15.0 points and 3.9 assists last year. Lytle spent four years at Liberty and developed into a great three-point shooter and averaged 14.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 2020-2021. Of course, the bigger need is depth in the frontcourt and West Virginia transfer Rochelle Norris will help in that regard.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 72.0 (57th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.0 (183, 7)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.5 (80, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (142, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.5 (9, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.0 (31, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.9 (30, 3)
Rebound Margin: 1.0 (130, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.6 (36, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.2 (79, 7)
 

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Forgot to mention that Diamond Johnson of NC St. was selected on the All-Newcomer Team by Blue Ribbon and the Coaches poll.

…..more on NC St. and the Coach of the Year with his roster….

  • Jada Boyd – ACC Sixth Player of the Year, NCAAT All-Tourney Team, unbelievable breakout potential even though she’s already a stud
  • Raina Perez – Simply…a cold-blooded killer
  • Jakia Brown-Turner – All-ACC First Team, felt as though as the season went on she found her groove
  • Camille Hobby – Solid player that logged big minutes as substitute for Cunane
  • Genesis Bryant – Stepped up HUGE in NCAAT and should see much more action
  • Jones and Crutchfield to Return​

    With their roles as the teams veteran leaders, both Jones and Crutchfield stepped up in big ways. In nearly every statistical category they’ve improved year over year; points, rebounds, steals, blocks, you name it. However, their roles and worth to the team go beyond the stat sheet. Crutchfield had moments of perfection on defense and every three-pointer seemed to be desperately needed and perfectly timed. Jones, even injured, was the vocal leader of the team and single-handedly brought the energy.
  • Solid Freshman on Their Way​

    State has two ESPN-100 recruits on their way. Aziaha James, is a 4-star guard that is super athletic and has the ability to drive to the rim (something State could use more of). She’s confident and will have a year to learn under Perez to better her court vision. Sophia Hart is another 4-star recruit that State fans are going to love watch develop. When the one constant description is “hardworking, blue-collar, low-post player”, you know Moore is going to elevate her game. Same height as Cunane and similar playing style, as well.

    These two couldn’t be better pick-ups to learn and then continue State’s winning ways.
Wes Moore, HC @NC St. for 8 years:
  • Head coaching record: 748-234 (.762)
  • Completed seasons: 32
  • Winning seasons: 31
  • Postseason appearances: 26
  • 20-win seasons: 27
  • 25-win seasons: 13
  • Coach of the Year honors: 13
  • 2021 WBCA National Coach of the Year
  • 2019 Associated Press National Coach of the Year Runner-Up
 
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#5 F.S.U.

The Seminoles will be led once more by head coach Sue Semrau in her 24th season(476-258)and has coached USA Basketball, after associate head coach Brooke Wyckoff led the team last season while Semrau took a leave of absence to help take care of her mother, who was recovering from ovarian cancer. Without Semrau last season, Wyckoff navigated the Seminoles through an unusual season which saw them play just one non-conference game due to a variety of COVID-19 issues.


Florida State has made 19 NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the Round of 32 on sixteen occasions, the Sweet Sixteen on five occasions, and the Elite Eight on three occasions. Florida State has also made one appearance in the National Women's Invitation Tournament and two appearances in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. The Seminoles have won the regular season conference title three times, including two ACC titles, and the conference tournament title once.

Florida State has had nineteen All-Americans and five players inducted into the Hall of Fame, and several players have gone on to play in the Women's National Basketball Association.

FSU finished last season with a 10-9 record and a first-round exit in its eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Seminoles bring back a number of major pieces from that team including first-team All-ACC and All-Defensive player Morgan Jones and Bianca Jackson, who led the team with 14.1 points per game last season.

 

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#6 Notre Dame
Head coach: Niele Ivey (2nd season)
2020-21 record: 10-10 (8-7 in ACC)
Conference finish: 6th

Niele Ivey did not have an easy go of it in her first season as the head coach for the Fighting Irish. She replaced legendary coach Muffet McGraw and was then instantly hit by a COVID-19 shortened preseason.

Really, a 10-10 record is pretty astounding when you think about the circumstances surrounding it. Niele Ivey has also gone on the record saying that last March Madness was the only one she ever wants to experience from the outside looking in, so if that attitude transfers over to the rest of the team, Notre Dame could be in for a bounce back season for the ages.

• During the 2010-19 decade, Notre Dame women’s basketball was 337-39 (.896 winning percentage).

• It advanced to at least the Sweet 16 all 10 years, seven Final Fours, five title game appearances and captured the 2018 national championship.

• In an eight-year stretch from 2012-19 the Fighting Irish were 122-6 (.953) in either the Big East or Atlantic Coast Conference, winning or sharing the league title each time.

• Connecticut, Notre Dame, Baylor and even Stanford were to women’s basketball during those 10 years what Alabama, Clemson Ohio State and even Oklahoma have been to college football over a similar span.

Maddy Westbeld is on the All-ACC team. Olivia Miles, Sonia Citron(earned gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup), are both on the All-ACC Newcomers team of 5 players. Impressive!
In addition to being named Rookie of the Year last season, Westbeld was also an ACC First-Team selection along with being a WBCA All-America Regional finalist. Her 15.2 ppg ranked third all-time for a freshman at Notre Dame.
Amongst all ACC freshmen last season, Westbeld finished first in scoring, second in rebounding, second in steals, fourth in assists and fourth in blocks. Furthermore, she was the only freshman in the country to average at least 15 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 steals.

ND could see the frontcourt comprised of 6-3 Stanford graduate transfer Maya Dodson at center, 6-3 ACC Rookie of the Year Maddy Westbeld at the four — her stated preference — and 6-2 junior Sam Brunelle at the wing, where her three-point shooting prowess could be better utilized on offense while not having to be a post defender again. Olivia Miles at one of the guard spots. 6-2, top-5-prospect Ayanna Patterson from Fort Wayne, Ind., should play somewhere, at some time.

Junior Ayana Peoples and senior Dara Mabrey have different skills sets as “co-starters” at the off-guard slot.
Peoples is an aggressive, willing defender and one of the more fierce, productive and instinctive 5-10 rebounders one will find in the game. Her shooting stroke needs to improve, as she is 5 of 29 (17.2 percent) in her career from three-point range and 69 of 138 (50 percent) from the foul line.
Typical in her family, Mabrey is a terrific pure shooter who, like Peoples, can help at the point in a pinch. The Virginia Tech transfer has averaged double-figure scoring all three of her college seasons, 11.3 this past year.

Five of those six were top-20-ranked players by ESPN Hoopgurlz coming out of high school in their respective years: Dodson (11), Brunelle (6), Peoples (18), Westbeld (20) and Miles (8). Few teams can assemble that kind of a lineup. It’s up to the staff to make it function collectively. It's not about who are the best individuals, but how five can mesh as one selflessly by playing hard, playing smart and playing together.

The bench help also could include two seniors in guard Katlyn Gilbert (ranked No. 27 in her class) and role player Abby Prohaska, who provides instant energy and a knack for making the right basketball play.

Incoming freshman Sonia Citron, a 6-1 wing, is yet another top-20 recruit (No. 16 on ESPN) and McDonald’s All-American.
 

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#7 UNC
Head coach: Courtney Banghart (3rd season)
2020-21 record: 13-11 (8-9 in ACC)
Conference finish: 8th


Losing Janelle Bailey is a major hit for Tar Heels, and how they will adequately fill the gaping hole in the middle that she left behind is hard to see.

However, UNC is a team that constantly seems to be at the very least in the middle of the ACC pack, so it is hard for me to see it dropping too far down the rankings as the season progresses. With four recruits who just played in the Jordan Brand Classic, UNC looks like it’s in good hands for the future.

Four UNC Women's Basketball Signees Named to Jordan Brand Classic National Team​

All four incoming Tar Heel women's basketball freshmen have been named to the Jordan Brand Classic 2021 Girls National Team. Destiny Adams, Teonni Key, Kayla McPherson, and Morasha Wiggins all are among the 30 standout players selected for recognition. North Carolina and Connecticut are the only programs to place four players each on the team. (GoHeels.com)

Teonni Key is on the All-ACC Newcomer Team.

UNC Women's Basketball Set To Welcome CAA's Leading Scorer Eva Hodgson​

Eva Hodgson will join the UNC women's basketball program this summer, arriving in Chapel Hill with two years of eligibility remaining. The 5-9 guard averaged 20.7 points and 3.6 assists per game her sophomore season at William & Mary. Her 20.7 points per game average led the CAA, as did her field goal percentage (.540) and free throw percentage (.912). (GoHeels.com)

Deja Kelly back at her natural position, excited for ‘freshman year, part 2’​

This season feels like a new beginning for North Carolina sophomore guard Deja Kelly. There was nothing normal about her freshman season spent in a bubble with her Tar Heel teammates, taking classes virtually and playing in front of nearly empty arenas. "Basically, I feel like a freshman again, honestly," Kelly said Wednesday at ACC Tipoff in Charlotte. (Tar Heel Tribune)

Expect a healthy, improved Malu T****enge this season but no finger wags like her uncle Dikembe​

Expect UNC junior forward Malu T****enge to block a few shots this season but don’t expect her to celebrate like her Hall of Fame uncle. Dikembe Mutombo blocked 3,289 shots during his NBA career and liked to add a “no, no, no” finger wag in the direction of the shooter afterward. Would T****enge, who has 19 career blocks, do that in a game? No, no, no! (Tar Heel Tribune)

Courtney Banghart Names Trio Of UNC Women's Basketball Captains For 2021-22​

Before the start of Monday's practice, UNC Women's Basketball coach Courtney Banghart announced that the 2021-22 team captains will be Eva Hodgson, Carlie Littlefield, and Jaelynn Murray. The three, all graduate students, are charged with leading a young UNC rosterthat includes nine sophomores and freshmen among its 14 members. (GoHeels.com)
 

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#8 Duke

Duke women's basketball has added six transfers to its 2021-22 team, coach Kara Lawson announced Friday. The Blue Devils played just four games before opting out of this past season, Lawson's first as head coach, because of COVID-19 concerns. The transfers are expected to be a big factor for Duke in 2021-22.

Guard Celeste Taylor, who helped lead Texas to the NCAA Elite Eight this season, headlines the group. She averaged 12.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Longhorns as a sophomore. Taylor is on the All-ACC Newcomer Team, will have two years remaining to play. Fellow former Big 12 guards Lexi Gordon of Texas Tech and Jordyn Oliver of Baylor also are headed to Duke.

Gordon was the Lady Raiders' second-leading scorer this past season (15.7 PPG) as a starter and is a graduate transfer. Oliver came off the bench for the league champion Lady Bears and averaged 4.0 PPG as a sophomore.

Also joining the Blue Devils are guard/forward Elizabeth Balogun of Louisville, center Amaya Finklea-Guity of Syracuse and forward Imani Lewis of Wisconsin.

Lewis started 84 games in three seasons at Wisconsin, averaging 15.0 points and 8.8 rebounds this past season. Balogun was ACC freshman of the year for Georgia Tech in 2019, but then spent her last two years at Louisville, averaging 5.8 points this past season. Finklea-Guity, a grad transfer, started 96 games with the Orange, but was in a reserve role this past season, averaging 3.4 points per game.

Top 50 recruit: Shayeann Day-Wilson, a 5-foot-5 Canadian guard hailing from Toronto. She brings even more national team pedigree to Duke, as she was a major contributor for a Canada U19 team that came fifth at the U19 World Cup.

"We wanted to be aggressive in going after players that fit how we want to play," Lawson said in a statement. "There are a couple things that we value highly. One is versatility. The other is two-way players -- players that can make an impact on both ends. All of these players can do that."
 
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#9 Miami
Head coach: Katie Meier (17th season)
2020-21 record: 11-11 (8-10 in ACC)
Conference finish: 9th

Another season, another middle of the pack finish looks to be in store for Miami.

Since losing Beatrice Mompremier to the WNBA Draft a couple of seasons ago, Miami has seemed to be on the cusp of making some noise in the ACC, but its talent level has just not quite been high enough to push into that top tier of teams.

Forward Destiny Harden may look to make another leap in the coming season, and that would be a massive boon to a Miami team that has lacked that go-to talent in the past season.
 

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Thank you, @orientalnc and @GoJacketsInRaleigh ;

Having followed this program since it’s inception, I have never forecasted an Elite 8 finish for this program. Granted the ball has to bounce right, GT has to avoid injuries and the typical chemistry or intangibles need to surface in a positive fashion. Go Jackettes!

I shortchanged U. of Miami in their preview. Difficult to find much news on them.
Katie Meier needs one more win to become their all-time winningest coach.
Kyla Oldacre committed to her last week. GT really wanted Kyla. 6’6” athletic post players are hard to find. Counted 2 French, 1 Canadian, 1 Croatian, 3 players from Spain on their 21-22 roster.
 

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#10 Clemson
Head coach: Amanda Butler (4th season)
2020-21 record: 12-14 (5-12 in ACC)
Conference finish: 11th

Clemson has a fair amount of continuity this upcoming season, which is a bright spot for a team that has struggled under the pressure of playing in the ACC.

The Tigers w/ a lake have a Preseason All-ACC Team member in Delicia Washington. They return six scholarship players from last season’s team, which got to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT. They also added five freshmen and three transfers to the mix, giving them a team that mixes youth and experience, but probably does not have enough firepower to make any real noise in the conference. The Hartwellians do have a new locker room this year. Lol.

Clemson guard Gabby Elliott has accepted an invitation to participate in the 2021 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials. Elliott is coming off a standout freshman season for the Tigers, averaging 13.6 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game. The Detroit, Mich., native was named to the ACC’s All-Freshman team and earned one ACC Freshman of the Week nod during the season. Elliott turned in arguably her best game of the season in the ACC Tournament, scoring a career-high 25 points with seven rebounds and six steals as the Tigers beat Notre Dame for the second time in the 2020-21 season.

LaTrese Saine, a graduate transfer from Southeast Missouri State, was added to the 2021 class. Last year, her senior season, Saine was named All-OVC First Team and the OVC Defensive Player of the Year after blocking 103 shots, which ranked second in the NCAA. She averaged 10.38 points and 8.54 rebounds in 2020-21, with eight double-doubles.
Saine joins fellow grad transfer Kiara Lewis as part of a 2021 class that includes five freshmen (Makayla Elmore, Kionna Gaines, Eno Inyang, Madison Ott, and Sydney Standifer) and a junior college transfer (Daisha Bradford).
 

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#11 Boston College
Head coach: Joanna Bernabei-McNamee (4th season)
2020-21 record: 7-12 (2-11 in ACC)
Conference finish: 13th

Boston College had its first 20-win season in nearly a decade in 2019-20, but it followed that up with a 2-11 mark in conference play in 2020-21.

Akunna Konkwo, who has missed most of her two seasons so far with injuries, is looking healthy and ready to go. She was the 18th-ranked center in her class coming out of high school, so the talent is definitely there. However, in her limited minutes and games last season, she averaged only 4.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. Let’s hope a healthy offseason helps her get back on track.

After a breakout season in 2019-20, Taylor Soule came into this past season not only as an upperclassman leader, but also as the player opponents knew they needed to stop if they wanted to shut BC’s offense down. In what should have been a triumphant return after the team’s best ACC season ever, Soule and her team found themselves dealing with a COVID shortened season.

The Eagles had to pause the season more than once for COVID protocols, but Soule and the other team leaders never let the team give up. Even though the results rarely worked out in BC’s favor this year, nobody on the bench ever gave up, and that starts with team leaders like Soule.

In just 19 games, Soule still managed to average 15.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. She led her team in playing time (31.5 minutes per game), points (299) and rebounds (133). She was also second on the team with 24 blocks. Now, she has been selected to the All-ACC Preseason Team.


Clara Ford was BC’s go-to last season, and she made a huge step up from her freshmen and sophomore years. Ford went from averaging 4-6 minutes a game to 17.6 minutes a game, and she started all but 2 contests. She averaged a respectable 5.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season, including scoring a career high 19 points against Syracuse. Ford isn’t necessarily a player you would expect to take BC to new heights, but she’s shown an ability to step up when needed, and the fact that other teams will underestimate her could be a real plus for the Eagles.

Maria Gakdeng, one of BC’s two incoming freshmen, also adds an interesting layer to the question of who will be the starting center. Gakdeng’s star has been on the rise. She is currently a 4 star recruit on Prospects Nation and is ranked 18th in her position by both Blue Star and All Star Girls Report.

Meanwhile, Ally VanTimmeren stepped onto the court last winter as one of the most impressive freshmen BC has seen in a while. Joining the team midway through the season, just after turning 18, she looked like a seasoned player instead of a rookie. She scored 10 points in her first game as an Eagle, put up 17 points against a top Louisville team, and ended up averaging 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds. She is the type of player who seems set up to become a real star as she continues to adjust to the college game and work with BC’s coaches. Plus, if she can start consistently putting up double digits, she’ll take some pressure off of Soule and make it more difficult for opponents to shut BC’s offense down.

Since BC has a lot of guards and not so many forwards, expect to see Jaelyn Batts and JoJo Lacey stepping into forward positions, but to take a backseat to Soule and VanTimmeren, and even Cam Swartz.

Lacey was a top recruit for BC, but she missed much of last season and never quite found her groove in any of the 7 games she played in. Lacey was ranked 6th in her position by both ESPN and Blue Star, so hopefully a more consistent and normal atmosphere this season will help her to break out.

Batts, on the other hand, showed some real signs of progress last season as a sophomore, including scoring 15 points against UMass Lowell and 12 points against Miami. I expect her to be a player who continues to improve over her 4 seasons at BC so that she can chip in some offense when the Eagles’ star players are being shut down.

I would expect both Batts and Lacey to get a decent amount of playing time this coming season, and I’m cautiously optimistic that Lacey will have the breakout season her high school career suggests is coming.

The Eagles have a lot of guards on this team and each one brings something special to the table.

The seniors Cameron Swartz, Makayla Dickens and Marnelle Garraud will all get a lot of playing time for BC. Swartz plays aggressive defense and had some truly standout offensive performances last season, including a 33 point game against Pittsburgh late in the season. Dickens is BC’s standout 3-point shooter, averaging 4.3 3-pointers over her last 3 games and shooting .450 from behind the arc overall. Based on late-season play, I would expect her production to continue to increase this season. Garraud led the ACC with 2.1 blocks per game, but she’s also able to put up some points when BC needs her. Although Swartz is listed as a guard, she in particular out of this trio will likely see time as a forward.

Returning underclassmen Allie Palmieri and Kaylah Ivey will both be competing with BC’s new guards, particularly Dontavia Waggoner, for playing time. Palmieri played in 7 games after joining the team in early 2021, and recorded 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. As such a young player, fans can expect to see her talent grow this season in whatever playing time she gets. Ivey had an explosive game against UMass Lowell early last season, scoring 23 points, but struggled to keep up that scoring consistency as the season continued. She showed some flashes of brilliance late in the season, so she could end up seeing plenty of playing time if she can have her breakout moment.

Dontavia Waggoner is a big get for BC, and I expect her to get priority off the bench unless another player really breaks through. Although she didn’t see much playing time with the very talented NC State squad as a freshman, she was a 4 star recruit, the 8th guard prospect in her recruiting class, and the 35th player overall in her recruiting class. As long as she can adjust to BC’s style of play, she should be a strong addition to the squad.

Freshman Amaria Fields is likely to be the bench player amongst the guards this season, both because of her age and because she is a bit of a diamond in the rough. She’s widely viewed as an underrated prospect, who has a lot of skill but hasn’t been ranked particularly high. She did average 20.5 points for her high school team this season, so she could be a player that surprises everyone and adjusts right away, but I’d guess that the upperclassmen will see the court before her.

I feel confident that Dickens, Garraud, Swartz, and Soule will all be in BC’s starting lineup this coming season. As for center, I’d guess BC starts with Ford, and Konkwo slowly takes over if she’s fully back in gameday form.
 

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Left off about 4 teams w/ their records from last season. Here we go:

NORTH CAROLINA STATE​

Head coach: Wes Moore (8th season)
2020-21 record: 22-3 (12-2 in ACC)
Conference finish: 2nd

GEORGIA TECH​

Head coach: Nell Fortner (3rd season)
2020-21 record: 17-9 (12-6 in ACC)
Conference finish: 3rd
Coach Nell is 37-20 @GT; 199-137 career record.

Nell Fortner is a coach with the talent to instantly make any team better. Before she arrived on the scene at Georgia Tech, the school’s women’s basketball team did not have a winning ACC record for five seasons straight. Fortner has a winning record in both of her seasons up until this point, including a Sweet 16 last March.

FLORIDA STATE​

Head coach: Sue Semrau (24th season)
2020-21 record: 10-9 (9-7 in ACC)
Conference finish: 5th

DUKE​

Head coach: Kara Lawson (2nd season)
2020-21 record: 3-1 (0-1 in ACC)
Conference finish: 14th
 

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#12 Wake Forest
Head coach: Jen Hoover (11th season)
2020-21 record: 12-13 (8-10 in ACC)
Conference finish: 10th

Jewel Spear is a player to keep an eye on for the underwhelming Demon Deacons this upcoming season.

Spear recently finished representing Team USA at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup. She was one of the first nine players selected to the roster, and that shows some serious commitment from Team USA to its belief in her potential star power. Look for Spear to take a huge leap in her sophomore season but not for that individual talent to necessarily correlate to team success.

Senior forward Christina Morra and sophomore guard Jewel Spear represented the Demon Deacons on Wednesday, October 13, at the Atlantic Coast Conference Tipoff in Charlotte.

Spear had a historic start to her Wake Forest career earning 2021 ACC All-Freshman Team, ACC All-Academic Team and ACC All-Tournament Team honors in her rookie season in Winston-Salem. She holds the Wake Forest freshman record with 2.32 three-point makes per game.

Additionally, Spear tied the ACC Tournament record with seven three-point makes in a single game. Her 29 points in the win over North Carolina in the 2021 ACC Tournament is the highest total by a freshman in the Jen Hoover era.

Morra has been a mainstay on the low block for the Demon Deacons during her three seasons on campus. She has totaled 613 points in her career and has a career 53.7 percent shooter from the field.

In the Deacs 2021 NCAA Tournament game, she led the team with 18 points in the first round game against Oklahoma State.
 

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#13 Syracuse
The good news is the Coaches picked the Orange as #12.

Head coach: Vonn Read (1st season, acting head coach)
2020-21 record: 15-9 (9-7 in ACC)
Conference finish: 4th

Syracuse has declined to say whether the three former employees other than Hillsman resigned, were fired or left as their contracts expired.

Turnover is always a bit of a big deal in college basketball, but Syracuse has had it in spades this past offseason.

Quentin Hillsman – who was the head coach for the Orange – resigned amidst an investigation into his conduct within the organization. He didn’t coach the Spanish National Team, either. That alone will be a bit of a hit to deal with, but then you take a look at the Syracuse transfer portal and realize they might be in for a tough year.


The Orange advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament before a blowout loss to UConn. After the season, all but three players either transferred from the team or graduated, leaving Priscilla Williams as the only current SU player on the roster with experience as a starter.

Nine new players transferred into the program, many of whom help acting head coach Vonn Read’s high-octane style of play that he said he plans to bring to the 2021-22 season.

Syracuse hasn’t had a losing record in conference play since 2011-12, and under former head coach Quentin Hillsman, it has made the NCAA tournament for eight straight seasons. Read, who’s been with the program for more than a decade, said he wants to continue that trend.

Not a single Syracuse player was named to the Preseason All-ACC Team or Newcomer Watch List. S
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