With a pair of superstar returners in Angel Reese and Flau’Jae Johnson, the LSU Tigers take the top spot in Heat Check CBB’s women’s NCAA Top 25 rankings.

The new college basketball season is here! Before Notre Dame and South Carolina tip off the season with a top-10 showdown in Paris, let’s dive into Heat Check CBB’s women’s college basketball Top 25 rankings for the 2023-24 season, featuring the defending champs at the top.

25. Mississippi State
24. NC State
23. Illinois
22. Creighton
21. USC
20. Florida State
19. Colorado
18. Louisville
17. Baylor
16. Stanford
15. Maryland
14. North Carolina
13. Ole Miss
12. Notre Dame
11. Tennessee

10. Texas

Last season: 26-10 (14-4)
Postseason: Round of 32

The Longhorns have a lot of pieces this season. They have arguably the conference’s best player in Rori Harmon (11.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 7.4 apg), who can run the offense and defense alike, along with Shaylee Gonzales (12.7 ppg), last season’s leading scorer. They’ll also add top-15 ranked freshman Madison Booker into the mix, who Texas hopes will develop into a big offensive presence. The Longhorns have the pieces to make a deep run this year, but they’ll need to stay healthy and finish games strong this season.

9. Indiana

Last season: 28-4 (16-2)
Postseason: Round of 32

Indiana retained four of its five starters from a team that won the Big Ten regular season title last season for the first time in 40 years. Grace Berger (12.9 ppg) is off to the WNBA, but the Hoosiers should be just fine with All-American post-player Mackenzie Holmes (22.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg), sharpshooting sophomore Yarden Garzon (11.1 ppg) and more depth than they’ve had in years past. It could take an adjustment period to start the season off, but the Hoosiers should secure a spot near the top of the Big Ten. Senior Chloe Moore-McNeil will take on a bigger role this season and will likely be Indiana’s primary distributor. Moore-McNeil averaged 9.5 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game last season, while playing over 33 minutes a game. Look for senior shooting guard Sara Scalia to take a big step this season. She shot 41 percent from 3 two years ago at Minnesota but struggled to adjust to her new role a year ago and averaged 9.5 points while shooting 34 percent from deep.

8. Virginia Tech

Last season: 31-5 (14-4)
Postseason: Final Four

The Hokies are the ACC favorites this season and it’s well-earned. They return three starters from a team that went 31-5 and made it to the Final Four. This core includes center Elizabeth Kitley (18.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg), who is a two-time ACC Player of the Year selection and a second-team All American last season. They also bring in three transfers, including Matilda Ekh (11.8 ppg), who was a huge piece for Michigan State. Virginia Tech lost Ashley Owusu to the portal and a starter in Taylor Soule to the WNBA Draft, but should come back strong with the pieces retained and the newcomers added.

7. Iowa

Last season: 31-7 (15-3) 
Postseason: National runner-up

Any team with Caitlin Cark (27.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 8.6 apg) on it is hard not to place at the very top of this list, but the Hawkeyes were just barely edged out by Ohio State (at No. 6) because of the Buckeyes’ overall talent and depth. Nonetheless, Iowa made its first-ever appearance in the national championship last season and lost just two key players. Those players, though, are significant losses. After Clark, Monika Czinano (17.1 ppg) and McKenna Warnock (10.9 ppg) were the Hawkeyes leading scorers last season – and now they’re both gone. Iowa returns senior starters Kate Martin (7.7 ppg) and Gabbie Marshall (6.2 ppg), who can both stretch the floor with their ability to shoot it from deep, and coach Lisa Bluder welcomes two talented freshmen in guard Kennise Johnson and forward Ava Jones. The biggest potential for growth is likely 6-2 forward Hannah Stuelke (6.5 ppg), the sophomore who can fill in at either the 4 or 5 position. She won Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman last season and shot 61 percent from the field.

6. Ohio State

Last season: 28-8 (12-6)
Postseason: Elite Eight

The Buckeyes, coming off their first Elite Eight in 30 years, are the deepest team in the Big Ten. Point guard Jacy Sheldon (13.2 ppg) missed most of last season due to injury, but she’s healthy now and will make this team even more dangerous. Coach Kevin McGuff also brings back sophomore forward Cotie McMahon, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and scored in double-figures in every postseason contest. McGuff also dug into the transfer portal and added one of the best on the market in Celeste Taylor, who averaged 11.4 points last season at Duke and is a big-time defender. The Buckeyes lost four players – including that of veteran guard Taylor Mikesell (17.2 ppg) to the WNBA. This team has a ton of high-level, proven talent and it’s hard to see a world in which they won’t compete for the top spot in the conference and make a run come March.

5. South Carolina

Last season: 36-1 (16-0)
Postseason: Final Four

Aliyah Boston may be gone, but the Gamecocks are here to stay. South Carolina won a program-record 36 games last season, with a perfect 16-0 record in conference play. They made it to the Final Four for the third consecutive season, losing in a two-possession game to Iowa. 6-foot-7 Kamilla Cardoso (9.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg) will take over Boston’s place in the post and has a chance to dominate this season. The Gamecocks add Te-Hina Pao Pao (13.1 ppg) from Oregon to play a role in the backcourt and All-SEC point guard Raven Johnson returns and will have the ball in her hands this season.

4. Utah

Last season: 27-5 (15-3)
Postseason: Sweet Sixteen

The Utes return all five starters from a team that won the regular-season Pac-12 title last year and earned a trip to the Sweet Sixteen. They have Pac-12 Player of the Year Alissa Pili (12.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg) back, who can make shots both on the inside and from deep. Depth will be the only concern for Utah this season, but portal addition Maty Wilke (11.8 ppg) from Wisconsin provides another decent option on the perimeter.


Last season: 27-10 (11-7)
Postseason: Sweet Sixteen

The Bruins return fifth-year guard Charisma Osborne (15.9 ppg) and add talented 6-7 Stanford transfer Lauren Betts to an already stacked roster. They have the depth to win games using their bench but will need sophomore Kiki Rice (11.6 ppg) to continue as a scoring threat to keep them on top. They also have a lot of length this season with five available players who are 6-foot-4 or taller.

2. UConn

Last season: 31-6 (18-2)
Postseason: Sweet Sixteen

Injuries have plagued the Huskies over the past few years, but they’re finally healthy and if it stays that way, they have the talent to win another national title — which would be their first since 2016. Paige Bueckers, the 2021 Naismith Player of the Year, is coming back from a torn ACL and is primed for a big senior return. Azzi Fudd (15.1 ppg), one of the best shooters in the country, missed a large part of last season with a knee injury, but will also return. Aaliyah Edwards (16.6 ppg, 9 rpg) stepped up last season when UConn needed her and the Huskies have plenty of weapons to rely on, but health is the key for the Huskies this season.

1. LSU

Last season: 34-2 (15-1)
Postseason: National Champions

Kim Mulkey has built a super-team with the Tigers this season, as they come off of their first-ever national title. They return Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player, Angel Reese (23 ppg, 15.4 rpg), along with Flau’Jae Johnson (11 ppg, 5.9 rpg). LSU added two of the best transfers on the market in Louisville’s Hailey van Lith (19.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and DePaul’s Aneesah Morrow (25.7 ppg, 12.2 rpg), and also boasts the No. 1 freshman class in the country, which includes two 5-star recruits. There’s not much argument for them to be anywhere except the top spot.