On Tuesday morning, the Associated Press’ preseason women’s basketball Top 25 was released. The Michigan Wolverines, after one of their most successful seasons in history, occupies the 11th spot in the rankings.
Not only is this the third straight year the Wolverines have been ranked in the preseason poll, but it’s tied for their highest ranking ever. Michigan rose to No. 11 last January after a 10-0 start to the season.
The Wolverines had an inconsistent finish to the regular season after that strong start, missing weeks due to COVID-19 protocols, but picked things up and scored an upset win over No. 3 seed Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They then took powerhouse Baylor to overtime in the Sweet Sixteen, finishing the season with a 16-6 record and No. 16 national ranking.
Other Big Ten teams included in Tuesday’s poll include last season’s regular season and conference tournament champion Maryland (No. 4), Indiana (8), Iowa (9) and Ohio State (T-17), while Michigan State received votes.
South Carolina garnered the top spot in the poll, including 14 first-place votes. The Gamecocks were ahead of No. 2 UConn (10 first-place votes) and No. 3 Stanford (5), the defending national champion.
Expectations are high for Michigan this season with the return of forward Naz Hillmon, last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year and a first-team All-American who averaged 24.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21. The Wolverines also bring back wing Leigha Brown (18.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and three-year starting point guard Amy Dilk (7.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.9 apg).