David Cloninger

Ranking the SEC women’s basketball recruiting classes

Former Virginia center Sarah Imovbioh will join the Gamecocks this season as a graduate transfer.
Former Virginia center Sarah Imovbioh will join the Gamecocks this season as a graduate transfer. USA TODAY Sports

1. TENNESSEE

Two five-star recruits in Te’a Cooper and Jamasha Jackson, but the biggest name is former National Freshman of the Year Diamond DeShields, who is now eligible.

2. KENTUCKY

Matthew Mitchell signed three four-star players and got 6-foot-6 Ivana Jakubcova back from a broken leg that cost her her first season at Kentucky. Not content, he signed JUCO Player of the Year Evelyn Akhator and at midseason, former Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Chrishae Rowe becomes eligible.

3. ARKANSAS

Jimmy Dykes signed nine players. Playing last year with just nine players (and still reaching the NCAA tournament) had him load his boat with five-star Jordan Danberry and four JUCO players, among others.

4. MISSISSIPPI STATE

Only four players to add to a very young, hungry and talented team, but when one of them is 6-7 Teaira McCowan ...

5. OLE MISS

Matt Insell supplemented a steadily improving program with a JUCO transfer, an import from Spain and gets one of the best names in the league – Precious Person – eligible after transferring from Rutgers.

6. TEXAS A&M

Jasmine Lumpkin will be eligible mid-season after transferring from Michigan State and five-star Danni Williams adds another gem.

7. GEORGIA

New coach Joni Crenshaw already had three in the fold when five-star Caliya Robinson and two three-stars signed under Andy Landers.

8. SOUTH CAROLINA

The Gamecocks didn’t need much to replace their lost pieces, but got it in a big way when ACC leading rebounder Sarah Imovbioh elected to graduate from Virginia and transfer. Canadian guard Shay Colley and Doniyah Cliney, who sat out last year, supply depth on the perimeter.

9. ALABAMA

Five-star signee Shaquera Wade can provide an immediate impact and four others will join her.

10. MISSOURI

Sophie Cunningham stayed home and gave Robin Pingeton a five-star pledge.

11. LSU

Nikki Caldwell reached into Florida to get Shanice Norton, a native of London, and four-star Ayana Mitchell is also on hand. Alexis Hyder becomes eligible after sitting out last year.

12. FLORIDA

Amanda Butler figured teammates who helped a junior college reach the quarterfinals of a national tournament couldn’t be a bad thing. Ty Fleming and Simone Westbrook are arriving, along with redshirt freshman guard Isis Young, who lost last year to injury.

13. AUBURN

A thin class may not be the best way to improve, but Texan Erica Sanders can supply some immediate pop.

14. VANDERBILT

Going to be a lonely bench as the Commodores added just one player – Texas Tech transfer Minta Spears.

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