Hopkins and who else? 10 women’s basketball teams to know for 2022-23

1. Hopkins: The reigning Class 4A state champions feature three of the best players in the state, all Division I rookies: seniors Nunu Agara and Taylor Woodson and junior Alivia McGill. The Royals don’t have the inner presence they had a year ago, but they won’t be lacking in inner strength.

2. St. Michael-Albertville: The Knights have five of their top six return scorers, including top two senior guard Tessa Johnson and junior guard Ja’Kahla Craft. The state finalists at Hopkins in 2022 struggled to beat the top teams in the state last year and must overcome that difficulty.

3. Eden Prairie: Coach Ellen Wiese would have picked up all five starters in a 23-5 group had she not lost senior forward Savanna Jones 6-2 for the season to a knee injury . Eden Prairie will be looking to make amends for their loss at the Section 2 championship buzzer last year.

4. Minnetonka: The Skippers have some young talent coming into the system, but it could take a year. They could use a season to get used to new coach Brian Cosgriff, Hopkins’ former mentor. Four of their five losses last season were against Hopkins and Eden Prairie.

5. Maple Grove: Is this the season for Crimson’s return to the state tournament? They have failed since 2019 despite compiling a 63-15 record in that span. Coach Mark Cook’s side are coming off a 24-5 season in which they lost to Roseville in the Division 5 Championship game.

6. Chaska: The Hawks remain in good hands with senior guard Kennedy Sanders running the show. Mallory Heyer now plays for the Gophers, but Chaska fires three of his top four scorers. The 2021 state champions went 23-4 last year but were ousted in the Section 2 semi-finals.

7. Wayzata: Coach Julie Stewart only lost one starter at graduation, but it was a big starter: Gophers starting point guard Mara Braun. The Trojans were 18-9 a year ago and could be heading for a similar loss total this year because they play in the tough Lake Conference. They will always be good.

8. Becker (3A): The Bulldogs have gone 99-15 over the past four years while bolstering their schedule to play 4A programs. They reached the Class 3A State Championship each of those years. Coach Dan Baird now has some size to go with senior All-State guards Dani Nuest and Maren Westin.

9. East Ridge: The Raptors gradually rose through the ranks, but failed to reach the state tournament. They are looking to make that initial trip this season. Six of their top seven scorers from last season’s 20-8 group are back for coach Ashley Ellis-Milan.

10. Lakeville North: A state tournament participant six of the last seven years is in line to return. Coach Shelly Clemons has his top three returning scorers, including two juniors. The Panthers are solid defensively and need to improve offensively.