Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

SEC in NCAA Tournament overview: how Texas women’s basketball’s future conference opponents held up

Madison Morris
Guard Rori Harmon plays against Baylor University on Feb. 6, 2022.

The 2024 NCAA women’s basketball season came to an end on Sunday as South Carolina was crowned national champion. Texas wrapped up its season in the Elite Eight versus NC State, but the season was nothing short of a worthy goodbye to the Big 12 Conference as the Longhorns went 14–4 and secured the tournament championship.

Oklahoma, the regular season champions and the only team to defeat Texas twice in the 2023-24 season, will be moving to the Southeastern Conference with Texas to face some of the toughest teams in the country in their new conference season. The Sooners fell to Indiana, from the SEC, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“With (Texas’) size, we struggled,” Alabama senior guard Aaliyah Nye said after the second round defeat. “They are similar to LSU and South Carolina that we have in the SEC.”

While Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Missouri did not make the tournament and Auburn lost in the First Four, the SEC has now won two straight national championships with undefeated South Carolina — just a year after LSU’s championship.

South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley left a mark on the game with three national championship titles. Though South Carolina is losing a key player, Most Outstanding Player senior center Kamilla Cardoso, its season run showed that won’t stop the team from fighting. The Gamecocks went into the season without their five starters from 2022-2023 but stood in the AP Poll No. 1 spot every week. 

Staley’s team will have the likes of guards Raven Johnson and Te-Hina Paopao returning to the roster, as well as several other standout players.

Additionally, schools like Ole Miss, Tennessee and Alabama all joined the Sooners in leaving in the second round, with the Crimson Tide being knocked out by Texas. Vanderbilt and Texas A&M fell in the first round of the tournament.

Another team to leave a mark in the tournament was Kim Mulkey’s LSU. Last year’s national champions fell to Iowa in the Elite Eight, exiting the tournament in the same round as Texas. Mulkey coached Big 12 team Baylor for 21 years prior to her tenure in Baton Rouge. 

Like South Carolina, LSU is losing junior forward Angel Reese, a key player who recently announced her declaration to the 2024 WNBA Draft, as well as senior guard Hailey Van Lith, who was part of the Louisville team that beat Texas in the second round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament and has now reentered the transfer portal after a year with the Tigers.

Sophomore guard Flau’jae Johnson and All-American Honorable Mention junior guard Aneesah Morrow will return for another season and should be two of the biggest names to make an appearance at the Moody Center for conference play.

With two top-10 ranked signees and a healthy Rori Harmon returning to the team, ESPN has Texas in second place in their Way-Too-Early season rankings behind South Carolina, with LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama also in the predicted top 25.

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