If you think about it, it doesn't take much to call yourself one of the best college programs in women's basketball. If you went to the NCAA tournament last year, you could say that. If you went to the WNIT you could stake a claim. Even if your program went to the WBI - the Women's Basketball Invitational - with a sub-.500 record, you could point at them as "up and coming".
For that matter, all a school has to do is point at any record of past success - some past success which might be decades old - and a team can stake a claim as one of the greats. But which teams are great programs now? What kind of programs have a record of success where an honest claim could be made to be a top NCAA Division I women's program?
The proposed list of the top 100 teams is an attempt to sort the contenders from the pretenders. There are programs here on the way up, and programs on the way down. There are programs on the list that have had coaches with decades-long tenures and some coaches which have been with their schools three years or less. Some of the programs are annual contenders and some on the list have made their first appearances in the post-season only in the 21st century.
So which schools have the best women's programs in Division I? Get ready to begin the debate. Let's take a look at the programs in the 71-100 range - the programs which are short of serious consideration but which are definitely better than average.
71. South Florida: Won WNIT championship in 2009, but were bumped from WNIT first round in 2010. Long time coach and Big East conference affiliation give Bulls instant credibility.
72. Mississippi State: Head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis has been there for over a decade, and the Bulldogs have four straight post-season appearances. The Bulldogs went to Sweet Sixteen, but 2010 first-round WNBA draft pick F Chanel Mokango was waived from the Atlanta Dream and has struggled to crack the Los Angeles Sparks' rotation.
73. Wyoming: WNIT winners in 2007, NCAA appearance in 2008 and went to final eight in the WNIT in 2010. They love their Cowgirls in Wyoming.
74. San Diego State: Aztecs went to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last year as a #11 seed. SG Jene Morris ended up with the Fever as the first SDSU WNBA representative - Beth Burns is in her second go-round as head coach of San Diego State.
75. Brigham Young: Team goes to the postseason with some frequency, but could any non-Mormon put up with BYU's anachronistic Honor Code? LDS pool of players is big enough to solve problem for now.
76. Charlotte: Has appeared in the post-season for the last eight years. Karen Aston has had only three seasons as coach of the 49ers but has a strong coaching pedigree.
77. East Tennessee State: Four straight 20-win seasons. Three straight Atlantic Sun championships. A coach in the middle of her second decade. All of that adds up to a higher place on this list than many "big time" schools.
78. Richmond: Coming off two straight WNIT appearances, the Spiders bring most of their regulars back next year, including 5-7 senior G Brittani Shells, averaging 16.7 ppg.
79. Syracuse: Quentin Hillsman rescued a troubled program and led it to its first post-season victory in 2009. In 2010, the Orange went to the final eight of the WNIT. Expect this team to move up the list in the future.
80. Villanova: With nearly 600 wins and 30+ seasons as head coach, Harry Perretta has job security. But it seems to run hot and cold for the Wildcats these days.
81. Mississippi: Renee Ladner gets an extension to 2014 for two WNIT appearances, but last year Samford rolled Ole Miss out of the first round of an expanded 64-team tournament.
82. Illinois: Jolette Law has taken Illini to WNIT two of the last three years. But Illinois fans seem to have expected more, and F Destiny Williams's transfer doesn't help.
83. Tulane: Lisa Stockton has been coaching the Green Wave for over a decade, went back to NCAA tourney first time in three years last year and came within five points of knocking off Georgia.
84. Creighton: Five WNIT appearances in eight years including a WNIT championship - big teams losing to Creighton shouldn't be surprising by now.
85. Vermont: Sharon Dawley left for UMass, after taking Catamounts to a national ranking - Vermont loses both senior guards, Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulous to graduation.
86. South Carolina: Dawn Staley era has been a disappointment after two years. Recruiting players to South Carolina will be a struggle; loss of C Kelsey Bone will hurt.
87. George Washington: Program has plummeted since Joe McKeon left for Northwestern - Mike Bozeman won't have injuries as an excuse this year after going 6-22 in 2010.
88. Montana: Last year was mediocre year after seven 20+ win seasons - but they didn't have PG Mandy Morales last year.
89. St. Bonaventure: Two 23-win seasons. Back to back WNIT trips. Top 20 in GPA among Div I schools. But would Jim Crowley ever leave the Bonnies?
90. Arkansas: Coach Tom Collen's teams Razorbacks won only one SEC game at home in 2010 and they're paying him $400K a year - Collen might be a memory after this season.
91. Penn State: Coach/recruiter Coquese Washington hopes to lead Lady Lions from Rene Portland era; WNIT appearance in 2010.
92. Louisiana Tech: Teresa Weatherspoon has led a storied program to post-season over past two years.
93. Ball State: WNIT appearance in 2007 with an NCAA Cinderella appearance in 2009 under coach Kelly Packard, but the always-contending Cards fell back down to average in 2010.
94. Michigan: WNIT quarterfinal in 2008 and WNIT semifinal in 2010 under coach Kevin Borseth, but this isn't a conference where WNIT appearances are lauded.
95. Virginia Tech: The Hokies have had success but no post-season appearances since 2007 - finished 10th in ACC last year.
96. Boston University: Coach Kelly Greenberg got her 100th win as a Terrier last season, 2010 WNIT appearance was first Boston U. postseason appearance
97. Drexel: a new force in the CAA? 2009 NCAA appearance, 2010 WNIT. Foreign pipeline brought them Gabrielle Marginean who played in the WNBA this year.
98. Missouri: Is new coach Robin Pingeton sending dog-speak messages that lesbians aren't welcome? Cellar-dwelling Mizzou needs all the help it can get.
99. Wake Forest: 7-7 last year in ACC and coming back with their starters off second straight WNIT appearance.
100. Delaware: Sophomore G/F Elena Delle Donne keeps the program on the national map.