April 19, 2016

Way-too-early preseason rankings

Although a lot of things can change before next season tips off, Charlie Creme (espnW) thinks it's time to start looking ahead at what he predicts will be a wide open season.

He has five Pac-12 teams in his top 25:

In a season that should feature a number of great point guards, Jordin Canada has a chance to be the best. Her speed and aggressiveness, plus the talents of junior classmate Monique Billings, could make the Bruins the favorite in the Pac-12. A big year from sharpshooter Kari Korver and the further development of sophomore Lajahna Drummer would also be big boost.

10. Stanford
With more consistency, senior-to-be Erica McCall could be ready to move into another category among the best players in the country. She will be flanked by classmates and quality perimeter shooters Lili Thompson and Karlie Samuelson, and helped out inside by 6-3 sophomore Kaylee Johnson. Nadia Fingall, a 6-2 incoming freshman, heads up Tara Vanderveer's top-10 recruiting class, which also includes 2-guard DiJonai Carrington, daughter of eight-year NFL veteran Darren, and point guard Anna Wilson, the sister of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

16. Arizona State
Charli Turner Thorne brings in one of her best recruiting classes. All five players are guards, which will help ease the impact of the departures of Elisha Davis, Arnecia Hawkins and Katie Hempen. Those five new Sun Devils, headlined by Jamie Ruden from Minnesota, will have bigs Sophie Brunner, Quinn Dornstauder and Kelsey Moos to get the ball to.

22. Washington
Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor make an outstanding returning duo for Mike Neighbors to build around. The lack of depth didn't hurt the Final Four run, but it will be nice to have Brianna Ruiz back from injury, especially with graduations of Talia Walton and Alexus Atchley.

24. Oregon State
Scott Rueck rebuilt the Beavers' program from rubble with Jamie Weisner, Devin Hunter and Ruth Hamblin -- but now they are gone. To sustain the momentum of back-to-back Pac-12 regular-season championships and this season's Final Four appearance, Rueck will have to get even bigger seasons from Sydney Wiese, Gabriella Hanson, and 6-5 Marie Gulich, the heir apparent to Hamblin, and contributions from the 16th-rated recruiting class.

Notre Dame leads way in way-too-early preseason top 25 rankings

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