Preseason Big 12 Women’s Basketball Awards Announced – 10/06/21 01:59 PM
IRVING, Texas – Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith was voted Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year for a second-straight season, as the conference released its preseason awards Wednesday. Smith’s teammate Jordan Lewis was picked as Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Texas’ Aaliyah Moore took Preseason Freshman of the Year honors.
Smith, the reigning Big 12 Player of the Year and WBCA National Player of the Year, was a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection and received an All-America honors by five different entities after the 2021 season. The power forward ranked in the NCAA Top 25 in the top six offensive categories, while leading the Bears in average points, rebounds, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. Smith is the seventh BU player to earn Preseason Player of the Year, the fourth Bear to receive it more than once, and the sixth player in Big 12 history to earn it two or more times.
Baylor also picks up the newcomer award for the second-straight season after Te’a Cooper received the award in 2020. An Alabama graduate transfer, Lewis put up career numbers her senior season, averaging 17.0 points and 4.2 assists per game. She was named to the 2017 SEC All-Freshman Team, received the 2017 SEC Newcomer of the Year from the Associated Press, and earned 2021 All-SEC Second Team honors. Lewis also participated in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships in Las Vegas. She becomes the sixth Baylor player to receive the newcomer award.
A McDonald’s All-American and one of five finalists for the Naismith Trophy National Girls High School Player of the Year, Moore was rated as the No. 5 prospect in the Class of 2021 by Prospects Nation and No. 6 nationally by ESPN. A two-time Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Oklahoma, Moore averaged 25.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots as a senior at Moore (Oklahoma) High School. She converted 54-percent from the floor and 77-percent from the free throw line in 19 games. Moore completed her four-year high school career with 1,803 points and 882, both school records, along with 71 double-doubles. She also won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in the summer of 2019. Moore is the ninth Freshman of the Year honoree for the Texas program.
Smith was tabbed as a unanimous Preseason All-Big 12 selection while Lewis received an honorable mention. Six other Big 12 players join Smith as consensus choices on the preseason squad in Ashley Joens (Iowa State), Ayoka Lee (K-State), Madi Williams (Oklahoma), Lauren Heard (TCU), Vivian Gray (Texas Tech) and Esmery Martinez (WVU). Queen Egbo (Baylor), Lexi Donarski (Iowa State), Holly Kersgieter (KU), Taylor Robertson (Oklahoma) and Joanne Allen Taylor (Texas) round out the rest of the list.
Preseason Player of the Year
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Sr., Converse, Texas
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Jordan Lewis, Baylor, G, 5-7, Gr., Windermere, Fla.
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Aaliyah Moore, Texas, F, 6-1, Fr., Moore, Okla.
Preseason All-Big 12 Team
*NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Sr., Converse, Texas
*Ashley Joens, Iowa State, G/F, 6-0 Sr., Iowa City, Iowa
*Ayoka Lee, K-State, C, 6-6, Jr., Byron, Minn.
*Madi Williams, Oklahoma, G/F, 5-11, Sr., Fort Worth, Texas
*Lauren Heard, TCU, G, 5-9, Gr., Denton, Texas
*Vivian Gray, Texas Tech, G, 6-1, Sr., Argyle, Texas
*Esmery Martinez, West Virginia, F, 6-2, Jr., Hato Mayor Del Rey, Dominican Republic
Queen Egbo, Baylor, C, 6-3, Sr., Houston, Texas
Joanne Allen Taylor, Texas, G, 5-8, Jr., Houston, Texas
Lexi Donarski, Iowa State, G, 6-0, So., LaCrosse, Wis.
Holly Kersgieter, Kansas, G, 5-10, Jr., Sand Springs, Okla.
Taylor Robertson, Oklahoma, G, 5-11, Sr., McPherson, Kan.
*Denotes unanimous selection
A tie for the 10th spot resulted in 12 selections
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school):
Ja’Mee Asberry (Baylor), Jordan Lewis (Baylor), Emily Ryan (Iowa State), Taylen Collins (Oklahoma State), Rori Harmon (Texas), KK Deans (West Virginia), Kari Niblack (West Virginia)