The ink is barely dry on the NCAA women’s basketball season — South Carolina was crowned champion Sunday night after beating UConn in the national championship — but there’s already some looking ahead to next year.

ESPN’s Charlie Creme released his way-too-early top 25 rankings for the 2022-23 season not long after the national championship, and no surprise, the Gamecocks and Huskies — two perennial powers — fill the top two spots.

Did Utah and BYU, two NCAA Tournament teams this season, make Creme’s rankings?

Did Utah make the way-too-early top 25?

The Utes, who turned around their program from five wins a year ago to earning a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament this season, did make Creme’s way-too-early rankings, coming in at No. 19.

Coach Lynne Roberts relied on several young playmakers to lead the turnaround for the Utes, who went 21-12.

“Coming off the Utes’ most successful season in 13 years, coach Lynne Roberts has plenty of youth on which to build,” Creme wrote. 

Gianna Kneepkens, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, and Jenna Johnson, the team’s leading scorer in her first year, are the best of the bunch. Sophomore Kennady McQueen was Utah’s best 3-point shooter in 2021-22. If 6-4 Peyton McFarland can recover from a late-season knee injury, then Roberts has the foundation to produce the best stretch the program has ever seen.”

‘We will be back’: Future looks bright for young Utah women’s basketball team after successful postseason run

The Utes won their first NCAA Tournament game since 2009 by defeating No. 10 seed Arkansas 92-69 in the first round. 

One of Utah’s calling cards this season was its 3-point shooting: the Utes were seventh nationally in 3-pointers made per game, averaging 9.5. In the win over the Razorbacks, Utah made 15 3-pointers.

Utah was joined in the Creme’s way-too-early top 25 by four other Pac-12 teams: Stanford at No. 3, Arizona at No. 12, Oregon at No. 18 and UCLA at No. 22. The Cardinal advanced to the Final Four this season.

Texas, which beat the Utes in the NCAA’s second round, was No. 4.

Did BYU make the way-too-early top 25?

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BYU, which spent much of this season ranked in the top 25 and went 26-4 on the year, was not included in Creme’s way-too-early rankings.

The Cougars were bounced out of the NCAA Tournament in the first round, losing to Villanova.

After a disappointing end to a historic season, where will BYU women’s basketball go from here?

The Cougars must replace starters Paisley Harding, Tegan Graham and Maria Albiero, as well as key role player Sara Hamson. BYU, though, will bring back West Coast Conference Player of the Year Shaylee Gonzales and the team’s top rebounder, Lauren Gustin.

While BYU wasn’t included in the way-too-early rankings discussion, another WCC team was. Gonzaga was included among other teams considered for the rankings. The Zags, who beat BYU in the WCC Tournament championship game after losing twice to the Cougars in the regular season, won their first-round NCAA Tournament game before losing in the second round.

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