Women’s college basketball season is coming up, with plenty of competition set in the race for the Sun Belt conference. Let’s power rank the conference, starting with the bottom half.
14. University of Louisiana-Monroe
New Chief of Staff Larry Tidwell was able to provide a huge transfer in former Kansas Jayhawk, Emma Merriweather. The 6’5 center is not a prolific scorer, however Merriweather will be the Warhawks defensive anchor and rebounding specialist. Regardless, the Warhawks went 0-14 in SBC games last season and finished with a 4-25 record.
Although this might be a surprise ranking after the Herd finished with a 15-13 season, this will be their first season in the SBC and they are without their two top scorers from last season. Sophomore Savannah Wheeler averaged 20.3 points per game and Kennedi Colclough averaged 11.6. With Wheeler transferring and Colclough graduating, the Herd must rely on their veteran transfers to carry the mantle.
12. South Alabama
The Jaguars went 8-18 in their previous season, ending on a 10-game losing streak (all SBC opponents). With 4 true freshmen and 2 redshirted freshmen, I expect this team to be too young in their development to compete this season, however they have an extremely bright future.
11. Arkansas State
Arkansas State finished 8th in the Sun Belt last season and it feels like they are headed in the wrong direction. Losing Jireh Washington, Trinitee Jackson, and Morgan Wallace will hurt the offensive ability of this program tremendously. All 3 women averaged over 10 points per game and Ark State only beat outscored their opponents by 4.6 points per game. The program has welcomed a handful of unproven, young talent and have just officially hired Destinee Rogers as their head coach. Rogers served as Ark State’s interim head coach in the final 18 games last season recording an 8-10 record. I expect some growing pains in the new system with new talent and lots of low scoring games.
10. James Madison
This is an intriguing program. This will be JMU’s first season in the SBC and they are coming off a 14-15 season. James Madison was outscored last season 1873 to 1843 and had significantly lower statistics in every major category, except for rebounding. You can expect Kiki Jefferson to continue her dominance this season after averaging 18.8 points per game on 40% from the field. However, the lack of her supporting staff is worrisome.
9. Coastal Carolina
Although this program finished with a 15-12 record last season, the loss of star Aja Blount will be felt immediately. Blount averaged 19.7 points per game and nobody else averaged double digits. This team had an average scoring margin of +10.5 and they must look at transfer Carly Winters to continue breaking records and become the sharpshooter this program needs.
8. Southern Mississippi
Southern Miss’s top 2 scorers are returning and ready to make an impression on the SBC. After an 18-12 season, the Golden Eagles are hoping to compete with the toughest SBC opponents. However, I believe every game will be a toss-up due to only a +2.7 point margin.