Best Women’s College Basketball Teams

Women's basketball is dominated by a handful of extremely talented teams. Our rankings consider team unity, a successful coach and talented players.

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Published on December 9, 2020 · Updated on March 18, 2022

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NCAA March Madness brings together the best women's college basketball teams in the country, all vying for the national championship and the right to showcase their talents on the big stage. For aspiring basketball stars, attending one of the top schools for women's basketball dramatically improves the odds of making it to the WNBA. Additionally, other students who attend these schools get the pleasure of watching and cheering for a top team.

This page looks at the best women's college basketball teams nationwide, highlighting what makes them great. To determine this ranking, we considered many factors, including NCAA championships, Final Four appearances, team wins, winning percentage, and success at the WNBA draft — specifically in the first round. While team history plays a large role, recent success weighs more heavily in the ranking.

Top Women's College Basketball Teams

America's Best Women's College Basketball

  1. University of Connecticut
    Location

    Storrs, Connecticut

    The University of Connecticut has boasted one of the best women's college basketball teams over the last two decades. Though the team won its first national title in 1995, its championship in 2000 kicked off a remarkable 10 titles in 16 seasons. Between 2014 and 2017, the team won 111 consecutive games. The UConn Huskies have also churned out 25 first-round WNBA picks — 10 more than the next-best team.

  2. University of Tennessee - Knoxville
    Location

    Knoxille, Tennessee

    The University of Tennessee, Knoxville stakes its claim as one of the best women's college basketball teams by posting more wins than any other school and an .801 winning percentage. The Volunteers have won eight NCAA championships, including back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. UT Knoxville players have gone on to be selected in the first round of the WNBA draft 15 times, which only ranks behind UConn.

  3. Baylor University
    Location

    Waco, Texas

    Its three national titles, including championships in 2005, 2012, and 2019, put Baylor University squarely in the ranking of the best women's college basketball teams. In addition to 10 conference championships, the school boasts a .661 winning percentage and has reached the Final Four four times. At the WNBA draft, eight Bears have gone on to be selected in the first round — seventh-most among all colleges.

  4. Stanford University
    Location

    Stanford , California

    In addition to winning NCAA championships in 1990 and 1992, Stanford University boasts the fifth-most wins in collegiate basketball, along with a .766 winning percentage. Ranked among the top three women's college basketball teams going into the 2020-21 season, Stanford looks to return to the Final Four for the 14th time in team history — the third most of all time. The school has produced 12 first-round picks in the WNBA draft, which also ranks third-best overall.

  5. University of Notre Dame
    Location

    Notre Dame , Indiana

    Boasting one of the best women's college basketball teams, the University of Notre Dame has a .750 winning percentage and almost 1,000 wins. The school also holds two national titles. From 2011-2019, the school appeared in all but two Final Fours, bringing its overall total to nine appearances. Ten Fighting Irish players have been selected in the first round of the WNBA draft.

  6. University of Maryland, College Park
    Location

    College Park, Maryland

    In 2006, the University of Maryland, College Park won a thrilling game in overtime to capture its first NCAA title in team history. UMD would return to the Final Four two more times, in 2014 and 2015, bringing its total national semifinal appearances to five. The Terrapins also rank among the best women's college basketball teams due to the program's more than 1,000 wins, .701 winning percentage, and development of eight first-round picks.

  7. University of South Carolina
    Location

    Columbia, South Carolina

    Winning the NCAA championship in 2017, the University of South Carolina has secured a spot as one of the best women's college basketball teams in the country. Though March Madness was canceled in 2020, the school was set to enter the tournament as the top seed. UofSC has also produced seven first-round picks in the WNBA draft, ranking in the top 10 among all women's college basketball teams.

  8. Duke University
    Location

    Durham, North Carolina

    Despite never winning an NCAA title, Duke University makes the ranking of the best women's college basketball teams because of the program's consistency through the years. Since 1999, Duke has made the Final Four four times. The Blue Devils made the finals in 1999 and 2006 (which they lost in overtime). This college basketball powerhouse has produced 11 first-round picks, which ranks fourth on the all-time list.

  9. Mississippi State University
    Location

    Starkville, Mississippi

    A relative newcomer to the ranks of the best women's college basketball teams, Mississippi State University has made recent noise on the national stage, making back-to-back NCAA finals in 2017 and 2018 (losing both games). MSU looks to return to the Final Four for the third time in team history in 2020-21, ranking fifth in the nation heading into the season. At the WNBA draft, five Bulldogs have been selected in the first round, including the third pick in 2019.

  10. University of Louisville
    Location

    Louisville, Kentucky

    The University of Louisville earns a spot among the best women's college basketball teams on the basis of three trips to the NCAA Final Four in 2009, 2013, and 2018. The Cardinals finished sixth in the national rankings in the shortened 2019-20 season, maintaining that rank heading into the 2020-21 season. UofL has also performed well at the WNBA draft, watching four players get chosen in the first round, including the first overall selection in 2009.

How Many NCAA Women's College Basketball Teams Are There?

The NCAA features more than 350 women's college basketball teams in Division I, which is the division that plays for the national championship during March Madness. Across all three divisions, there are nearly 1,100 school teams and over 100 conferences, including 32 conferences in Division I.

For entry into the NCAA national tournament, 32 of the 64 teams receive a spot by winning their conference tournament. The remaining 32 teams receive spots via at-large bids — bids that members of the NCAA selection committee vote on based on a team's performance throughout the season. The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament was first played after the 1981-82 regular season.

Do College Basketball Players Get Paid?

Traditionally, women's college basketball players in the NCAA do not receive pay for their play on the court. This ensures that all colleges enjoy an equal opportunity during the player recruitment process. Schools can and do provide scholarship funding and financial support for educational purposes.

The NCAA Board of Governors did, however, support a new ruling that would allow NCAA student-athletes to receive financial benefits from external sources under certain conditions. For example, they can profit off of their name and likeness, but they still cannot receive money directly schools.

What Percentage of Women's College Basketball Players Go to the WNBA?

While some women's college basketball players do go on to play professional basketball in the WNBA, the odds of that happening actually sit lower than any of the other major sports leagues, including the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL.

According to numbers reported by the NCAA, more than 16,500 women play NCAA basketball each year, but only approximately 3,600 are draft eligible. Additionally, during the WNBA draft, only about 31 women get selected from that NCAA pool. That means roughly 0.8% of eligible players get drafted.

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The 2022 women's college basketball championship will be branded March Madness as the NCAA implements reforms to bridge gender equity gaps. March Madness will now feature 68 teams in both men's and women's basketball tournaments. Women's colleges are dedicated to women's academic excellence. Check out the top women's colleges investing in the higher education of women.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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