Who Are the Top Returners in NCAA Women’s Basketball by Win Shares?
Aliyah Boston’s 10.7 Win Shares in 2019-20 is the highest among NCAA women’s basketball returners this season
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Win Shares is an advanced statistic that estimates the total number of wins a player produces for their team through their play on the offensive and defensive end of the court. Unsurprisingly, winners of the WNBA and NBA MVP awards often lead the league in Win Shares, as they are contributing the most to their team’s success by this measure overall. It’s also a good (but not perfect) measure of the best player in NCAA basketball - Sabrina Ionescu, who won every player of the year award last season, led the nation in Win Shares. (Side note: this data is coming to Her Hoop Stats soon!)
Here’s the list of the top 20 returning players who recorded the most Win Shares last season:
Aliyah Boston leads the way for all returning players with 10.7 Win Shares in the 2019-20 season. Boston’s stellar freshman campaign with South Carolina ended with winning the Lisa Leslie award for the best center in the nation and being named a 2nd team All-American. After the departure of two first-round draft picks, the Gamecocks will look to Boston to build upon her 12.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game from last season. As long as she can stay out of foul trouble and increase her minutes on the floor (she averaged just 23.8 last season), increasing her other stats should come with the territory.
As a very close second, Chelsey Perry of UT Martin also checked in with 10.7 Win Shares last season and landed on the Becky Hammon Mid Major Player of the Year preseason watchlist for her senior season. Perry is joined by Macee Williams (IUPUI), Ilmar’l Thomas (Cincinnati), Hannah Sjerven (South Dakota), and Dariauna Lewis (Alabama A&M) as players on the watchlist and among the top 20 returners for Win Shares this season.
In addition to Boston, the remaining four AP preseason All Americans also make the list. Rhyne Howard ranks fourth with 10.6 Win Shares, Dana Evans ranks 15th with 8.8 Win Shares, Aari McDonald is at 17th win 8.6 Win Shares and Michaela Onyenwere is at 20th with 8.5 Win Shares. UConn also stands out as the only team with two returners on the list. Both of the Huskies’ juniors, Christyn Williams and Olivia Nelson-Ododa, rank among the top twenty with 8.9 and 8.5 Win Shares last season, respectively.