We will never know which team would have won the NCAA championship in women's college basketball this season. We do know there is a good chance a transfer would have proved pivotal.
Be it Oregon's Minyon Moore, Baylor's Te'a Cooper, Louisville's Elizabeth Balogun or Mississippi State's Jordan Danberry, most contenders benefited from transfers in 2019-20. Even the few teams that didn't this season, such as South Carolina, certainly have in the past (see: Kaela Davis and Allisha Gray).
That's why any conversation about next season starts with the most notable developments in another busy spring for the transfer portal.
As with seemingly everything else in the world at the moment, there is a good bit of uncertainty about the status of transfers for the 2020-21 season (assuming there is one) because of the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote May 20 on a rule change to allow a one-time transfer exception for all athletes. That change would possibly be applicable as soon as this season.
If that happens, all transfers are essentially equal. Until then, we'll split the rankings into two groups: graduate transfers immediately eligible for the 2020-21 season and sit-out transfers who will not be eligible without a rule change or special dispensation through a waiver.
Graduate transfers eligible immediately
1. Destiny Slocum, 5-7, PG, redshirt Jr., Oregon State
Committed to Arkansas
After stints at Maryland and Oregon State, she will finally play for Mike Neighbors. The Arkansas coach held the same role at Washington when Slocum initially committed to the Huskies as a high school recruit. She led the Beavers in scoring and assists, shot 37% from the 3-point line and had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. She becomes the SEC's best point guard.
2. DiJonai Carrington, 5-11, G, Sr., Stanford
Committed to Baylor
Carrington follows Chloe Jackson and Te'a Cooper in the graduate transfer carousel at Baylor. Paired with NaLyssa Smith and a lot of young talent, she might well keep Baylor in the thick of things in what otherwise looked, at least by local standards, like a renovation season in Waco. As a junior at Stanford in 2018-19, she averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds. She has 3-point range, but her fearless attacking the basket or rebounds sets her apart.
3. Da'Ja Green, 5-6, G, Jr., Wofford
Committed to Virginia Tech
She plans to graduate in three years from Wofford. A three-year starter, she averaged 12.7 points, 4.7 assists and 4.1 rebounds. She also ranked 15th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (with more assists than most of those ahead of her) and provided a consistent 3-point threat. With backcourt starters Taja Cole and Dara Mabrey moving on, that's huge for the Hokies.
4. Keyen Green, 6-1, F/C, RS Jr., Liberty
Committed to Tennessee
She could earn first-team all-conference honors in three conferences. Not even Slocum can do that. The Big South Player of the Year in 2017-18, Green missed the 2018-19 season with an injury but picked up where she left off as Liberty moved to the Atlantic Sun this past season. In 22 minutes per game, she averaged 13.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and nearly a block.
5. Raina Perez, 5-4, G, RS Jr., Cal State Fullerton
Committed to NC State
The reigning Big West Player of the Year averaged 19.8 points per game on 46 percent shooting this past season, in addition to 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals. She played her freshman season at Northern Arizona before transferring to Fullerton, where she played the past two seasons. Although obviously on the smaller side, Perez should be able to replicate what a mid-major scorer like Funda Nakkasoglu provided as a transfer at Florida and immediately helps replace Aislinn Konig's ball distribution.
6. Trinity Baptiste, 6-0, F, Jr., Virginia Tech
Committed to Arizona
The ACC Sixth Player of the Year, Baptiste averaged 9.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this past season. She had even better numbers in more minutes in her first season in Blacksburg. She is at least a replacement for Dominique McBryde and possibly even an upgrade for the cast around Aari McDonald and Cate Reese that should contend for the Pac-12 crown.
7. Tiana England, 5-7, G, RS Jr., St. John's
Committed to Florida State
England ranked third in the Big East in assists and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio in her final season in New York -- more assists, even, than departing Seminoles point guard Nicki Ekhomu, who earned WBCA All-America honorable mention this past season. England averaged 9.5 points and 5.2 assists for St. John's. Those were essentially her averages in all three seasons.
8. Ellie Mack, 6-3, F, RS Jr., Bucknell
Committed to Oregon State
It's a big jump from the Patriot League to the Pac-12. But Mack moves west after averaging 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds and being named the conference player of the year. She also led the Bison in assists and shot 41% from the 3-point line, which is a good fit for Scott Rueck. The Beavers have post depth with Taylor Jones and Kennedy Brown, but Mack should contribute.
9. Kyra Lambert, 5-9, G, Gr., Duke
Committed to Texas
Lambert's return after missing two seasons with injuries was a great story in its own right, but she also showed from a tactical standpoint that she still has game. She averaged 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals for the season, and almost all of her numbers improved in ACC games. She'll help Vic Schaefer as a leader. She'll also help the Longhorns as a rotation guard.
10. Deja Cage, 5-8, G, RS Jr., Mississippi
Committed to Middle Tennessee
It says something that she didn't quit amid a 7-23 season at Mississippi -- she scored 22 points against Tennessee and 19 points against Mississippi State in the final two games of the season. This will be her third stop after playing her first two years at DePaul, and a combination of Rick Insell's up-tempo style and Conference USA could allow her to thrive.
Sit-out transfers eligible for the 2021-22 season
1. Shakira Austin, 6-5, F, So., Maryland
Committed to Mississippi
Mississippi coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has quietly made headway keeping in-state talent at home and away from Mississippi State, but her biggest win was persuading Austin to come to Oxford from Maryland. The No. 4 recruit in the 2018 class, Austin averaged 12 points and 6.8 rebounds this past season -- after setting Maryland's single-season record for blocks as a freshman.
2. Destiny Pitts, 5-10, G/F, Jr., Minnesota
Committed to Texas A&M
She was looking for a new school longer than most, before committing to Texas A&M in early May. Pitts left Minnesota in January after she was suspended, by her account for bad body language on the bench. The abrupt dissolution of that relationship aside, Pitts averaged 16.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 15 games this season and shot 46% from the 3-point line. She would be a tremendous replacement for Chennedy Carter if eligible this season but is still well worth the wait if she doesn't receive a transfer waiver.
3. Kierstan Bell, 6-1, G, Fr., Ohio State
Committed to Florida Gulf Coast
Although her shot was inconsistent at times as a freshman at Ohio State, the former top-10 recruit showed plenty of promise in averaging 10.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and nearly a block per game as a wing. She's arguably the biggest ever recruiting prize for Karl Smesko's mid-major dynasty at FGCU. Can you transfer away from the Power 5 and still become an All-American? Well, it worked for Elena Delle Donne and Jonquel Jones.
4. Jazmine Massengill, 6-0, G, So. Tennessee
Committed to Kentucky
She emerged as a starter in Kellie Harper's first season and showed plenty of the promise that made her such a prized recruit -- like 11 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in a loss against UConn that was more competitive than expected. She ranked 12th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio and will give Kentucky a huge defensive backcourt alongside Rhyne Howard.
5. Zaay Green, 6-0, G, So., Tennessee
Committed to Texas A&M
The No. 10 recruit in the same class as Austin, Green had a trying sophomore year. She tore her ACL after just two games, ending an opportunity to improve on a freshman season in which she earned SEC All-Freshman honors. She was later cited for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel, and elected to transfer. A Texas native, the big guard with a wealth of all-around skills gets a fresh start at Texas A&M.
6. Taylor Mikesell, 5-11, G, So., Maryland
Committed to Oregon
Mikesell entered the transfer portal after a season in which she ranked 12 nationally in 3-pointers and 24th in 3-point accuracy -- and that wasn't even her best shooting season. A first-team all-conference pick and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2018-19, Mikesell was still plenty productive in her second season. Oregon's system values 3-pointers as much as any national power and adding Mikesell to the mix in 2021-22 after the current incoming freshmen settle in could put the Ducks right back in the championship game.
7. Nicole Cardaño-Hillary, 5-7, G, Jr., George Mason
Committed to Indiana
She left George Mason after three seasons but still had time to set the Atlantic 10 program's career scoring record. That gives some sense of what the guard who was born in Spain but spent her teenage years in Texas brings to the Hoosiers. The A-10 Player of the Year in 2018-19, she should help soften the blow of losing Ali Patberg after the 2020-21 season -- or add an intriguing option alongside Patberg and Grace Berger if eligible this season.
8. Chloe Bibby, 6-1, F, Jr., Mississippi State
Committed to Maryland
It hasn't been a good offseason for the Terrapins, who also lost Olivia Owens to transfer from their talented sophomore class, but the Big Ten champs did get a win of their own in the portal by bringing in a player with ample experience in big games. Bibby returned from a knee injury that wiped out half of her 2018-19 season to lead the Bulldogs in 3-pointers and rank second in rebounds this past season.
9. Jaden Owens, 5-6, G, Fr., UCLA
Committed to Baylor
Owens didn't make nearly as much of an impression in her debut season as some of those ranked alongside her at the top of her recruiting class. But to be fair to the point guard, most of her peers didn't have someone like Japreece Dean ahead of them on the depth chart. Going home to Texas, Owens will try to follow in the footsteps of Chloe Jackson and Te'a Cooper.
10. Maori Davenport, 6-4, C, So., Rutgers
Committed to Georgia
Davenport is another highly touted freshman who remains a work in progress. She played sparingly in Big Ten games. But as a post player, not to mention a post player who endured a traumatic final high school season because of a well-publicized eligibility clash with officials in Alabama, she has every opportunity to grow into the college game.
11. Abby O'Connor, 6-0, G, Jr., Loyola
Committed to Gonzaga
O'Connor brings needed 3-point shooting, but she also ranked fifth in the Missouri Valley in rebounding. She even blocked nearly two shots a game as a sophomore in the 2018-19 season.
12. Leigha Brown, 6-1, F, So., Nebraska
Committed to Michigan
Brown was Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year after leading Nebraska in scoring at 14.4 points per game. She had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and made 63 3-pointers in two seasons.
13. Robyn Benton, 5-9, G, So., Auburn
Committed to Kentucky
Slowed by injuries early, she still averaged nearly three steals per game this past season, which makes her a natural fit for Kentucky's backcourt. Her 3-point range is also an asset.
14. Dara Mabrey, 5-7, G, So., Virginia Tech
Committed to Notre Dame
It took some time for a player who spent two seasons at Virginia Tech and then was the last of the players ranked here to settle on a new school, but the Mabrey dynasty continues in South Bend. Dara follows in the footsteps of sisters Michaela and Marina, with Michaela still around as an assistant on new coach Niele Ivey's staff. Dara needed just two seasons at Virginia Tech to climb to seventh on that program's all-time 3-point leaderboard, so her strength is no secret.
15. Emma Clarke, 6-1, G, So., Colorado
Committed to Texas Tech
The Australian is not on the same level as Mikesell or Mabrey as a 3-point shooter, but she does have that range and a big enough frame to have led Colorado in blocked shots this past season.
16. Olivia Owens, 6-4, C, So., Maryland
Committed to Kentucky
Ranked alongside Mikesell and Austin in their recruiting class, she played just 70 minutes as a freshman and redshirted this past season. But the size and promise make her another intriguing part of the loaded transfer class that could surround Rhyne Howard in the 2021-22 season.
17. Erin Howard, 6-1, F/G, So., Auburn
Committed to Florida State
Another from the Auburn exodus, Howard played quite a bit as a freshman but greatly increased her productivity in regular minutes as a sophomore. She led the Tigers in 3-pointers.
18. Jayla Everett, 5-10, G, So., New Mexico
Committed to Pittsburgh
She left New Mexico in January, so she'll be eligible for the second half of the 2020-21 season no matter what. An inconsistent shooter, she is a playmaker and a defensive presence.
19. Lauren Ebo, 6-4, F, So., Penn State
Committed to Texas
She's the first commit of the Vic Schaefer era in Austin. After starting 17 games at Penn State this past season, averaging 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, Ebo at the very least provides experienced post depth.
20. Lauren Hansen, 5-8, G, Fr., Auburn
Committed to Missouri
She had some big moments as a freshman, including 24 points and seven 3-pointers against a good Drake team. She started 20 games despite battling injuries early and late in the season.