College Basketball
The 68 faces of March Madness: Players who will define the NCAA Women's Tournament
College Basketball

The 68 faces of March Madness: Players who will define the NCAA Women's Tournament

Updated Mar. 20, 2024 5:03 p.m. ET

The bracket is out, and the matchups are set.

From the LSU Tigers looking to repeat as national champions to South Carolina's quest to complete a perfect campaign, this year's NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament is loaded with storylines.

[2024 Women's March Madness Schedule: Dates, locations, channels, how to watch]

We know the teams involved, but who are the players that could leave their mark on this year's tournament?


In no particular order, here are 68 players to know before the madness gets underway!

Caitlin Clark, G, Iowa

In her final year playing for the Hawkeyes, Clark smashed records and became the new Division I all-time leading scorer. Before she becomes the No. 1 overall WNBA draft pick, she hopes to lead No. 1-seeded Iowa to its first national championship.

How Caitlin Clark has changed college basketball and is 'not done'

JuJu Watkins, G, USC

The freshman phenom was the nation's second-best scorer this season behind Clark and put up 51 points in an upset win over Stanford. Her efforts helped the Trojans win its first Pac 12 title since 2014, and the program's first NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed since 1986, which was Cheryl Miller's senior year.

Paige Bueckers, G, UConn

After missing last season due to an ACL injury, Bueckers is back in the NCAA Tournament and ready to lead the Huskies to their first national championship since … wait for it … 2016.

[Paige Bueckers and Geno Auriemma both announce they will spend at least one more year at UConn]

Kamilla Cardoso, C, South Carolina

The Gamecocks reloaded after losing five starters from last year's team, which included Aliyah Boston who was taken No. 1 overall in the WNBA Draft. But Dawn Staley wasn't worried. Led by Cardoso, one of the best centers in the nation, South Carolina went 32-0, earned the No. 1 overall seed and is the favorite to win its second title in three years.

Cameron Brink, F, Stanford

The 6-foot-4 Brink averaged 17.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game this year for the Cardinal on her way to being named the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The electric Stanford star is expected to be the No. 2 pick in April's WNBA Draft.

Hannah Hidalgo, G, Notre Dame

The Fighting Irish freshman stepped up in a major way with Olivia Miles still recovering from a knee injury she sustained toward the end of last season. Hidalgo, one of the sport's brightest young stars, became one of the best and most consistent scorers in the country, averaging 23.2 ppg while also adding 6.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 4.6 steals per game. 

Angel Reese, F, LSU

Reese averaged 19.0 points and 13.1 rebounds per game this season as she led the Tigers to the SEC Tournament title game. South Carolina beat LSU in a dramatic showdown, but Reese and her team are motivated to win their second straight national championship as a No. 3 seed.

[2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament predictions: LSU vs. Iowa rematch?]

Madison Booker, F, Texas

Another freshman to keep an eye on. Booker, who wears Kevin Durant's No. 35 at Texas, has averaged 16.9 points, 4.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game for the Longhorns. She was the Big 12 co-player of the year, the conference tournament MVP, and has what it takes to lead No. 1 seed Texas to the Final Four.

Aaliyah Edwards, F, UConn

The UConn star broke her nose in the Big East Tournament, but that won't keep her off the court as the NCAA Tournament begins. Edwards, who averaged 17.8 points and 9.3 rebounds this season, is a veteran who has experience making NCAA Tournament runs. She was part of the UConn teams that went to the Final Four in 2021 and played for a national championship in 2022. 

Elizabeth Kitley, C, Virginia Tech

Kitley, who helped lead the Hokies to the Final Four a year ago, is one of the big mysteries in this NCAA Tournament. The three-time ACC Player of the Year injured her knee in Virginia Tech's last regular-season game, and her status is still in question. If this team is going to make a run though, it will need their star, who is averaging 22.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game.

Georgia Amoore, G, Virginia Tech

The other big star for the Hokies. Amoore, who has averaged 9.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, has gotten even better since last year. The Australian guard will need a lot of help from her teammates if Kitley can't play.

Jacy Sheldon, G, Ohio State

A fifth-year senior and future first-round draft pick who is part of one of the best backcourts in the country, and is also averaging 18.0 ppg.

Lauren Betts, C, UCLA

The 6-foot transfer from Stanford is a major reason why the Bruins are in the Final Four conversation.

Alissa Pili, F, Utah

The senior forward scored 37 points in a close loss to South Carolina earlier this year, and has been averaging 20.8 ppg for the Utes.

[2024 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament: Predictions, upsets, top matchups]

Rickea Jackson, F, Tennessee

The Vols are a different team with a healthy Jackson on the court. Likely a lottery pick in next month's draft, Jackson changes the game and makes Tennessee a sneaky matchup in the tourney. 

Aneesah Morrow, G, LSU

The DePaul transfer was a welcome addition to an already talented Tigers roster. This season, Morrow teamed up with Angel Reese to make LSU one of the most dominant rebounding teams in the country.

Mackenzie Holmes, F, Indiana

The Hoosiers got a little scare at the end of the regular season when Holmes, Indiana's top scorer, went down with a knee injury. Thankfully, she'll be ready to play in the NCAA tourney.

Dyaisha Fair, G, Syracuse

The fifth-year senior is currently fifth on the Division I all-time scoring list with 3,351 career points. 

Te-Hina Paopao, G, South Carolina

The Oregon transfer is the Gamecocks' best 3-point shooter, shooting 47.1% from beyond the arc (which is third-best nationally).

Kate Martin, G, Iowa

The heart and soul of this exciting Hawkeyes team. Clark is always trying her hardest to share the spotlight with her teammates, especially Martin, who is Iowa's captain and Clark's best friend.

Hannah Stuelke, F, Iowa

The sophomore standout is second on the team behind Clark in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg). Clark joked on the night she broke Kelsey Plum's scoring record that Stuelke would probably break her record some day.

'I'm just proud of her' – Iowa's Caitlin Clark on Hannah Stuelke's 47-point game against Penn State

Cotie McMahon, F, Ohio State

McMahon has been averaging 14.1 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game this year as a sophomore. Earlier this season, she scored 33 points and added 12 rebounds in an overtime win vs. Iowa.

Kiki Rice, G, UCLA

Rice, who has been averaging 12.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg her sophomore year, became Jordan Brand's first NIL athlete in 2022 and recently became the first NIL athlete to get her own shoe.

Flau'jae Johnson, G, LSU

One of the returning Tigers from last year's national championship team, Johnson is averaging 14.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. 

Kiki Iriafen, F, Stanford

Joining Brink as the Cardinal's other elite post player is Iriafen, who is averaging 18.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game this season.

Ayoka Lee, C, Kansas State

The 6-foot-6 senior has battled through various injuries and is a physical difference-maker for the Wildcats inside.

Ta'Niya Latson, G, Florida State

Latson missed last year's tournament due to injury and the Seminoles lost in the first round. Now that the sophomore guard is healthy, and averaging 21.3 ppg, keep an eye on FSU pulling an upset or two.

Raegan Beers, F, Oregon State

Just a sophomore, the 6-foot-4 Beers is shooting 66% from the field, second-best in the nation behind Indiana's Mackenzie Holmes.

Gabbie Marshall, G, Iowa

A program record that doesn't belong to Caitlin Clark: Marshall is the first Iowa women's basketball player to record 200 3-pointers and 200 steals in a career.

Iowa's Gabbie Marshall sinks an and-1 3-pointer against Ohio State

Charisma Osborne, G, UCLA

The fifth-year future first-round WNBA Draft pick is averaging 15.0 points and 4.2 assists for the Bruins.

Shay Holle, G, Texas

A 3-point shooting threat that head coach Vic Schaefer calls the "glue" for this Texas team.

Hailey Van Lith, G, LSU

One of the most high-profile transfers in the offseason, Van Lith might just end up facing her former team, Louisville, in the second round of the tourney.

MiLaysia Fulwiley, G, South Carolina

Earned the SEC Tournament's Most Outstanding Player as a freshman – the first to do it since Candace Parker.

Audi Crooks, C, Iowa State

The Cyclones have to be excited that Crooks, who is only a freshman, is the brightest star of the program, averaging 18.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game this year.

[2024 NCAA Women's Tournament: Fabulous freshmen set to dazzle on big stage]

Jaz Shelley, G, Nebraska

Shelley was a major reason why the Cornhuskers beat Iowa on Feb. 11 and nearly got them again in the Big Ten championship game. The guard from Australia is a leader on this team off the court, and on it, where she's been scoring 13.7 ppg.

'This is unreal' – Jaz Shelley explains how special upsetting Iowa is in front of a sold-out crowd


Makayla Timpson, F, Florida State

Timpson has 17 double-doubles this season (for reference, Caitlin Clark has 21) and is averaging 14.1 points and 10.0 rebounds per game for the Seminoles.

Mikaylah Williams, G, LSU

Another top freshman to watch out for. Williams is the third-leading scorer for LSU, averaging 14.4 ppg.

Serena Sundell, G, Kansas State

The junior is a talented guard who is second on the team in scoring (12.0 ppg) and leads the Wildcats in assists (5.4 apg).

Emily Ryan, G, Iowa State

The senior point guard missed the beginning of the season with an injury, but since returning in early December, has led the Cyclones with 6.7 assists and also averages 10.2 points per game.

Alexis Markowski, C, Nebraska

The Nebraska center, who is averaging 15.9 ppg and 10.8 rpg, made life difficult for Caitlin Clark and Iowa a few times this season.

Maddy Westbeld, F, Notre Dame

Notre Dame is playing its best basketball right now and will need a veteran like Westbeld, who averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds during the ACC Tournament, to stay in a rhythm.

Ashlyn Watkins, F, South Carolina

While the sophomore doesn't actively look for dunking opportunities during games, she did win the dunk contest at the McDonald's All-American competition before coming to South Carolina. She had one earlier this season against Kentucky … and if we're lucky, she'll have another during the NCAA Tournament.

Sydney Affolter, G, Iowa

The Hawkeyes haven't missed a beat since Affolter moved into the starting lineup to replace an injured Molly Davis. The junior guard posted her second double-double of the season in the Big Ten championship game with 11 points and 11 rebounds – plus a steal and a block – in an overtime victory vs. Nebraska.

Kaitlyn Chen, G, Princeton

Chen, who was the 2023 Ivy League Player of the Year, is one of the league's top players and is averaging 15.8 points and 5.0 assists this season. She'll face her greatest test if the Tigers end up getting to face Caitlin Clark and Iowa in the second round.  

Ice Brady, F, UConn

The freshman forward is coming off the strongest game of her career thus far, where she had 13 points, eight rebounds, two steals and two blocks in UConn's Big East Tournament championship game win over Georgetown.  

Addy Brown, F, Iowa State

Brown, who is averaging 13.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, is the other part of the Cyclones' exciting freshmen tandem (with Crooks being the other half).

Celeste Taylor, G, Ohio State

Taylor previously played at Texas and Duke before transferring to Ohio State, where she's been a valuable addition and does it all for the Buckeyes. Taylor leads the team in steals (2.3 spg), is second is assists (3.4 apg), third in rebounding (4.1 rpg) and fourth in scoring (10.2 ppg).

Yvonne Ejim, F, Gonzaga

Ejim, who was recently named to Canada's senior national team ahead of this summer's Paris Olympics, is averaging 19.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg and 1.5 spg. She was also named WCC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Raven Johnson, G, South Carolina

After losing to Iowa in the Final Four last year, it was Raven Johnson who declared this to be South Carolina's "revenge season." Johnson has played a role in helping the Gamecocks to a perfect regular season record and the No. 1 overall seed as a player who can do everything – she averages 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.0 steals per game. 

Rayah Marshall, F, USC

Marshall leads the Trojans in rebounding (10.5 rpg) and is the team's third-best shooter (10.2 ppg).

Sonia Citron, G, Notre Dame

The junior is Notre Dame's best rebounding guard (6.6 per game) and the team's second-leading scorer behind Hidalgo (16.6).

Bree Hall, G, South Carolina

After backing up Brea Beal in her first two years at South Carolina, Hall has come into her own this season and is a regular starter for the undefeated Gamecocks. The junior guard can get to the basket and is dangerous with the ball in her hands.

Shaylee Gonzales, G, Texas

Gonzalez, one of the Longhorns' best 3-point shooters, enters the NCAA Tournament fresh off a Big 12 title game in which she made three 3s and scored 11 points in the win.

Chloe Kitts, F, South Carolina

A year ago, Kitts struggled to break into a loaded starting lineup. Now as a sophomore, she has vastly improved and is averaging 9.2 points and 6.0 rebounds for the favored Gamecocks.

Aziaha James, G, NC State

The junior guard is the Wolfpack's stop scorer, averaging 15.8 ppg. 

McKenzie Forbes, G, USC

The transfer from Harvard scored a game-high 26 points for USC in the Pac 12 tournament championship game win over Stanford.

Jaylyn Sherrod, G, Colorado

Sherrod may only be 5-7, but when she's amped up and in the zone, the senior is the Buffaloes' spark. They'll need her on her game with a tough draw – Colorado could face Kansas State in the second round.

Taylor Jones, F, Texas

With her 12.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, the 6-4 Jones powers the Longhorns' inside game.

Skylar Vann, F, Oklahoma

The senior was named co-Big 12 Player of the Year (alongside Texas' Madison Booker) and is averaging 14.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg.  

Alyssa Latham, F, Syracuse

Leads the Orange in rebounds (7.1 per game) and was named to the All-ACC freshman team.

Sarah Ashlee Barker, G, Alabama

The senior guard was first-team All-SEC and is averaging 17.2 ppg for the Crimson Tide.

S'Mya Nichols, G, Kansas

Another freshman making an impact, leading Kansas in scoring (15.2 ppg), assists (2.7) and steals (1.4) this season.

Ellie Mitchell, F, Princeton

A three-time Ivy League Defensive player of the Year (including this season) who led the league with 10.0 rpg.

Deja Kelly, G, North Carolina

The Tar Heels leading scorer, averaging 16.7 ppg. UNC will need the senior guard and first-team All-ACC selection on top of her game to make it to the second round, where it would likely match up with South Carolina.

Mackenzie Hare, G, Marquette

The sophomore guard is one of the top 3-point shooters in the country (43.2%). 

Shyanne Sellers, G, Maryland

The Terrapins' leader in points (15.5 ppg) and assists (5.5 apg).  

Aicha Coulibaly, G, Texas A&M

Even though the Aggies didn't beat the Gamecocks in the SEC Tournament, Coulibaly scored 32 points in a close game. 

Desi-Rae Young, C, UNLV

Young, who is averaging 18.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, is a two-time MWC Player of the Year.

Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her at @LakenLitman.


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