Big things are still to be decided in women's college-basketball recruiting for the 2011 class. Three top 10 players still are undecided and their decisions will impact the final class rankings, but with the theme of all things Big -- as in Big East, Big Ten and Big 12 -- we look at what's happening in three of the BCS conferences with less than a month to the early signing period.
Schools: Cincinnati, Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Louisville, Marquette, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Providence, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Florida, St. John's, Syracuse, Villanova, West Virginia click here to search all recruiting classes
Out in front: Two programs are out in the lead in the Big East and both, UConn and Rutgers, are not new to recruiting success. Both also are in on an undecided five-star prospect, No. 11 Betnijah Laney of Clayton, Del.
The Huskies have the No. 1 player in the class, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis from Anaheim, Calif. Connecticut had signed the top player in the senior class for three straight years heading into the 2009 class but Baylor (Brittney Griner '09) and Stanford (Chiney Ogwumike '10) provided a two-year speed bump. The Geno Auriemma recipe does include talent but more so players that fit and can play together.
Fit is where UConn's second verbal commitment comes into play. Brianna Banks, a four-star guard from Newnan, Ga., is an elite talent but her skill set is so diverse she can impact the game without being a featured or isolated player in an offense.
Rutgers took a lot of flack for its highly touted 2008 signing class, which suffered the transfer of two of the its McDonald's All-Americans. Those transfers were players from different regions whereas this talented trio of Shakena Richardson, Syessence Davis and Christa Evans all call New Jersey home.
The Scarlet Knights could end up with Briyona Canty, the No. 6 prospect in the class, but even without her the guard class is fantastically talented with Richardson and Davis being ranked 18 and 51, respectively.
Darkhorse: Overlooked in UConn's conference is probably one of the things that bothers Notre Dame fans more than anything but the program's recipe has been successful. Muffet McGraw and her staff target players that fit their system and most of the time those players are also gifted basketball players.
The Fighting Irish have a trio of four-star recruits including top 100 prospect Madison Cable from Pittsburgh, Pa. The other two are point guard Whitney Holloway from Plainfield, Ill., and wing Kalpana Beach from Westlake, Ohio. Rounding out the four-player class is three-star post Markisha Wright from Des Moines, Iowa.
Schools: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin click here to search all recruiting classes
Out in front: Iowa and Minnesota are in the lead, each with an impressive point-guard prospect to lean on for future success. Both also can claim two top 100 prospects.
Iowa has five commitments but the immediate impact will come by way of Samantha Logic. The five-star point guard from Racine, Wis., is a coach's dream at the point with the skill set and confidence needed to win at the highest levels. Joining her is Iowa City's Virginia Johnson who has impressive length at 6 feet 1 and smoothness on the wing.
Minnesota can look forward to going to battle with Rachel Banham. The four-star point guard is ranked No. 19 in the class and was one of the most improved players in the country. She will be joined by her North Tartan travel team teammate Kayla Hirt, a 6-2 forward ranked No. 74 in the class.
Darkhorse: In Champagne, the Illinois staff is excited about the four-player group that has committed to date. Jolette Law's crop is headed by four-star New York point guard Alexis Smith. Two three-star perimeter players complement Smith with another New Yorker in Nia Lanea Oden and in-state guard Ivory Crawford. The final piece is Bolingbrook wing Taylor Tuck.
BCS Conference Women's Recruiting
A mid-October look at 2011 recruiting.
Schools: Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech click here to search all recruiting classes
Out in front: A trio of schools has jumped out in front of the Big XII and, with Baylor expecting to sign just one player this year, the stellar classes are pretty evident.
Texas A&M has three commitments all ranked in the top 50 in the country and, depending on how some of the uncommitted kids decide, the Aggies easily could have a top 10 class. The top-rated prospect in the class is Tori Scott, from Marrero, La., ranked No. 23 by ESPN HoopGurlz. The four-star guard will be joined in the College Station backcourt by four-star point guard Alexia Standish, the No. 30 prospect in the class. The third piece is literally the biggest at 6-7. Rachel Mitchell from Houston is ranked 41st in the class.
The Longhorns of Texas also are poised to sign a top-notch class that includes four commitments, three ranked in the top 100. The all-Texas class includes two top 40 players – Nneka Enemkpali (32) a 6-1 hyper athletic forward and Cassie Peoples (36) a silky smooth scoring point guard. The third four-star prospect in the class is Ronisha Major, a 6-1 forward from Huntsville. Rounding out the class is Brady Sanders, a 5-11 guard from Joshua, Texas.
Dark horse: All the strength in the class isn't restricted to Texas. Oklahoma has a three-player class that is right there with the Texas two-headed monster. The Sooners have No. 33 Deshawn Harden, an exciting point guard from Overland Park, Kan., coming in to add guard depth. Sherri Coale's class adds in-state talent at the forward and wing positions as well with 6-2 Kaylon Williams from Midwest City, Okla., and Sharane Campbell, a 5-10 prospect from Spencer, Okla. The two are ranked Nos. 59 and 90, respectively. Calling this class a dark horse may be a stretch but calling it talented isn't.
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at email@example.com.