1. Hopkins: The Class 4A defending state champions boast three of the state's best players, all Division I recruits: seniors Nunu Agara and Taylor Woodson and junior Alivia McGill. The Royals don't have the inside presence they had a year ago, but they won't be lacking inside strength.

2. St. Michael-Albertville: The Knights have five of their top six scorers back, including the top two in senior guard Tessa Johnson and junior guard Ja'Kahla Craft. The state runners-up to Hopkins in 2022 struggled to beat the state's best teams last year and need to get over that hump.

3. Eden Prairie: Coach Ellen Wiese would have four players back who started at one point from a 23-5 group if she hadn't lost 6-2 senior forward Savanna Jones for the season to a knee injury. Eden Prairie will be looking to make amends for its loss at the buzzer in the Section 2 championship last year.

4. Minnetonka: The Skippers have young talent coming through the system, but it might be a year away. They could use a season to get accustomed to new coach Brian Cosgriff, former Hopkins mentor. Four of their five losses last season were to Hopkins and Eden Prairie.

5. Maple Grove: Is this the season the Crimson return to the state tournament? They have come up short since 2019 despite compiling a 63-15 record in that span. Coach Mark Cook's squad is coming off a 24-5 season in which it lost to Roseville in the Section 5 championship game.

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

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

9. East Ridge: The Raptors have been gradually climbing the ladder, only to come up short of reaching the state tournament. They are looking to make that initial trip this season. Six of their top seven scorers from the 20-8 group of last season are back for coach Ashley Ellis-Milan.

10. Lakeville North: A state tournament entrant six of the past seven years is in line to go again. Coach Shelly Clemons has her top three scorers returning, two of whom are juniors. The Panthers are strong defensively and need to improve offensively.