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Baylor WBB Boasts Several Preseason Honors

Baylor's NaLyssa Smith celebrates after winning an NCAA college basketball game against West...
Baylor's NaLyssa Smith celebrates after winning an NCAA college basketball game against West Virginia in the final round of the Big 12 Conference tournament in Kansas City, Mo, Sunday, March 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)(Charlie Riedel | AP)
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 4:21 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - The Baylor women’s basketball team received a pair of annual Preseason All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Awards and landed two on the 2021-22 Preseason Team, the conference announced on Wednesday. The conference’s coaches recognized senior NaLyssa Smith as the Player of the Year and graduate transfer Jordan Lewis as the Newcomer of the Year.

Joining Smith on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team was Queen Egbo, while Lewis and junior Ja’Mee Asberry were honorable mention selections.

Smith’s selection as Preseason Player of the Year marked the seventh-straight season that a Baylor Bear earned the honor, and she is the 12th player in school history to receive the accolade. The senior forward had one of the most decorated single-season performances in Baylor women’s basketball history a year ago as she earned the WBCA’s National Player of the Year award by taking home the Wade Trophy. Additionally, Smith was named an All-American by five different entities, including four first-team selections.

The reigning Big 12 Player of the Year averaged a team-best 18.0 points and 8.9 rebounds per game to go with a 56.1 field-goal percentage on the season in 2020-21.

Lewis, a graduate transfer from Alabama, becomes the third-straight Baylor player (Te’a Cooper and DiJonai Carrington) to earn the Preseason Newcomer of the Year Award, and she is the eighth player in program history to be named. The Windermere, Fla., native put up career numbers in her senior season at Alabama, averaging a career-best 17.0 points and 4.2 assists per game as she shot 39.0 percent from the floor and 34.6 percent from the perimeter.

Egbo was named a WBCA/Naismith Lisa Leslie Award Final Five member for the nation’s top center a year ago as she averaged career-bests in points (11.1), rebounds (8.6) and blocks per game (1.9). The Houston native moved to ninth all-time on Baylor’s career list for blocks with 56 as a junior, bringing her total to 120 in three seasons.

Asberry transferred from Oklahoma State, where she was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team after she averaged a career-best 17.0 points per game. The Tulsa, Okla., native shot .419 percent from behind the arc, ranking second in the Big 12 in 3-point field goal percentage and 3-pointers made.

Baylor finished the 2020-21 season 28-3, and the Bears won their 11th-straight Big 12 regular-season championship.

2021-22 BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON AWARDS

(coaches not allowed to vote for own players)

Preseason Player of the YearNaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Sr., Converse, Texas

Preseason Newcomer of the YearJordan Lewis, Baylor, G, 5-7, Gr., Windermere, Fla.

Preseason Freshman of the YearAaliyah 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)

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