So far, the 2022-23 women’s college basketball season has included outstanding performances by familiar faces on legacy teams. Some early matchups, including the highly anticipated contest between No. 1 South Carolina and No. 2 Stanford that went into overtime, gave fans the feel of a late tournament March Madness matchup.
The top players in the first half of the regular season come from ranked programs expected to make deep runs into the NCAA tournament and possibly end up in the Final Four in Dallas next April. The list considers raw statistics and the performance of a player’s team, factoring in NET, RPI, and poll rankings. So, while Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist is among the top five scorers in the country, her team’s RPI and Net are at least 20 places below the top three teams in the country: South Carolina, Stanford, and UConn.
Here is a list of the top five players with their stats as of Dec. 28, 2022, along with some honorable mentions. All players listed are on the early season watch list for the 2023 Wade Trophy, the most prestigious honor in women’s college basketball.
Aliyah Boston (South Carolina)
Putting South Carolina forward Aliyah Boston at the top of the list is a no-brainer. As the winner of multiple Player of the Year Awards last season, the 6-5 senior is expected to be the top pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft.
Boston, a prolific double-double machine, turned it up in her team’s November overtime win over No. 2 Stanford in the best game of the season so far. South Carolina’s November wins also include triumphs over two other top-20 teams: Maryland and UCLA. Boston is nearing her 70th career double-double and has 32 against ranked opponents. She is the rebounding and double-double Division I leader among active players. She’s also third in career blocked shots.
- Points Per Game: 12.4
- Rebounds Per Game: 9.6
Caitlin Clark (Iowa)
Last season, Iowa junior guard Caitlin Clark was often a runner-up to Boston in voting for national player of the year honors. With a long list of Big Ten awards in her bag from the 2021-22 season, she entered this season as the Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year.
Clark is currently the nation’s third-leading scorer, which is no surprise since she finished last season as the top scorer in Division I and led in assists per game, free throws made, and triple-doubles.
Iowa lost a couple of tough contests this season against ranked teams, but Clark continues to perform like Iowa’s best women’s basketball player in program history. She scored a whopping 45 points against NC State on Dec. 1.
- Points per game: 27.0
- Rebounds per game: 7.7
- Assists per game: 7.1
Cameron Brink (Stanford)
Cameron Brink arrived at Stanford as the No. 3 high school player in the nation. She has not disappointed. She made an impact immediately, helping her team to win a national championship and setting the program record for blocks in a season.
With her fierce defensive play that includes shot-blocking talent, Brink is an essential piece of the Stanford roster. Her hard work led her to be named last season’s Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. She is currently fourth in the nation in blocked shots per game.
As the goddaughter of Sonya Curry, the mother of NBA players Steph and Seth Curry, Brink often plays with a Curry contingent in the stands adding to her star-player orbit.
- Points per game: 13.0
- Rebounds per game: 8.7
- Blocks per game: 2.9
Angel Reese (LSU)
Reese is the top player out of the transfer portal and led Maryland to a Sweet 16 appearance last season. Her hot start with LSU continues as she puts up double figures in every game.
LSU sophomore forward Angel Reese is a centerpiece of the revamped Tigers program under legendary head coach Kim Mulkey. In Mulkey’s second year at the helm, the underclassman Reese, who transferred to LSU from Maryland, had 31 points in her debut with the Tigers in early November.
- Points per game: 24.6
- Rebounds per game: 14.7
Azzi Fudd (UConn)
At UConn, Sophomore guard Azzi Fudd is living up to her namesake, legendary Stanford player Jennifer Azzi. She enrolled at UConn as the No. 1 prospect in the nation. She leads the No. 8 Huskies in scoring and free throw percentage. Her efforts include 32 points in a win against fellow top-ten team NC State.
While Fudd is ranked 15th in the nation in scoring average, she has missed four games due to injury. She is expected back sometime in January.
- Points per game: 20.6
- Free throw percentage: 92.3%
Honorable mention: Mackenzie Holmes (Indiana); Aneesah Morrow (DePaul); Haley Jones (Stanford); Charisma Osborne (UCLA); Maddy Siegrist (Villanova).
AP Photo/Gail Burton