How the top transfers will impact women's college basketball

LSU faces many challenges in quest to go back-to-back (2:17)

On "The Paul Finebaum Show," Carolyn Peck explains why the talented Gamecocks and a gritty Tennessee will be stiff competition for the reigning national champs. (2:17)

The 2023-24 women's college basketball season is six weeks away, and everyone from the transfer portal is officially enrolled in their new schools. So it's time to look at what all the player movement means with a final ranking of the top transfers.

LSU doubled down on its national championship by winning the offseason too: The Tigers bring the top two transfers -- Hailey Van Lith and Aneesah Morrow -- to Baton Rouge. Coaches around the country have embraced the transfer portal as their primary recruiting tool, but no one else has done so with as much success and as quickly as Kim Mulkey. She won last season's title with nine new players, three of whom were transfers who instantly became starters. The term "superteam" gets thrown around a little too easily these days, but with Van Lith and Morrow joining Angel Reese, the Tigers will have three All-American-type players on the floor together this season.

While LSU garnered most of the portal headlines, much of its competition in the SEC changed significantly because of transfers as well. The conference will look very different in 2023-24. Thirteen of the 35 players on this list landed at SEC schools. Texas A&M and Mississippi State completely reshaped their rosters in the portal and seem primed to make a major jump in the standings. Tennessee added an entirely new backcourt, one that could score enough for the Lady Vols to compete for the conference title. Ole Miss, already a program on the rise, brought in three starters from other programs.

Much of April's analysis focused on the impact of the players' decision to transfer. Now we look more closely at how they might change their new team, and the rankings reflect that. Potential impact was as much a consideration as pure talent, and this list has plenty of both.

1. Hailey Van Lith, 5-foot-7, G, graduate student

Louisville to LSU
No transfer's performance will be more analyzed and scrutinized than Van Lith's. But no transfer has as much potential to make as big an impact as Van Lith. LSU needs a replacement for Alexis Morris, a transfer who ended up being indispensable for the Tigers. Van Lith carries herself much the same way and can provide the edge, grit and big-moment excellence Morris did.

With Reese, Morrow and Flau'jae Johnson around her, Van Lith shouldn't have to be the volume shooter she became at Louisville. Despite lifting her scoring average to 19.7 PPG last season, she shot just 41.1% from the field and had 50 more field goal attempts than the next-highest total in the ACC last year. Expect her career-best 3.2 assists per game to rise. Mulkey will also like Van Lith's durability. She missed just one game in three years with the Cardinals and played nearly 37 MPG last season.

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2. Aneesah Morrow, 6-foot-1, F, junior

DePaul to LSU
It's hard to imagine LSU's opponents getting many rebounds with Morrow joining Reese in the frontcourt. Morrow ranked sixth in the country last season (12.2 RPG), and Reese (15.4 RPG) was second. That's after Morrow topped the nation with 13.8 boards as a freshman. Morrow's video game numbers continue: She averaged 23.8 PPG last season. Morrow has fallen short of a double-double only 13 times in 66 career games.

She did spend more time away from the basket as a sophomore, and her shooting dipped to 42.5%. With Reese and sophomore Sa'Myah Smith patrolling the lane for the Tigers, Morrow might be asked to step to the perimeter more this season, too.

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3. Lauren Betts, 6-foot-7, C, sophomore

Stanford to UCLA
The balance of power in the Pac-12 shifted greatly when Betts, the No. 1 recruit in the country two years ago, left Stanford for UCLA, helping to make the Bruins this season's front-runners. That means the Cardinal aren't the preseason favorite to win the conference for the first time since 2018-19. Betts' lack of playing time last season -- 9.6 minutes per game -- was surprising. That shouldn't be a problem at UCLA, especially after a promising summer in which Betts averaged a double-double helping Team USA to a silver medal at the FIBA AmeriCup in Mexico.

4. Jewel Spear, 5-foot-10, G, junior

Wake Forest to Tennessee
As the last of the top transfers to make her plans known, Spear tilted these rankings and possibly the outlook for the SEC race more than any other player. Her scoring mentality and the fact she spent two years as the Demon Deacons' No. 1 option will be welcomed in Knoxville. The Lady Vols needed another top offensive player, especially in the backcourt, to supplement Rickea Jackson, and Spear is that player. She averaged 17.4 points and made nearly three 3-pointers per game in the past two seasons, and she too played on Team USA's AmeriCup squad this summer.

5. Celeste Taylor, 5-foot-11, G, graduate student

Duke to Ohio State
Taylor's arrival makes the Buckeyes' already devastating full-court press even better. She was the leader of a Duke defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the country last season. Taylor's 2.2 steals per game ranked fourth in the ACC, and she'll now be paired in a backcourt with Jacy Sheldon, who averaged 3.5 SPG in the 13 games she played. Taylor, who played two seasons at Texas before the past two with the Blue Devils, also put up 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

6. Lexi Donarski, 6-foot-0, G, graduate student

Iowa State to North Carolina
A Cyclones mainstay is moving east after 95 starts, 13.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, plus a 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Tar Heels coach Courtney Banghart will lean heavily on that level of experience, and her backcourt, with Donarski joining Deja Kelly, has started 182 combined college games. Donarski's 12.1 PPG last season was a career low, but if she recaptures the 41.1% 3-point shooting she had as a freshman, it will go a long way toward UNC replacing the production of graduate Eva Hodgson (41.7% on 3-point shooting).

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7. Endyia Rogers, 5-foot-7, G, graduate student

Oregon to Texas A&M
After a season in which the Aggies were young and scored just 53.7 points per game against SEC competition, coach Joni Taylor needed to add experience and offensive punch to put next to sophomore Janiah Barker and her sizable potential. Rogers checks both boxes. Twice a first-team All-Pac-12 performer at Oregon -- which followed two productive seasons at USC -- Rogers arrives in College Station to spark immediate improvement after a 9-20 season, and bridge the gap to the next phase of Taylor's rebuild. Rogers has never averaged less than 13.1 PPG and was a 38.7% 3-point shooter a year ago.

8. Diamond Johnson, 5-foot-5, G, junior

NC State to Norfolk State
The Spartans have already won the past two MEAC championships, and now they have added a former Big Ten All-Freshman team selection and ACC Sixth Player of the Year award winner. After one season at Rutgers and two at NC State, Johnson made the decision to finish her career at Norfolk State and should be the overwhelming favorite to win the MEAC Player of the Year. As the Wolfpack's full-time starter at point guard last year, Johnson averaged 12.3 points and 3.5 assists and was named All-ACC second team.

9. Jayda Curry, 5-foot-6, G, sophomore

California to Louisville
It might have been fun to see Curry and Van Lith, two small, high-scoring guards, play together, but instead Curry becomes Van Lith's replacement. If the Cardinals are to reach a sixth consecutive Elite Eight, she will have to produce, which is exactly what Curry did in two seasons at Cal. She was Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and led the league in scoring at 18.6 points per game in 2021-22, and ranked sixth in the Pac-12 at 15.5 points per game last season. Her assists numbers took a jump to 3.5 per game, and now she will have fellow transfers Nina Rickards (Florida) and Kiki Jefferson (James Madison), plus program mainstay Olivia Cochran to pass to.

10. Kennedy Fauntleroy, 5-foot-7, G, sophomore

Georgetown to Oklahoma State
The Cowgirls' prospects for this season changed significantly when Fauntleroy decided to make Stillwater her landing spot for the next three years. Leading scorer Naomi Alnatas used up her eligibility and top rebounder Taylen Collins transferred to Auburn, leaving a huge gap in production. Fauntleroy can fill plenty of holes. Her 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.4 steals per game and 37.5% shooting from 3-point range made Fauntleroy the unanimous Big East Freshman of the Year. She was just the 75th-rated prospect coming out of high school, but Fauntleroy has the potential to be one of the Big 12's best players in the coming years.

11. Te-Hina Paopao, 5-foot-9, G, senior

Oregon to South Carolina
The Gamecocks said goodbye to their entire starting lineup, making Paopao's decision to leave Eugene for Columbia so important. She will step in alongside Raven Johnson to form a talented backcourt. A first-team All-Pac-12 selection in her first two college seasons, Paopao wasn't as consistent last year, but did settle in toward the end of the season, averaging 19.7 PPG in Oregon's final nine games. Paopao is at her best with the ball in her hands, but her skill package, which included 42.4% 3-point shooting last season, allows her to take on any role.

12. Kennedy Todd-Williams, 6-foot-0, G, junior

North Carolina to Ole Miss
An already athletic Rebels team picked up another versatile two-way player with the addition of Todd-Williams. She joins returners Snudda Collins, Marquesha Davis and Madison Scott to form a group of interchangeable wings that coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin can use to defend aggressively and play fast. Todd-Williams leaves North Carolina after what was easily her best season after averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

13. Kiki Jefferson, 6-foot-1, G, graduate student

James Madison to Louisville
Jeff Walz has now remade his roster via the transfer portal for three straight seasons. The previous two resulted in trips to the Final Four and the Elite Eight. If the Cardinals are to continue that kind of success, Jefferson is a key. She showed last year that her dominance at James Madison could extend to a higher level of competition with a 17-point game against Ohio State in the NCAA tournament and 30 points in an early-season loss to North Carolina. The Sun Belt Player of the Year averaged 18.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists.

13. Shayeann Day-Wilson, 5-foot-6, G, junior

Duke to Miami
The Hurricanes seem like the perfect landing spot at exactly the right time for Day-Wilson. The departures of Haley Cavinder and Destiny Harden created an opportunity in coach Katie Meier's backcourt, and after an ACC Freshman of the Year season in 2021-22, Day-Wilson saw her numbers drop across the board last season in Durham. Miami will need the 12.7 PPG and 3.7 APG production that Day-Wilson, who has two years of eligibility remaining, tallied in her rookie year.

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14. Lauren Park-Lane, 5-foot-3, G, graduate student

Seton Hall to Mississippi State
Sam Purcell used the portal to restock his backcourt, one that could be high-octane. Starting every game she played in four seasons with the Pirates, Park-Lane earned three first-team All-Big East honors. Her 20.8 points and 6.3 assists per game were both third-best in the Big East. Just a career 31.4% 3-point shooter, Park-Lane thrives in the lane and can finish over taller opponents.

15. Destinee Wells, 5-foot-6, G, junior

Belmont to Tennessee
One of the best mid-major players in the country for the past three years, Wells is now ready to test herself in the SEC. But don't expect the career-high 19.5 points per game Wells scored last season. Her job in Knoxville will be more about getting the ball to Rickea Jackson, Tamari Key and Spear. Wells has been an outstanding distributor throughout her career, averaging 4.5 assists per game, a number that could climb higher with the talent around her. The Lady Vols, eighth in the SEC in 3-point shooting, will also welcome Wells' 45.5% shooting from behind the arc in 2022-23.

16. KK Deans, 5-foot-8, G, graduate student

Florida to Ole Miss
Plenty went right for the Rebels in their Sweet 16 run a year ago, but they still had a shooting problem. Deans might solve it. She led the Gators in scoring last season at 14.1 PPG and was the third most prolific 3-point shooter in the SEC. Her 38.3% accuracy from deep was better than anyone on the Rebels, who were only 29.7% from behind the arc as a team a year ago. Deans played her first three years at West Virginia and was twice named honorable mention All-Big 12.

17. Erynn Barnum, 6-foot-2, G, graduate student

Arkansas to Mississippi State
It took four years, but Barnum blossomed last season with the Razorbacks, improving her scoring average from 7.6 to a team-leading 15.0. She was also Arkansas's second-leading rebounder (6.5 RPG) and earned second-team All-SEC. Barnum does most of her work in the paint, making 59.1% of her 2-point attempts. She should take some of the inside scoring burden off 6-5 Jessika Carter.

18. Jakia Brown-Turner, 6-foot-0, F, senior

NC State to Maryland
A four-year starter at NC State, Brown-Turner decided to return home. As a steady, dependable contributor, the 2019 Maryland Gatorade Player of the year was a vital part of the Wolfpack's recent success. Brown-Turner will now look to follow in the footsteps of recent Maryland transfer success stories like Abby Meyers, Chloe Bibby, Katie Benzan and current teammates Brinae Alexander and Lavender Briggs. She holds career averages of 10.4 PPG and 4.3 RPG, but is coming off the lowest scoring (9.1 PPG) and worst shooting season (41.0% from the field) of her career.

19. Maria Gakdeng, 6-foot-3, F, sophomore

Boston College to North Carolina
Gakdeng was one of the league's best interior defenders immediately upon her arrival in the ACC. Now she will just be protecting the rim in Chapel Hill instead of Chestnut Hill. The Tar Heels were already the fourth-stingiest defense in the conference. Now with Donarski and Gakdeng, they should be even tougher to score against. Gakdeng's 1.8 blocks per game ranked third in the ACC, and her 11.3 points per game were second on the Eagles.

20. Jada Walker, 5-foot-7, G, junior

Kentucky to Baylor
Nicki Collen loaded up on transfer guards to play alongside All-Big 12 first-teamer Sara Andrews, and Walker is the best of the bunch. Her game grew as last season progressed, and she was Kentucky's best player by the time the SEC tournament arrived. Walker ranked second on the team at 12.6 points per game and also averaged 3.1 assists and 2.6 steals. Walker is joined by Madison Bartley (Belmont), Denae Fritz (Iowa State) and Yaya Felder (Ohio) from the portal, giving the Bears a deep and experienced backcourt.

21. Darrione Rogers, 5-foot-11, G, senior

DePaul to Mississippi State
After making huge gains in her junior season at DePaul, Rogers is off to Starkville to join fellow Big East transfer Park-Lane and senior returner JerKaila Jordan (11.9 PPG) in what could be the highest scoring backcourt in the SEC. Rogers went from 9.9 PPG as a sophomore to 16.8 a year ago. She's also a playmaker like Park-Lane. Rogers finished third in the Big East with 5.1 assists per game. Park-Lane was second.

22. Rose Micheaux, 6-foot-2, F, junior

Minnesota to Virginia Tech
After making a huge jump in her second year in Minnesota, Micheaux decided to leave the Gopher program soon after Lindsay Whalen resigned as coach. The Hokies could be the big beneficiaries of an ascending career. Micheaux went from averages of 4.7 points and 4.1 rebounds to 13.8 and 7.9, and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten. She should step into the power forward role that was held by Taylor Soule a year ago.

23. Aicha Coulibaly, 6-foot-0, G, senior

Auburn to Texas A&M
Auburn lost six players to the portal, none more valuable than Coulibaly, who led the Tigers in scoring (16.0 PPG) and rebounding (6.5 RPG). Now she takes that production across the SEC to the quickly rebuilt Aggies. But she really might help Texas A&M on defense. Her 2.2 steals per game was good for fifth in the SEC. The Aggies ranked last in the league in takeaways last season.

24. Kayla Padilla, 5-foot-9, G, graduate student

Penn to USC
A former guard at Brown, Lindsay Gottlieb tapped into her Ivy League roots and lured three players to L.A. via the portal: Padilla, Kaitlyn Davis (Columbia) and McKenzie Forbes (Harvard). Padilla moves west with the best résumé of the three. First-team All-Ivy in all three of her seasons at Penn, Padilla averaged 18.0 points per game and shot 38.2% from 3-point range in her career.

25. Sali Kourouma, 5-foot-11, F, graduate student

Little Rock to Arizona
A native of Mali of West Africa, Kourouma began her career at junior college Grayson College in Texas before moving to Little Rock. Injuries slowed Kourouma in both her seasons as a Trojan, but when she was on the floor, she was one of the best mid-major players in the country. She averaged 17.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 41 games with Little Rock and helped lead the Trojans to the OVC regular-season championship last year.

26. Matilda Ekh, 6-foot-0, G, junior

Michigan State to Virginia Tech
The graduation of Kayana Traylor doesn't sting quite as much with the arrival of Ekh. A 38.9% 3-point shooter in her two years at Michigan State, Ekh could be even better playing alongside Georgia Amoore. Ekh started all but two games as a Spartan and was extremely consistent, averaging 11.8 points per game each season.

27. Frannie Hottinger, 6-foot-1, F, graduate student

Lehigh to Marquette
Megan Duffy's first piece of offseason good news came when point guard and leading scorer Jordan King elected to use her fifth year to come back to Milwaukee. The next came when Hottinger chose to leave the Mountain Hawks for the Golden Eagles. The pair gives Duffy the most experienced backcourt in the Big East. If not for UConn's Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd, it would also be the best.

28. Kaitlyn Davis, 6-foot-1, F, graduate student

Columbia to USC
Davis, along with Abbey Hsu, led the Lions to the two best seasons in program history, and now she's off to test herself in the Pac-12. Davis averaged 13.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the WNIT runner-up. Davis, one of five graduate students on the Trojans roster, should not only produce as an inside scorer, but might also serve as a mentor to potential future superstar JuJu Watkins.

29. Beyonce Bea, 6-foot-1, F, graduate student

Idaho to Washington State
The Cougars needed another scorer to pair with Charlisse Leger-Walker and they get one in Bea in what could be one of the most underrated transfer acquisitions of the spring. In four years at Idaho Bea never failed to average double figures, peaking with a 23.1 points per game last season, good for sixth in the country. Bea was also one of the best rebounders in the Big Sky, averaging over 8.5 boards in her final two years as a Vandal.

30. Maddie Nolan, 5-foot-11, G, senior

Michigan to Colorado
Already with her entire veteran core returning, Buffs' coach JR Payne was able to lure Nolan to Boulder for her fifth season. While her 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 40.5% in 2022 to 34.2% last season, Nolan still gives Colorado a consistent deep shooting threat to pair with Frida Forman (39.3% 3-point shooting) to spread the floor and open room for ultra-quick point guard Jaylyn Sherrod to penetrate, and for 6-3 Quay Miller to operate in the post.

31. Sedona Prince, 6-foot-7, C, graduate student

Oregon to TCU
An injury-plagued career looked to be over nearly a year ago when Prince said a torn ligament in her elbow suffered in the preseason would end her time in college. But by the time last season ended and former Oregon assistant Mark Campbell landed the head coaching job at TCU, Prince was off to Fort Worth. Campbell has remade the Horned Frogs' roster through the transfer portal, and Prince, who averaged 9.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 201-22, should be a focal point.

32. Taina Mair, 5-foot-9, G, sophomore

Boston College to Duke
Getting Mair was a big acquisition for coach Kara Lawson after losing Taylor and Day-Wilson. Expect Mair to play big minutes (she averaged 36.6 MPG as a freshman at BC) as the Blue Devils' lead guard. She proved she could score in the ACC (11.1 PPG) and was eighth in the country with 6.6 assists per game. If Duke is to overcome major personnel losses, Mair and 6-5 Yale transfer Camilla Emsbo will have to have big seasons.

33. Paris Clark, 5-foot-8, G, sophomore

Arizona to Virginia
The Wildcats just weren't the right fit for Clark. Cavaliers' coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton hopes Virginia will be. Clark was a top-25 recruit out of the Bronx but played in just 24 games and averaged 3.8 points in Tucson last season. Last year transfers Camryn Taylor, Mir McLean and Sam Brunelle were Virginia's leading scorers as the Cavs improved from five to 15 wins in Coach Mox's first year. Clark is the cornerstone of the next phase of the rebuild.

34. Lauren Ware, 6-foot-5, C, sophomore

Arizona to Texas A&M
With the scoring Joni Taylor added in Rogers and Coulibaly and the upside potential of Kyndall Hunter (Texas) her deep dive into the portal was complete with the 6-5 Ware. Coming off a season lost to a knee injury Ware may take some time to round into form, but she did average 1.1 blocks in 52 appearances with the Wildcats and could be the ideal rim protection for an Aggies team that should be much improved.

35. Anna DeWolfe, 5-foot-8, G, graduate student

Fordham to Notre Dame
Predicting how a player will perform against upgraded competition is difficult, but shooting typically translates across all levels. And DeWolfe can shoot. She made 35.3% of her 3-point attempts last season and averaged 18.7 PPG in her final three seasons as a Ram. DeWolfe fills a void for the Irish -- who shot just 30.7% from 3-point range a year ago -- that they never filled once Dara Mabrey was lost midseason to a leg injury.

Also considered: Camille Hobby, NC State to Illinois; Teisha Hyman, Syracuse to Rhode Island; Jaden Owens, Baylor to TCU; Sydney Johnson, Boston University to Georgia Tech; Taylen Collins, Oklahoma State to Auburn; Madison Bartley, Belmont to Baylor; Camilla Emsbo, Yale to Duke; Payton Verhulst, Louisville to Oklahoma