2019–20 NCAA Division I women's basketball season
The 2019–20 NCAA Division I women's basketball season began in November 2019 and will conclude with the Final Four at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 5, 2020. Practices officially began in late September 2019.
|2019–20 NCAA Division I women's basketball season|
|Preseason AP #1||Oregon|
|Tournament dates||March 27 – April 5, 2020|
|National Championship||Smoothie King Center|
New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1 Season headlines
- 2 Conference membership changes
- 3 Arenas
- 4 Season outlook
- 5 Regular Season
- 6 Postseason
- 7 Conference standings
- 8 Award winners
- 9 Coaching changes
- 10 See also
- 11 Footnotes
- 12 References
- June 18 – The ASUN Conference officially announced that Bellarmine University, currently a member of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference, would move to Division I and join the ASUN effective with the 2020–21 school year.
- June 20 – The Summit League announced that the University of Missouri–Kansas City would return to the conference on July 1, 2020 after seven years in the Western Athletic Conference.
- June 21 – The Boston-area sports news website Digital Sports Desk reported that the University of Connecticut (UConn) was expected to announce by the end of the month that it would leave the American Athletic Conference to rejoin many of its former conference mates in the Big East Conference in 2020. The story was picked up by multiple national media outlets the next day.
- June 27 – The Big East and UConn jointly announced that the school would join the Big East; though the official announcements did not specify a time, it was expected that the Huskies would become members in 2020.
- July 26 – Multiple media reports indicated that UConn and The American had reached a buyout agreement that will lead to UConn joining the Big East in July 2020. The exit fee was reportedly $17 million.
- August 5 – The Horizon League announced that Purdue University Fort Wayne would leave the Summit League to join the Horizon League in July 2020.
- September 30
- California governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay to Play Act into law, which upon taking effect in 2023 will prohibit public colleges and universities in the state from punishing their athletes for earning endorsement income. The bill places the state in direct conflict with the NCAA's current business model, which prohibits college athletes from receiving such income. At the time the bill was signed, several other states were proposing similar laws.
- Officials at Tarleton State University, current members of the Division II Lone Star Conference, announced that the school had accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference. Full details, including the joining date, were expected to be revealed in the following days, but were delayed by more than a month.
- October 4 – Officials at the University of St. Thomas, a Minnesota school that will be expelled from its longtime athletic home of the NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in 2021, announced that the school had received an invitation to join the Summit League upon its MIAC departure. In order for St. Thomas to directly transition to the Summit, it must receive a waiver of an NCAA rule stating that Division III schools can only transition to Division II.
- October 29 – The NCAA board of governors voted unanimously to begin the process of changing institutional rules so that college athletes can profit from their names, images, and likenesses, while still maintaining a distinction between college and professional sports. The proposal calls for each of the three NCAA divisions to draft new rules consistent with this mandate, with a target date of January 2021.
- October 31 – The Associated Press preseason All-American team was released. Baylor center Lauren Cox and Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu were unanimous selections (28 votes). Joining them on the team were Texas A&M guard Chennedy Carter (22 votes), Miami (FL) forward Beatrice Mompremier (20), and Maryland giard Kaila Charles (18). All were seniors except for Carter, a junior.
- November 9 – Preseason #1 Oregon defeated the US national team 93–86 in an exhibition, led by Ionescu's 30 points. This marked the first time that Team USA had lost to college competition since a 1999 loss to Tennessee.
- November 12 – The Western Athletic Conference officially announced Tarleton State's entry into the league effective July 1, 2020.
- November 16 – Ionescu became the first NCAA player, regardless of division or sex, to record a triple-double in four different seasons. She had 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists in the Ducks' 99–63 win over Texas Southern, extending her record for career triple-doubles to 19.
- November 21 – Kamiyah Street, the starting point guard for Kennesaw State, was arrested and charged with murder in the July 16, 2019 shooting death of a man whose body was found in the parking deck of an Atlanta apartment complex. Street was immediately suspended once KSU was notified of the charge.
- November 25 – Sierra'Li Wade, a freshman guard for Arkansas–Pine Bluff who had yet to make her debut for the team, was killed in a shooting in her hometown of Lake Village, Arkansas.
- November 30 – The Atlantis Paradise Island resort in The Bahamas announced that the Battle 4 Atlantis, a prominent early-season Division I men's tournament held at the resort, would add a women's tournament starting next season. The women's tournament will feature eight teams (the same number as the men's version), and will be held immediately before the men's tournament.
Milestones and recordsEdit
The following players reached the 1,000-rebound milestone during the season—Ruthy Hebard of Oregon. Hebard reached this milestone in the same game in which Ionescu surpassed the 2,000-point mark.
Ionescu also became the 12th Division I women's player with 900 career assists, reaching the mark on January 3, 2020 against Colorado in the same game in which Hebard reached the 2,000-point mark.
On December 18, Baylor guard Juicy Landrum set a new Division I women's record with 14 three-pointers in the Lady Bears' 111–43 rout of Arkansas State.
Conference membership changesEdit
Two schools joined new conferences for the 2019–20 season. Both moved between Division I and Division II, with one joining Division I and the other leaving Division I.
|School||Former Conference||New Conference|
|Merrimack||Northeast-10 Conference (D-II)||Northeast Conference|
|Savannah State||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (D-II)|
In addition, two existing Division I teams assumed new athletic identities.
After the 2018–19 school year, Long Island University (LIU) merged the athletic programs of its two main campuses—the Division I LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and Division II LIU Post Pioneers—into a single program that now plays as the LIU Sharks. The Sharks inherited the Division I and Northeast Conference memberships of the Brooklyn campus, with some sports to be based in Brooklyn and others at the Post campus in Brookville, New York. Specific to basketball, LIU announced that the unified men's and women's teams in that sport would be based in Brooklyn.
On July 1, 2019, the University of Missouri–Kansas City (UMKC) announced that its athletic program, formerly known as the UMKC Kangaroos, would officially become the Kansas City Roos, with "Roos" having long been used as a short form of the former "Kangaroos" nickname.
- Robert Morris will move into the new UPMC Events Center after playing last season at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center, a facility at the school's North Athletic Complex. The Colonials played their first game there in November 2019.
- High Point will play its final season at the Millis Athletic Convocation Center, home to the Panthers since 1992. They will open the new Nido Quebin Arena and Conference Center for the 2020–21 season.
- This will be Liberty's final season playing games full-time at the Vines Center, home to the Flames since 1990. The school will open the adjoining Liberty Arena, with less than half of the capacity at Vines Center, for the 2020–21 season. The Vines Center will continue to be used for games in which attendance is expected to exceed 4,000.
- Immediately after the 2018–19 season, Duquesne began an extensive renovation of the on-campus Palumbo Center. When the venue reopens, expected for the 2020–21 school year, it will be renamed UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse, via a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the family foundation of late Duquesne star Chuck Cooper, the first African American selected in an NBA draft. At the time of announcement, the final capacity of the renovated venue had not been determined, but Duquesne's athletic director expected it to have about the same capacity as the pre-renovation Palumbo Center (4,390). Duquesne's temporary home venue had also not yet been announced, but it was expected that PPG Paints Arena would be used for at least some men's home games. Duquesne revealed its plans for the 2019–20 women's season in two phases, announcing its non-conference schedule on September 5, 2019 and its conference schedule on September 30. The following four venues will be used:
- PPG Paints Arena will host two games. The first is the season opener; it will be the second leg of a doubleheader with the men's team. The second will be the opening leg of a doubleheader with the men.
- One game will be at Donahue Pavilion on the campus of Oakland Catholic High School in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood.
- The bulk of the women's schedule, nine games in all, will be at the Kerr Fitness Center on the campus of La Roche University in the northern suburb of McCandless.
- The season finale will be at Robert Morris' new UPMC Events Center.
Early season tournamentsEdit
An upset is a victory by an underdog team. In the context of NCAA Division I Women's Basketball, this generally constitutes an unranked team defeating a team currently ranked in the Top 25. This list will highlight those upsets of ranked teams by unranked teams as well as upsets of #1 teams. Rankings are from the AP poll. Bold type indicates winning teams in "true road games"—i.e., those played on an opponent's home court (including secondary homes).
Conference winners and tournamentsEdit
Each of the 32 Division I athletic conferences ends its regular season with a single-elimination tournament. The team with the best regular-season record in each conference is given the number one seed in each tournament, with tiebreakers used as needed in the case of ties for the top seeding. The winners of these tournaments receive automatic invitations to the 2020 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Tournament.
Major player of the year awardsEdit
Major freshman of the year awardsEdit
Major coach of the year awardsEdit
Other major awardsEdit
Several teams will change coaches during and after the season.