2020–21 NCAA Division I women's basketball season
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.
- 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. This ruling left the Ivy League as the only conference not yet allowing play to begin on November 25.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- December 25 – Duke University canceled the remainder of its women’s basketball season, citing player concerns over COVID–19.
- 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.
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. 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. 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.
Arenas[edit source | edit]
New arenas[edit source | edit]
- James Madison opened Atlantic Union Bank Center on November 25, 2020 with a men's and women's doubleheader. The women defeated Mount St. Mary's 69–55 in the second game.
- Liberty won the first event in Liberty Arena, which had officially opened on November 23, 2020, with a 76–53 win over Norfolk State on December 1.
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:
- Dixie State plays in Burns Arena.
- Tarleton State plays in Wisdom Gym.
- UC San Diego plays in RIMAC Arena.
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.
Arenas closing[edit source | edit]
- High Point had originally planned to open Nido and Mariana Qubein Arena and Conference Center for the 2020–21 season. However, construction delays brought on by COVID-19 led to the university delaying the new arena's opening until 2021–22, meaning that the Millis Center will be in use for one more season.
- This will be Idaho's final season at the Kibbie Dome, whose basketball configuration is known as Cowan Spectrum. The school plans to open the new Idaho Central Credit Union Arena for the 2021–22 season. The Dome will remain in use for several other sports, most notably football.
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.
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).
|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.
Statistical leaders[edit source | edit]
Postseason[edit source | edit]
NCAA Tournament[edit source | edit]
Conference standings[edit source | edit]
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]
- Wooden Award:
- Naismith Award:
- Associated Press Player of the Year:
- Wade Trophy:
- Ann Meyers Drysdale Women's Player of the Year (USBWA):
- espnW National Player of the Year:
Major freshman of the year awards[edit source | edit]
Major coach of the year awards[edit source | edit]
- Associated Press Coach of the Year:
- Naismith College Coach of the Year:
- USBWA National Coach of the Year:
- WBCA National Coach of the Year:
- espnW Coach of the Year:
Other major awards[edit source | edit]
- Naismith Starting Five:
- WBCA Defensive Player of the Year:
- Naismith Women's Defensive Player of the Year:
- Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award:
- Senior CLASS Award (top senior on and off the court):
- Maggie Dixon Award (top rookie head coach):
- Academic All-American of the Year (top scholar-athlete):
- Elite 90 Award (top GPA among upperclass players at Final Four):
- Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award:
Coaching changes[edit source | edit]
|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.|
|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. UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart removed the interim tag from Elzy on December 14.|
See also[edit source | edit]
Footnotes[edit source | edit]
References[edit source | edit]
- "Men's and women's 2020-21 basketball seasons to start on Thanksgiving week" (Press release). NCAA. September 17, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- "Pac-12 men's, women's basketball get go-ahead for Nov. 25 start" (Press release). ESPN. September 24, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
- "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.
- "DI Council extends eligibility for winter sport student-athletes" (Press release). NCAA. October 14, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
- Medcalf, Myron (October 27, 2020). "Bethune-Cookman opts for no sports during 2020-21 school year". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
- "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.
- "Ivy League Outlines Intercollegiate Athletics Plans; No Competition for Winter Sports" (Press release). Ivy League. November 12, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
- "Hawk Athletics will not compete in the Spring of 2020-21 athletic year" (Press release). UMES Hawks. November 19, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
- Voepel, Mechelle (November 23, 2020). "Florida A&M cancels women's basketball season because of COVID-19 concerns". The Undefeated. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
- Durham, Meghan (December 14, 2020). "San Antonio region viewed as potential host for 2021 DI Women's Basketball Championship". NCAA. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
- "Duke Blue Devils end women's basketball season amid coronavirus concerns". ESPN.com. December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "WAC Announces Expansion, Plans to Reinstate Football" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
- 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.
- "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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Lederman, Eli (January 14, 2021). "UCA to leave Southland Conference, join Atlantic Sun Conference". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
- "Men's Basketball Rocks Limestone in Opener" (Press release). James Madison Dukes. November 25, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
- Eck, T. J. "Short-handed JMU holds off Mount St. Mary's in season opener". Harrisonburg, VA: WHSV-TV. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
- "Liberty Arena Officially Opens with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony" (Press release). Liberty Athletics. November 23, 2020. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
- "Lady Flames Roll Past Norfolk State on Liberty Arena's Opening Night" (Press release). Liberty Athletics. December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
- "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.
- 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.
- Newsom, John (August 6, 2020). "High Point University arena project delayed for a year". News & Record. Greensboro, NC. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
- Smith, Jordan (July 23, 2020). "Inside look of the new ICCU Arena at University of Idaho". Lewiston, Idaho: KLEW-TV. Retrieved October 30, 2020.
- Hays, Graham (September 8, 2020). "FSU's Sue Semrau taking season-long leave to care for ailing mother". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
- Crane, Evan (November 12, 2020). "Matthew Mitchell Retires from Coaching; Kyra Elzy Named Interim Head Coach" (Press release). Kentucky Wildcats. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
- "Barnhart Removes Interim Tag, Names Kyra Elzy Head Coach" (Press release). Kentucky Wildcats. December 14, 2020. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
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