“The Super Six”
5. Oregon State
“The Next Nine” (To Complete Top 15)
8. South Carolina
12. Miami FL
15. Texas A&M
“The Next Ten” (To Complete Top 25)
16. Georgia Tech
25. Florida State
“The Next Fifteen” (To Compete Top 40)
26. Notre Dame
27. North Carolina
28. Ohio State
33. West Virginia
38. Virginia Tech
40. Penn State
“The Next Twenty” (To Complete Top 60)
44. Boston College
46. East Carolina
48. Michigan State
50. Texas Tech
57. Kansas State
There is a rule of thumb that — in any sport — change at the top can come with some early struggles.
But that shouldn’t be the case in women’s college basketball. Fifty-five programs on the Division I level changed coaches this year. Those coaches already are seeing the results of their first full offseason of recruiting for their new teams. That’s evidenced by All-Star Girls Report’s ranking of the top 60 recruiting classes after the early-signing period.
Eleven schools with first-year coaches are ranked in ASGR’s top 60.
“Obviously, a lot of the new coaches are excellent recruiters or else they wouldn’t have been in the running for those type of jobs,’’ ASGR Director of Scouting Bret McCormick said. “Plus, they’re bringing in girls that fit their style of play and girls realize that can help them get playing time right away.’’
LSU leads the way by landing the No. 13-ranked recruiting class in the country, according to ASGR. That’s no surprise because the Tigers brought in a headliner coach in Kim Mulkey, whose resume is highlighted by the fact that she was the first woman ever to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Mulkey won three national titles in her previous head-coaching spot at Baylor and won national titles as an assistant coach and player at Louisiana Tech. She now is back in familiar territory and her first recruiting class features two prospects on ASGR’s list of the top 50 individuals. That’s led by guard Flaujae Johnson (No. 39) and forward Sa’Myah Smith (No. 46). The Tigers also landed forward Alisa Williams, who is ranked No.152.
Washington is close behind with the 14th-ranked class as former Rice coach Tina Langley takes over for Jody Wynn, whose team went 7-14 last season. Langley brought in a class that features guards Hanna Stines and Teagan Brown and Ellie Ladine, all ranked among the top 100 prospects, according to ASGR.
“I think (Stines) is the highlight of Washington’s class,’’ McCormick said. “She can play all three guard spots and she has the ability to make everyone around her better. This is a really solid recruiting class.’’
USC coach Lindsay Gottleib previously was the head coach at Cal and Cal Santa Barbara before becoming an NBA assistant with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In her return to the college level, Gotleib’s recruiting class ranks No. 24. She landed only one commitment, but it was a big one. The nation’s 15th-ranked prospect, Aaliyah Gayles, has committed to USC.
“She’s a unique guard,’’ McCormick said. “People tend to think of her as a point guard and she could be a very good college player at that position. But the thing that some people overlook is that she can also be a scorer.’’
To replace Mulkey, Baylor brought in Nicki Collen in her first job as a college head coach. But Collen has head-coaching experience from her time with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. Collen’s 2022 class is ranked No. 31 and it includes two players from ASGR’s top-100 list in the versatile Ysabella Fontleroy and post player Kyla Abraham.
“(Fontleroy) is a player that can contribute not just in the future, but right away,’’ McCormick said.
New Vanderbilt coach Shea Ralph, a long-time assistant at UConn, landed three players among the top 100 and her recruiting class is No. 32 among the top 60. The Commodores will add a nice mix of size (center Amauri Williams and forward Ryanne Allen) and speed (point guard Jada Brown).
No. 35 Oklahoma’s first year coach Jennie Baranczk got four early commitments, led by 6-foot-3 center Beatrice Culliton, who McCormick said could be an immediate starter.
No. 36 Auburn’s first-year coach Johnnie Harris, a former associate head coach at Mississippi State and Texas, went for quantity as she received six commitments, highlighted by combo guard Sydney Shaw (ranked No. 90 on ASGR’s list of individuals).
Wisconsin coach Marisa Mosely coached Boston University to a 45-29 record the past three seasons and also was an assistant at UConn from 2009-’18. Her first full recruiting class, ranked No. 39, will feature plenty of size with 6-5 center Tessa Towers and 6-4 forward Serah Williams.
Former Purdue star player Katie Geralds landed in the head-coaching job under complicated circumstances. In March, Purdue announced that this would be the last season for head coach Sharon Versyp and that Geralds, who had won two national championships while coaching at NAIA Division II Marian University, would take over in the spring of 2022.
But all that changed after a published report that said Versyp ran a program that had a “toxic and hostile environment’’. In September, it was announced that Versyp was retiring and Geralds would take over immediately.
That didn’t stop Geralds from landing a class that is ranked No. 51 and led by a pair of top-150 recruits in guard Addison Potts (No. 100) and forward Lily Stoddard (No. 105).
Tulsa coach Angie Nelp returns to her native Oklahoma where she was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school senior in 1998, after serving as an assistant and associate head coach at Arizona State.
Tulsa received four commitments, led by 6-2 center Chloe Williams.
“Tulsa got one of the deeper recruiting classes in that nation,’’ McCormick said. “They didn’t get any of the top names, but they got enough quality players that they could be really competitive in a couple years.’’
Replacing Langley at Rice won’t be easy, but the Owls believe they have the right woman in Lindsay Edmonds, who spent the last eight seasons as an assistant at North Carolina State. Edmonds’ 2022 class is ranked No.60 and is highlighted by guards Jazzy Owens and Kennedy Clifton, who rank in the top 200 individuals.