Strengths: Versatility and superior offensive skill set
Johnson is a big guard that has developed a great skill set early in her basketball career. Though her athletic prowess is sometimes outshined on the court, her elite skills set her apart from the rest. She is a threat from the outside shooting 49% from the field and 35% from three-point line last season. Johnson has a great feel for the ball and is not afraid to bring it up the court. She can double as a secondary point guard, make a play from 15-feet out, and hit the boards strongly. Last season Johnson averaged 17.3 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.
Prediction: In Johnson’s senior year, She will continue to make improvements across the board. As one of the nation’s top female basketball players, Miami will look to put the ball in her hands. Miami will look to move up the ranks from their preseason number seven spot. Look for Johnson to go in the top four in the WNBA’s April draft.
Strengths: Relentless effort on the court and ability to find the basketball
Ogwumike is a scrapper in the lane with solid play down low. She lacks some skill sets that would make her an immediate cornerstone prospect, but she will still be able to get the job done for any team. Last season Ogwumike averaged 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. She is big, strong, and a difference maker on both ends. She can defend either the 3 or 4 players, but she typically only plays as a 4 on the offensive end. She likes driving with her right, and she does it well. If she can learn to incorporate a 15 to 18 foot jumper, she will be way more effective in the WNBA. She shot 57% from the field as a junior but only went 2-9 from three-point land.
Prediction: Ogwumike’s physical presence is WNBA ready. Her relentless hustle on both ends of the court cannot be overlooked. She is a solid player down low, but her versatility is sometimes lacking and will need to improve on that before the season starts. After coming back from an injury last season, her statistics took a dip. This year, Stanford will want the ball in Ogwumike’s hands, and she will be looking to put the ball in the basket.
Strengths: Shooter… and shoots well
Stricklen has WNBA size on the wing. She likes to get the ball moving and can handle it herself too. Her aggressiveness on the offensive end has shifted from shooting to passing and now driving during her college career. When she drives in the lane, she can really turn it up a notch. Last season, she shot 49% from the field and 39% from the three-point line, though she only scored less than 13 points a game. Her size and knowledge also makes her a great rebounder as she averaged around 7 rebounds per game last year.
Predictions: Stricklen is a great shooter and a ridiculously versatile player. She is WNBA ready in some aspects and could improve on others. She has great build for small guard and that will help her tremendously. Look for Stricklen to have another All-Star year in the SEC and go in the top four in the WNBA draft.
Strengths: Can spark the offense and loves the ball in her hands during crucial moments
Williams is an exciting player and risk taker. She can create offense from nothing off a catch or a bounce. As a junior she had great range out to the 23-foot mark and averaged over 21 points per game. She does not hesitate when her shot it there, and can penetrate the paint with great body control. She is good in the air and can finish with contact. Her shooting percentage is low, but she took almost 150 more shots than her teammate Shensie Johnson. Defensively, she tends to gamble as she looks for steals in the passing lanes.
Prediction: Williams’ game can translate very well into the WNBA. She has a similar ability and style as Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty. Look for a season filled with flare and excitement as Williams is sure to keep airing the ball out.
Strengths: Quickness and agility
Novosel possesses a variety of skill sets that make her a great wing in a supporting role. She is a perfect fit for motion and transition offenses with her body control and creative passing. With a much-improved perimeter shot, her scorer’s mentality is put to good use. When she is not shooting from outside, Novosel can drive and draw contact in the paint. Defensively, her quickness allows traps and presses to operate effectively. Her averages are low, only averaging 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last season, but Novosel is a student of the game who is continuously improving.
Prediction: This year, Notre Dame will look to Novosel to be a leader on both ends of the court. Look for Novosel to pick up points and assists in transition. Defensively, she will be a stickler up top, creating turnovers and recording steals.
Strengths: Overall athleticism and effective on both ends of the floor
Hayes is out to prove that UConn still has what it takes to be a National Championship contender after losing to Notre Dame in the Final Four last season. Hayes had a great junior year at Connecticut , averaging 13.7 points and 4.7 rebounds a game last season. She is the first player at UConn to wear No. 3 since Diana Taurasi (2001-04) and so far in her Connecticut career Hayes has lived up to the number. Hayes has registered 1,242 career points and has not missed a game, playing in all 116 of Connecticut's games since the 2008-09 season. Hayes has posted double-figure points 64 times, including 21 times in 2009-10 and 25 times in 2010-11. Her great athleticism allows her to be an immediate factor at both ends of the floor and will be one of the key factors at the guard positions this year for the Huskies.
Prediction: Hayes has already shocked many people with her play. She was the youngest player on the USA Women’s World University Games Team and the fastest player to reach 100 wins in NCAA basketball history. She will continue to awe players in the upcoming season. She should be effective on offense, and her defense will shine with over a steal per game. Hayes could be a great asset to a WNBA team with her athleticism and length on the wing.
Strengths: Leadership and ability to score in a verity of ways
The 6-foot-2 senior forward averaged 16.0 points and 4.9 rebounds last season for the DePaul Blue Demons. When she came to DePaul, Hampton immediately claimed a place in the starting lineup. Last season the Demons were silent assassins in the Big East with a record of 13-3 and 29-7 overall. The Demons are ranked No. 18 in the country this season and will have a lot to live up to after the amazing year last year. Hampton last season was a Finalist for the USA National World University Games Roster, State Farm / Associated Press All-America honorable mention, and earned co-MVP honors with Felicia Chester. This year Hampton is already on the Preseason Wooden Award List, Preseason Wade Watch List and Preseason unanimous All-BIG EAST selection. We will have to wait and see if she can live up to the hype.
Predictions: Hampton will be a focal point for this DePaul offense, and will probably bump her scoring average up from last season. She will need to average 20 points and 8 rebounds per game to make a big impact this season. If she can do that and lead her team far in the NCAA Tournament she will put herself at the top any WNBA teams wish list.