2020–21 NCAA Division I women's basketball season

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Template:Infobox NCAA Division I women's basketball season The 2020–21 NCAA Division I women's basketball season began in November 2020 and will end in April 2021. The 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament is scheduled to end at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on April 4, 2021. Practices officially began in October 2020.

Season headlines[edit source | edit]

  • September 17 – The NCAA officially announced that both men's and women's basketball season is permitted to begin on November 25.[1]
  • September 24 – One week after the NCAA's announcement, the Pac-12 permitted play to begin on that date. The Pac-12 had previously barred play until 2021.[2] This ruling left the Ivy League as the only conference not yet allowing play to begin on November 25.[3]
  • October 14 – The NCAA announced that all student-athletes in winter sports during the 2020–21 school year, including men's and women's basketball, would receive an extra year of athletic eligibility, whether or not they or their teams play during that school year.[4]
  • October 27 – Bethune–Cookman, which had previously canceled its 2020 fall sports due to COVID-19 concerns, announced that none of its other teams, including men's and women's basketball, would play in the 2020–21 school year.[5]
  • November 12
    • Cal State Northridge announced that it would not play in the 2020–21 season after six players opted out of the season and a seventh was unable to enter the U.S. due to travel restrictions, leaving the Matadors with only six available players.[6]
    • The Ivy League became the first conference to cancel all winter sports for the 2020–21 season, including men's and women's basketball, due to COVID-19 concerns.[7]
  • November 19 – Maryland Eastern Shore became the second MEAC program to opt out of all remaining 2020–21 sports, including men's and women's basketball, due to COVID-19 concerns.[8]
  • November 23 – Florida A&M became the third MEAC member to opt out of the 2020–21 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Unlike the previous two MEAC members to opt out, FAMU only opted out of women's basketball at that time.[9]
  • December 14 – The NCAA announces that the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament will be held in one geographic area. The original host of the Final Four, San Antonio, and surrounding areas have began preliminary discussions to host the entire 64-team tournament.[10]
  • December 25 – Duke University canceled the remainder of its women’s basketball season, citing player concerns over COVID–19.[11]
  • December 29 – Southern Methodist University canceled the remainder of its women's basketball season, citing player concerns over COVID–19.
  • January 6 – Dixie State University canceled the remainder of its women's basketball season, citing player concerns over COVID–19.
  • January 14
  • January 18 – Vanderbilt University canceled the remainder of its women's basketball season, citing player concerns over COVID–19.

Milestones and records[edit source | edit]

To be added.

Conference membership changes[edit source | edit]

Ten schools joined new conferences for the 2020–21 season, including four transitioning from Division II.

School Former Conference New Conference
Bellarmine Great Lakes Valley Conference (D-II) Atlantic Sun Conference
Cal State Bakersfield Western Athletic Conference Big West Conference
Dixie State Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (D-II) Western Athletic Conference
Kansas City Western Athletic Conference Summit League
NJIT Atlantic Sun Conference America East Conference
Purdue Fort Wayne Summit League Horizon League
Robert Morris Northeast Conference Horizon League
Tarleton State Lone Star Conference (D-II) Western Athletic Conference
UC San Diego California Collegiate Athletic Association (D-II) Big West Conference
UConn American Athletic Conference Big East Conference

On January 14, 2021, the Western Athletic Conference announced the impending arrival of five new members—Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State, and Stephen F. Austin, all Southland Conference members located in Texas, and Southern Utah from the Big Sky Conference.[12] Original plans were for all five schools to join in 2022, but the entry of the Texas schools was moved forward to July 2021 when the Southland chose to expel the Texas schools.[13] Southern Utah's entry remains on the original July 2022 schedule. A current WAC member, Chicago State, announced it would leave the conference after the 2021–22 season; it has yet to announce a new affiliation.[14]

On that same day, Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague told media that the school would leave the Southland for the Atlantic Sun Conference after the 2020–21 school year.[15]

Arenas[edit source | edit]

New arenas[edit source | edit]

Arenas of new D-I teams[edit source | edit]

Three of the four new D-I members for this season are using existing on-campus facilities:

The other D-I newcomer, Bellarmine, announced a multi-year deal with the Kentucky State Fair Board on November 2, 2020 to play home games at Freedom Hall, located at the Kentucky Exposition Center near Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Before the opening of the downtown KFC Yum! Center in 2010, Freedom Hall had been the full-time home of Louisville men's basketball for more than 50 years, and had also been at least the part-time home of Louisville women's basketball since that team's establishment in 1975. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Bellarmine could only seat 300 at its on-campus facility, Knights Hall. With Freedom Hall's basketball capacity of 18,252, the Knights will be able to seat 2,700.[20]

Arenas closing[edit source | edit]

Temporary arenas[edit source | edit]

To be added.

Season outlook[edit source | edit]

Pre-season polls[edit source | edit]

The top 25 from the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls.

Associated Press
Ranking Team
1 South Carolina (29)
2 Stanford (1)
3 UConn
4 Baylor
5 Louisville
6 Mississippi State
7 Arizona
8 NC State
9 UCLA
10 Oregon
11 Kentucky
12 Maryland
13 Texas A&M
14 Arkansas
15 Iowa State
16 Indiana
17 Northwestern
18 Oregon State
19 DePaul
20 Ohio State
21 Gonzaga
22 Notre Dame
23 Syracuse
24 Missouri State
25 Michigan
USA Today Coaches
Ranking Team
1 South Carolina (31)
2 Stanford (1)
3 UConn
4 Baylor
5 Louisville
6 NC State
7 Mississippi State
8 Arizona
9 Oregon
10 UCLA
11 Maryland
12 Kentucky
13 Texas A&M
14 Arkansas
15 Indiana
16 Northwestern
17 Oregon State
18 Iowa State
19 DePaul
20 Gonzaga
21 Syracuse
22 Ohio State
23 Notre Dame
24 Michigan
25 Missouri State

Regular season[edit source | edit]

Early season tournaments[edit source | edit]

Early season tournaments are TBA, although many have canceled and others are unlikely to occur.

Upsets[edit source | edit]

An upset is a victory by an underdog team. In the context of NCAA Division I Women's Basketball, this generally constitutes an unranked team defeating a team currently ranked in the Top 25. This list will highlight those upsets of ranked teams by unranked teams as well as upsets of #1 teams. Rankings are from the AP poll. Bold type indicates winning teams in "true road games"—i.e., those played on an opponent's home court (including secondary homes).

Winner Score Loser Date Tournament/Event
Ohio 86–85 #22 Notre Dame November 27, 2020
South Dakota State 76–69 #15 Iowa State November 28, 2020
Wake Forest 68–59 #24 Missouri State November 29, 2020 Gulf Coast Showcase
#8 NC State 54–46 #1 South Carolina December 3, 2020 Jimmy V Classic
South Florida 67–63OT #6 Mississippi State December 5, 2020
South Dakota State 75–72OT #18 Gonzaga December 6, 2020
Utah 85–79 #15 Oregon State December 8, 2020
Kansas State 62–53 #22 South Dakota State December 10, 2020
Northern Iowa 65–48 #22 South Dakota State December 12, 2020
North Carolina 92–68 #18 Syracuse December 17, 2020
Tennessee 66–58 #15 Indiana December 17, 2020
South Dakota State 60–52 #20 Missouri State December 19, 2020
Washington State 61–55 #21 Oregon State December 19, 2020
Nebraska 65–63 #15 Northwestern December 31, 2020
Tennessee 88–73 #13 Arkansas January 7, 2021
Washington State 71–69OT #7 Arizona January 10, 2021
Nebraska 68–64 #23 Michigan State January 10, 2021
Georgia 67–66 #23 Tennessee January 14, 2021
LSU 65–61OT #7 Texas A&M January 14, 2021
Alabama 86–78 #14 Mississippi State January 14, 2021
USC 81–77OT #25 Washington State January 15, 2021
Nebraska 63–55 #15 Ohio State January 16, 2021
Iowa State 75–71 #6 Baylor January 16, 2021
Colorado 77–72OT #1 Stanford January 17, 2021
Texas Tech 74–66 #21 Texas January 17, 2021

Conference winners and tournaments[edit source | edit]

Each of the 31 Division I athletic conferences that is playing the 2020–21 season plans to end its regular season with a single-elimination tournament. The team with the best regular-season record in each conference is given the number one seed in each tournament, with tiebreakers used as needed in the case of ties for the top seeding. The winners of these tournaments receive automatic invitations to the 2021 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament.

Conference Regular
season first place
Conference
Player of the Year
Conference
Coach of the Year
Conference
tournament
Tournament
venue (city)
Tournament
winner
America East Conference 2021 America East Women's Basketball Tournament Campus sites
American Athletic Conference 2021 American Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Dickies Arena
(Fort Worth, TX)
Atlantic 10 Conference 2021 Atlantic 10 Women's Basketball Tournament First round: Campus sites
Atlantic Coast Conference 2021 ACC Women's Basketball Tournament Greensboro Coliseum
(Greensboro, NC)
Atlantic Sun Conference 2021 Atlantic Sun Women's Basketball Tournament Campus sites
Big 12 Conference 2021 Big 12 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Municipal Auditorium
(Kansas City, MO)
Big East Conference 2021 Big East Women's Basketball Tournament Mohegan Sun Arena
(Uncasville, CT)
Big Sky Conference 2021 Big Sky Conference Women's Basketball Tournament CenturyLink Arena
(Boise, ID)
Big South Conference 2021 Big South Conference Women's Basketball Tournament First round: Campus sites
Big Ten Conference 2021 Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Bankers Life Fieldhouse
(Indianapolis, IN)
Big West Conference 2021 Big West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Honda Center
(Anaheim, CA)
Colonial Athletic Association 2021 CAA Women's Basketball Tournament Schar Center
(Elon, NC)
Conference USA 2021 Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament Ford Center
(Frisco, TX)
Horizon League 2021 Horizon League Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals: Campus sites
Semifinals and final: Indiana Farmers Coliseum
(Indianapolis, IN)
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference 2021 MAAC Women's Basketball Tournament Boardwalk Hall
(Atlantic City, NJ)
Mid-American Conference 2021 Mid-American Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
(Cleveland, OH)
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference 2021 MEAC Women's Basketball Tournament Norfolk Scope
(Norfolk, VA)
Missouri Valley Conference 2021 Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament TaxSlayer Center
(Moline, IL)
Mountain West Conference 2021 Mountain West Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Thomas & Mack Center
(Paradise, NV)
Northeast Conference 2021 Northeast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Campus sites
Ohio Valley Conference 2021 Ohio Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Ford Center
(Evansville, IN)
Pac-12 Conference 2021 Pac-12 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Mandalay Bay Events Center
(Paradise, NV)
Patriot League 2021 Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament Campus sites
Southeastern Conference 2021 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament Bon Secours Wellness Arena
(Greenville, SC)
Southern Conference 2021 Southern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Harrah's Cherokee Center
(Asheville, NC)
Southland Conference 2021 Southland Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Leonard E. Merrell Center
(Katy, TX)
Southwestern Athletic Conference 2021 SWAC Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals: Campus sites '
Summit League 2021 Summit League Women's Basketball Tournament
Sun Belt Conference 2021 Sun Belt Conference Women's Basketball Tournament First three rounds: Campus sites
West Coast Conference 2021 West Coast Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Orleans Arena
(Paradise, NV)
Western Athletic Conference 2021 WAC Women's Basketball Tournament

Statistical leaders[edit source | edit]

Points per game
Rebounds per game
Assists per game
Steals per game
Player School PPG Player School RPG Player School APG Player School SPG
Blocked shots per game
Field goal percentage
Three-point field goal percentage
Free throw percentage
Player School BPG Player School FG% Player School 3FG% Player School FT%

Postseason[edit source | edit]

NCAA Tournament[edit source | edit]

Conference standings[edit source | edit]

Template:2020–21 America East Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 American Athletic Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Atlantic 10 women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 ACC women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Atlantic Sun women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Big East women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Big Sky women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Big South women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Big Ten women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Big 12 Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Big West women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 CAA women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Conference USA women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Horizon League women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 MAAC women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Mid-American Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 MEAC women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Mountain West Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Northeast Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Ohio Valley Conference women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Pac-12 Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Patriot League women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 SEC women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Southern Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Southland Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 SWAC women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 Summit League women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 Sun Belt Conference women's basketball standings Template:2020–21 WAC women's basketball standings
Template:2020–21 West Coast Conference women's basketball standings

Award winners[edit source | edit]

All-America teams[edit source | edit]

The NCAA has never recognized a consensus All-America team in women's basketball. This differs from the practice in men's basketball, in which the NCAA uses a combination of selections by the Associated Press (AP), the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the Sporting News, and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) to determine a consensus All-America team. The selection of a consensus team is possible because all four organizations select at least a first and second team, with only the USBWA not selecting a third team.

Before the 2017–18 season, it was impossible for a consensus women's All-America team to be determined because the AP had been the only body that divided its women's selections into separate teams. The USBWA first named separate teams in 2017–18. The women's counterpart to the NABC, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), continues the USBWA's former practice of selecting a single 10-member (plus ties) team. The NCAA does not recognize Sporting News as an All-America selector in women's basketball.

Major player of the year awards[edit source | edit]

Major freshman of the year awards[edit source | edit]

Major coach of the year awards[edit source | edit]

Other major awards[edit source | edit]

Coaching changes[edit source | edit]

Team Former
coach
Interim
coach
New
coach
Reason
Florida State Sue Semrau Brooke Wyckoff Semrau announced on September 8, 2020 that she will be taking a leave of absence for the 2020–21 season to care for her mother, but is expected to return to the team at the end of the season. Associate head coach Wyckoff will serve as the Seminoles' interim head coach during Semrau's absence.[24]
Kentucky Matthew Mitchell Kyra Elzy Mitchell announced his retirement on November 12, 2020 after fifteen years as a head coach, the last thirteen as Kentucky's head coach. Following Mitchell's announcement, associate head coach Kyra Elzy was named the interim head coach of the Wildcats for the 2020–21 season.[25] UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart removed the interim tag from Elzy on December 14.[26]

See also[edit source | edit]

Footnotes[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. "Men's and women's 2020-21 basketball seasons to start on Thanksgiving week" (Press release). NCAA. September 17, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  2. "Pac-12 men's, women's basketball get go-ahead for Nov. 25 start" (Press release). ESPN. September 24, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  3. "Ivy League Basketball Season In Jeopardy Amid Covid-19 Pandemic, With Harvard Not Expected To Play". Forbes (Press release). October 19, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  4. "DI Council extends eligibility for winter sport student-athletes" (Press release). NCAA. October 14, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  5. Medcalf, Myron (October 27, 2020). "Bethune-Cookman opts for no sports during 2020-21 school year". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  6. "Student-Athlete COVID-19 Opt-Outs Leave CSUN Women's Basketball Unable to Compete in 2020-21" (Press release). CSUN Matadors. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  7. "Ivy League Outlines Intercollegiate Athletics Plans; No Competition for Winter Sports" (Press release). Ivy League. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  8. "Hawk Athletics will not compete in the Spring of 2020-21 athletic year" (Press release). UMES Hawks. November 19, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  9. Voepel, Mechelle (November 23, 2020). "Florida A&M cancels women's basketball season because of COVID-19 concerns". The Undefeated. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  10. Durham, Meghan (December 14, 2020). "San Antonio region viewed as potential host for 2021 DI Women's Basketball Championship". NCAA. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  11. "Duke Blue Devils end women's basketball season amid coronavirus concerns". ESPN.com. December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  12. "WAC Announces Expansion, Plans to Reinstate Football" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  13. Blum, Sam (January 14, 2021). "As WAC announces addition of 5 schools, Frisco-based Southland Conference left in no man's land". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 18, 2021.
  14. "Chicago State University Announces Plan to Leave Western Athletic Conference in June 2022" (Press release). Chicago State Cougars. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  15. Lederman, Eli (January 14, 2021). "UCA to leave Southland Conference, join Atlantic Sun Conference". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  16. "Men's Basketball Rocks Limestone in Opener" (Press release). James Madison Dukes. November 25, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  17. Eck, T. J. "Short-handed JMU holds off Mount St. Mary's in season opener". Harrisonburg, VA: WHSV-TV. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  18. "Liberty Arena Officially Opens with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" (Press release). Liberty Athletics. November 23, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  19. "Lady Flames Roll Past Norfolk State on Liberty Arena's Opening Night" (Press release). Liberty Athletics. December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  20. "Iconic Freedom Hall to become home for men's and women's basketball teams" (Press release). Bellarmine Knights. November 2, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  21. Newsom, John (March 27, 2018). "High Point University picks on-campus site for new basketball arena, convocation center". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  22. Newsom, John (August 6, 2020). "High Point University arena project delayed for a year". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  23. Smith, Jordan (July 23, 2020). "Inside look of the new ICCU Arena at University of Idaho". Lewiston, Idaho: KLEW-TV. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
  24. Hays, Graham (September 8, 2020). "FSU's Sue Semrau taking season-long leave to care for ailing mother". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
  25. Crane, Evan (November 12, 2020). "Matthew Mitchell Retires from Coaching; Kyra Elzy Named Interim Head Coach" (Press release). Kentucky Wildcats. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  26. "Barnhart Removes Interim Tag, Names Kyra Elzy Head Coach" (Press release). Kentucky Wildcats. December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.

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