The Associated Press preseason All-American team was released on Tuesday. UConn F Breanna Stewart and Notre Dame G Jewell Loyd were unanimous selections among a panel of 35 national media members. Stewart and Loyd are the 10th and 11th players all-time to be unanimous selections. Stanford F Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun) was a unanimous choice last season.
Stewart was the AP’s player of the year last season and is the only player returning from last season’s All-America team. The other members of the preseason team are UConn F Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Duke C Elizabeth Williams and South Carolina G Tiffany Mitchell.
Among the others receiving votes were Cal F Reshanda Gray, Oregon F Jillian Alleyne and Stanford PG Amber Orrange.
I’m part of the panel and the only difference on the final team was my pick of South Carolina F Aleighsa Welch in place of Mosqueda-Lewis. Both are seniors and had nearly identical numbers from their junior seasons, Mosqueda-Lewis missing 12 games due to injury.
Welch plays inside, however, averaging 13.7 points and 7.6 boards as the Gamecocks won the SEC title and advanced to the Sweet 16. Mosqueda-Lewis is a noted three-point shooter, 41.3 percent in her career, who didn’t have the best of regular-seasons but shined as UConn won its second straight NCAA title.
Many believe Mosqueda-Lewis is the frontrunner to be the Storm’s pick as the WNBA’s No. 1 overall draft selection in April. I believe there are more options and better fits for Seattle. We’ll see as the college season progresses.
As for the All-American team, No. 1 UConn and No. 2 South Carolina do play each other in February in Storrs.
Here’s my team:
Jayda’s Preseason All-American Team
F Breanna Stewart
F Aleighsa Welch
C Elizabeth Williams
G Jewell Loyd
G Tiffany Mitchell