UConn had a big three last season. Although the names have changed, the Huskies have a big three again this season. And none of them are seniors. That's scary for everyone else.
As the Huskies go into the NCAA tournament on a 107-game winning streak, they dominate our espnW All-American first team. Here are our top 10 players for the 2016-17 women's basketball season. (Players listed alphabetically; * denotes unanimous pick.)
Napheesa Collier*, UConn, F, 6-foot-1, sophomore
2016-17: 20.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 68.9 FG percentage
She could have been a freshman star elsewhere, but was playing behind the likes of Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck last season. There were signs even then that Collier would step into the limelight this season. She plays with a smooth, calm, almost surgical efficiency, and has been able to defend many different types of players.
Kelsey Plum*, Washington, G, 5-foot-8, senior
2016-17: 31.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG
How could she improve on last season's scoring deluge? By being even more efficient. Plum bumped up her average by 6 points and is now the top scorer in NCAA Division I women's basketball history (3,431). With 50 more points, she can claim the single-season scoring record as well. Plum is shooting 53.3 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from 3-point range and 88.8 percent from the line.
Katie Lou Samuelson*, UConn, G/F, 6-foot-3, sophomore
2016-17: 21.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 43.7 percent from 3-point range
She didn't get to play in the 2016 national championship game because of a broken bone in her foot, and it's as though she has been making up for that ever since. Samuelson came to UConn as a great 3-point shooter; her 10-for-10 performance from behind the arc in the American Athletic Conference tournament final showcased that. But her overall game also has flourished this season.
Gabby Williams, UConn, F, 5-foot-11, junior
2016-17: 13.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 5.25 assists
An outstanding overall athlete, she is in the process of fully blossoming as an elite basketball player. Williams has done whatever UConn has needed, and seems equally good at everything: scoring, rebounding, passing and defending. Like teammate Napheesa Collier, she's adept at shutting down players bigger than she is. Williams is also a thoughtful, respected vocal leader, which the Huskies needed.
A'ja Wilson, South Carolina, F, 6-foot-5, junior
2016-17: 17.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 72.2 FG percentage
For the second season in a row, she led the Gamecocks to the SEC regular-season and tournament titles, and was named the league's player of the year. With fellow post player Alaina Coates sidelined in the SEC tournament, Wilson really stood out for anchoring the interior for the Gamecocks. Wilson also had to take on more of a leadership role this season with the loss of five seniors.
Brionna Jones, Maryland, C, 6-foot-3, senior
2016-17: 19.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 69.8 FG percentage
She has had a tremendous final season, averaging a double-double and being named Big Ten tournament MVP after totaling 73 points and 34 rebounds in three games. She leads the nation in field goal percentage; when Jones gets the ball in scoring position, she's going to score. She also led the Terrapins in blocks (50) and tied for the lead in steals (58).
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State, G, 5-foot-8, junior
2016-17: 23.0 PPG, 3.9 APG, 107 3-pointers
Mitchell remains one of the most dangerous scorers in women's basketball, and has had more duties as a point guard and a team leader this season. For her career, she has averaged almost 36 minutes per game and been very durable. Her Buckeyes are the only Big Ten team that has figured out how to beat Maryland since the Terps joined the league; Ohio State shared the regular-season crown with them this season.
Brianna Turner, Notre Dame, F, 6-foot-3, junior
2016-17: 15.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 62.4 FG percentage
The Irish have been guard-heavy throughout Turner's career, making her the centerpiece of their interior. She has been consistently reliable, helping the Irish win the ACC regular-season and tournament titles each of her three seasons. She has averaged the most minutes of her career this season (29.2), and the Irish will get a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the sixth year in a row.
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Maryland, G, 5-foot-11, senior
2016-17: 18.6 PPG, 3.7 APG, 44.7 3-point percentage
On a team with seven newcomers, including at point guard with freshman Destiny Slocum, Walker-Kimbrough was a steadying presence. She has 117 assists and 58 steals this season, along with being an elite scorer. For her Maryland career, Walker is a 45.8 percent shooter from long range (181 of 395). She has made immense improvement since coming in a raw talent as a freshman.
Sydney Wiese, Oregon State, G, 6-foot-1, senior
2016-17: 15.7 PPG, 4.6 APG, 45.9 3-point percentage
With the Beavers losing three seniors from last year's Final Four team, Wiese had even more on her shoulders this season. She responded by leading Oregon State to the Pac-12 regular-season title. Wiese is shooting almost exactly the same overall (45.7 percent) as from 3-point range (45.9), and both are career highs. She always plays hard and has averaged 33.6 minutes in her career.
Also receiving votes: Lindsay Allen, Notre Dame; Lexie Brown, Duke; Chantel Osahor, Washington; Alexis Peterson, Syracuse