Ranking the top three women’s basketball players in March Madness
Women’s college basketball has a serious surplus of talent this year, these are some of the most prolific players entering this year's NCAA tournament.
We have entered the prime time of college basketball in 2023. The National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament matchups have resulted in upset after upset, echoing the brand “March Madness” in its unpredictability. Every single bracket placed in the men’s basketball tournament was busted as Fairleigh Dickinson University historically defeated the first-seed Purdue University. With numerous unexpected victories — headlined by Florida Gulf Coast University and Toledo University — there are now only seven perfect brackets left in women’s basketball playoffs. As women’s basketball has seen a steady rise in popularity, I present my personal take on the top three women’s basketball players in this year’s March Madness tournament.
Caitlin Clark, the University of Iowa
Whether you are a fan of women’s basketball or not, Caitlin Clark is a name you have probably heard of. The sophomore guard is arguably the most exciting player to watch in all of college basketball, men’s or women’s, and for good reason. Playing for the University of Iowa, which was not known as a successful basketball program before her arrival, Clark has made her talent shine since her debut. As a freshman last year, she led the Iowa Hawkeyes to their first Big Ten regular-season and Big Ten tournament champions in the school’s history. The Iowa native also registered back-to-back triple doubles in January of her freshman season, becoming the first college basketball player, male or female, to do so. Those two triple-double performances were also done with 30-point scoring records, putting Clark, a college freshman, next to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo as the only players with that accomplishment since 2000.
Clark’s excellent handles, court vision, and famous long-range shooting abilities have drawn comparisons to the great Stephen Curry of the National Basketball Association. She has the ability and the audacity to shoot from everywhere past the half-court line and is also successful as a playmaker and a decent rebounder. The Hawkeyes’ style of basketball revolves around Clark’s brilliance — Clark has not yet failed to deliver. Clark’s talent and game-changing brand of basketball deserves its own article, but this article has two other superstars to introduce.
Aliyah Boston, University of South Carolina
Aliyah Boston is another generational talent in NCAA basketball. From the reigning NCAA champions, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Boston is a double-double machine in the paint equipped with elite footwork and rebounding capabilities. If I had to compare Boston to an NBA legend, Tim Duncan would be a clear candidate, as both are humble and quiet on the court but excel by mastering the fundamentals. Also planning to finish college before the draft like Duncan did, Boston has now become a three-time All-American honoree — just the 10th member of the club. She was also the first player, male or female, to be named the Naismith College Player and Defensive Player of the Year in 2022.
Boston picked up basketball as part of her parents’ plan to afford college, but her talent has made her the top prospect of the upcoming Women’s National Basketball Association draft. Her success from 2022 has carried through this season, and Boston has led her team to a current 40-game winning streak. It remains exciting to see where Boston and the Gamecocks will end up in this year’s March Madness.
Angel Reese, Louisiana State University
Placing Angel Reese at the third is bold as I go against ESPN’s rankings and my personal favorite, Cameron Brink. However, I believe this is the correct move and Reese definitely deserves the respect. This is her first season with the Louisiana State University Tigers after transferring out of the University of Maryland. Reese now averages 23.4 points with 15.5 rebounds per game and leads the country with 30 double-double performances.
At this point, I feel obligated to explain my decision to put Reese over Brink. It is quite evident that Reese has a great habit of crashing the glass and making second-chance buckets. While Brink is a terrific shot blocker and a defensive menace overall, I see Reese’s skill set as more valuable than Brink’s significance in the paint. Rebounds matter a ton in basketball, especially in the increasingly physical playoff games of the NCAA tournament. Reese’s rebounding ability is what concludes defensive stops and gives her team extra possessions, while her abilities to push the ball with pace at her size and to finish with both hands in different fashions persuaded me to rank her over Brink on this list. Reese has led LSU to one of the best seasons in the program’s history as they continue to march on in the tournament.
Women’s basketball was not included under the brand of March Madness until 2022. The long-forgotten side of college basketball and competitive sports in general deserves more attention and fascination from you during the sports seasons. In addition to the names on this list, Cameron Brink (Stanford University), McKenzie Holmes (Indiana University), Azzi Fudd (University of Connecticut), and other stars are uplifting our generation of women’s basketball. Clark’s leadership, Boston’s hard work, and Reese’s enthusiasm have all brought their teams great success in the 2022–23 season. Tune into the “Sweet Sixteen” starting next Friday to witness the excitement, the attention to details, and the greatness that is March Madness.