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2021 Top Women's D1 Basketball Schools

324 Colleges
$45,982 Avg Tuition & Fees*
71% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

Women's Division I Basketball BadgeWhen pursuing a degree in today's world, student athletes have many different options to choose from. College Factual was founded, in part, to help students make the decision as to what would be the best school for them. Our Best Colleges for Division I Women's Basketball ranking is part of that endeavor.

Our analysis looked at 324 schools in the United States to determine which ones were the best for D1 Women's Basketball athletes. Our ranking is based on several objective factors, including the school's overall quality and the athletic competitiveness of the school. We steer clear of subjective measures since they don't give a clear picture when determining how one school compares to another. So, even if a school has a great team, it won't place well if it is also considered a low quality college or university.

See what other factors we include in our ranking methodology.

One Size Does Not Fit All

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to online students or returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. We encourage you to try it out and pit your favorite colleges and universities head to head! If you don't have time right now, you can bookmark it for later.

Top Colleges in the U.S. for D1 Women's Basketball athletes

See which schools came out on top of our ranking:

#1

University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Our analysis found University of Connecticut to be the best school for D1 Women’s Basketball athletes in this year’s ranking. University of Connecticut is a large public school located in Storrs, Connecticut that handed out 6,052 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at UCONN took home $7,853,769 in revenue. The great academic progress rate of 989 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. UCONN excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#2

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Out of the 324 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Duke University landed the #2 spot on the list. Duke is a private not-for-profit institution located in Durham, North Carolina. The school has a fairly large population, and it awarded 2,303 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Duke took home $3,821,554 in revenue. The team has a respectable academic progress rate of 973.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. In addition to its Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking, and one of the reasons why the school is on the list, Duke is ranked #2 for overall quality in the United States.

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#3

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

You’ll join some of the best athletes around if you attend University of Notre Dame. The school came in at #3 in this year’s ranking. Notre Dame is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Notre Dame, Indiana. It awarded 2,642 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Notre Dame took home $2,017,752 in revenue. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 995.

With a freshman retention rate of 98%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. In addition to its great ranking here, Notre Dame is in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#4

Stanford University

Stanford, California

A rank of #4 on our list means Stanford University is a great place for D1 Women’s Basketball athletes working on their bachelor’s degree. Stanford is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Stanford, California. It awarded 1,892 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Stanford brought home $2,289,210 in revenue in a single year. The team had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 98%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Stanford excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#5

Baylor University

Waco, Texas
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Out of the 324 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Baylor University landed the #5 spot on the list. Baylor is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Waco, Texas. It awarded 3,798 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Baylor took home $9,485,162 in revenue. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 981.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 90%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Baylor also is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking.

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#6

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #6. Vanderbilt is a fairly large private not-for-profit school situated in Nashville, Tennessee. It awarded 2,280 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Vanderbilt took home $4,401,360 in revenue. The great academic progress rate of 989 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

The impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 7 to 1 means that students may have more opportunities to work more closely with their professors than they would at other schools. On top of its placing in this ranking, Vanderbilt also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#7

Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
#12 in Quality in the United States

Northwestern University came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Northwestern University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Evanston, Illinois that handed out 2,770 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Northwestern took home $227,757 in revenue. Sports aren’t the only thing that the team excels at - they had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

With a freshman retention rate of 98%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Northwestern excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 1% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#8

University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, Maryland
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Maryland - College Park landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. University of Maryland - College Park is a large public school located in College Park, Maryland that handed out 8,390 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at UMCP made $677,530 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 963.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 96%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UMCP also is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking.

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#9

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

University of Miami ranked #9 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball list. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Coral Gables, Florida, and it awarded 3,118 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at U Miami brought home $5,723,586 in revenue in a single year.

With a freshman retention rate of 91%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. On top of its placing in this ranking, U Miami also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#10

Marquette University

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Marquette University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #10. This fairly large private not-for-profit school is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and it awarded 2,204 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The team at Marquette took home $4,572,038 in revenue and paid out $4,427,322 in expenses in recent times. Happily, this means that the team turned a profit of $144,716. The team has a great academic progress rate of 990, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 89%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. Marquette also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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Top 15% in Quality in the United States

The University of Tennessee - Knoxville came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. UT Knoxville is located in Knoxville, Tennessee and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 5,103 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at UT Knoxville took home $3,504,184 in revenue. The academic progress rate of the team is 971.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 86%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, UT Knoxville also is in the top 15% of our overall quality ranking.

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#12

DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois
Top 20% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #12, DePaul University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. This large private not-for-profit school is located in Chicago, Illinois, and it awarded 3,518 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at DePaul made $3,462,918 in revenue. The team had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

On top of its placing in this ranking, DePaul also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 20% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#13

Gonzaga University

Spokane, Washington
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Gonzaga University came in at #13 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. This medium-sized private not-for-profit school is located in Spokane, Washington, and it awarded 1,441 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Gonzaga brought home $3,939,901 in revenue in a single year. With a perfect academic progress rate of 1000, the team is showing that they know how to hit the books, too.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. Gonzaga also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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#14

Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Syracuse University landed the #14 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. This large private not-for-profit school is located in Syracuse, New York, and it awarded 4,101 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Syracuse brought home $2,389,280 in revenue in a single year. The team has a great academic progress rate of 983, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 91%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. On top of its placing in this ranking, Syracuse also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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Top 10% in Quality in the United States

The University of Texas at Austin ranked #15 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball list. UT Austin is located in Austin, Texas and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 10,098 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at UT Austin took home $2,305,200 in revenue. The team has a great academic progress rate of 991, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 95%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. UT Austin excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#16

University of Virginia - Main Campus

Charlottesville, Virginia
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of Virginia - Main Campus came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. This large public school is located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it awarded 5,167 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at University of Virginia made $4,267,198 in revenue. The great academic progress rate of 995 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 96%. University of Virginia also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 5% of all schools in this category.

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#17

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

Florida State University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #17. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, the large public school handed out 9,688 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Speaking financially, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Florida State took home $7,680,432 in revenue. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 979.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. Florida State also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 10% of all schools in this category.

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Top 15% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #18, Ohio State University - Main Campus did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Ohio State is located in Columbus, Ohio and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 11,596 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Ohio State made $794,802 in revenue.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. Ohio State also claimed a spot on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 15% of all schools in this category.

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#19

Rice University

Houston, Texas

With a ranking of #19, Rice University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Located in Houston, Texas, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school awarded 1,228 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Rice brought home $2,944,961 in revenue in a single year. The great academic progress rate of 996 shows that team members perform well in the classroom, too.

Since the school has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6 to 1, those pursuing a bachelor’s degree will have more opportunities to interact with their professors. On top of its placing in this ranking, Rice also did well on our overall quality list. It’s in the top 1% of all schools reviewed in this analysis.

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#20

Elon University

Elon, North Carolina
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #20, Elon University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Elon is located in Elon, North Carolina and, has a medium-sized student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 1,666 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at Elon made $1,781,585 in revenue. The team had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 89%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. In addition to its great ranking here, Elon is in the top 10% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#21

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

With a ranking of #21, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. U-M is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan and, has a large student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 7,815 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergraduates.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at U-M made $466,499 in revenue.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, U-M also is in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking.

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#22

George Washington University

Washington, District of Columbia
Top 10% in Quality in the United States

George Washington University ranked #22 on this year’s Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball list. Located in Washington, District of Columbia, the large private not-for-profit school awarded 3,447 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at GWU made $2,518,181 in revenue. The team has a great academic progress rate of 991, signifying that team members care about their grades.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 91%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, GWU also is in the top 10% of our overall quality ranking.

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#23

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

Wake Forest University came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school awarded 1,431 diplomas to qualified bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Wake Forest University brought home $3,447,683 in revenue in a single year. Sports aren’t the only thing that the team excels at - they had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 94%. As a testament to the quality of education it offers, Wake Forest University also is in the top 5% of our overall quality ranking.

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#24

Quinnipiac University

Hamden, Connecticut
Top 15% in Quality in the United States

Quinnipiac University landed the #24 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking. Quinnipiac University is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Hamden, Connecticut that handed out 1,891 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The D1 Women’s Basketball team at Quinnipiac brought home $2,735,931 in revenue in a single year. Sports aren’t the only thing that the team excels at - they had a perfect academic progress rate of 1000.

With a freshman retention rate of 86%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. Quinnipiac excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 15% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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#25

University of California - Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California
Top 5% in Quality in the United States

University of California - Los Angeles did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking, coming in at #25. UCLA is a public institution located in Los Angeles, California. The school has a large population, and it awarded 9,069 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

On the financial side of things, the D1 Women’s Basketball team at UCLA made $1,009,216 in revenue. The team members aren’t slouches in the classroom either, since the team academic progress rate is an excellent 989.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 97%. In addition to its great ranking here, UCLA is in the top 5% of all schools on our overall quality list.

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Rest of the Top 15% Best Colleges for D1 Women's Basketball athletes

Not only did these schools make the top 49 list, but they also landed in the top 15% of this year’s ranking:

#26

University of South Carolina - Columbia

Columbia, South Carolina
#27

University of San Francisco

San Francisco, California
#28

Drake University

Des Moines, Iowa
#30

Oregon State University

Corvallis, Oregon
#32

Creighton University

Omaha, Nebraska
#33

Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
#33

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
#35

University of Missouri - Columbia

Columbia, Missouri
#36

Belmont University

Nashville, Tennessee
#38

James Madison University

Harrisonburg, Virginia
#40

Texas A&M University - College Station

College Station, Texas
#41

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, Indiana
#42

Tulane University of Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
#43

Fordham University

Bronx, New York
#44

Pennsylvania State University - University Park

University Park, Pennsylvania
#45

Georgetown University

Washington, District of Columbia
#46

University of California - Davis

Davis, California
#47

Indiana University - Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana
#48

Villanova University

Villanova, Pennsylvania
#49

Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

Honorable Mentions

These schools also performed well in our Best Colleges for Division I Women’s Basketball ranking:

Rank College Location
50 University of Louisville Louisville, KY
51 Temple University Philadelphia, PA
52 Mercer University Macon, GA
53 University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA
54 Saint Louis University Saint Louis, MO
55 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
56 Auburn University Auburn, AL
57 Arizona State University - Tempe Tempe, AZ
58 Mississippi State University Mississippi State, MS
59 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
60 Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX
61 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
62 Furman University Greenville, SC
63 Colorado State University - Fort Collins Fort Collins, CO
64 University of Dayton Dayton, OH
Rank College Location
65 Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus Atlanta, GA

More Rankings >

Notes and References

Footnotes

*Avg Tuition and Fees and Avg 4-Year Grad Rate are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Revenue and expense information comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.
  • The academic progress rate (APR) of each team was made available by the NCAA.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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