A lot has changed around the Baylor women’s basketball program, but not the Bears’ status in the Big 12.
The conference released its preseason poll on Thursday and Baylor was in its usual place, predicted with win the Big 12 championship.
Baylor has won 11 consecutive conference titles and 12 overall. That’s the legacy first-year head coach Nicki Collen will be trying to keep going. Collen took over for former Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey in May. Mulkey took the head coaching job at LSU in her home state in April.
The Big 12 also released its preseason all-conference team this week. Baylor was well-represented there as usual as well. Bears senior forward NaLyssa Smith was picked as the conference player of the year, while graduate transfer guard Jordan Lewis was the preseason newcomer of the year.
Other Baylor players on the preseason All-Big 12 squad included senior center Queen Egbo on the first team and Ja’Mee Asberry and Lewis in the honorable mention category.
The Bears open the season versus Texas State on Nov. 9 at the Ferrell Center.
Big 12 preseason women's basketball poll
Team (First-place votes) Points
1. BAYLOR (7) 79
T2. Texas (2) 67
T2. Iowa State (1) 67
4. West Virginia 58
5. Oklahoma 44
6. TCU 32
7. Oklahoma State 30
T8. K-State 26
T8. Texas Tech 26
10. Kansas 17
Note: Coaches cannot vote for their own team.
Big 12 women's basketball preseason awards
Player of the Year: NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Sr.
Newcomer of the Year: Jordan Lewis, Baylor, G, 5-7, Sr. (graduate transfer)
Freshman of the Year: Aaliyah Moore, Texas, F, 6-1, Fr.
Preseason All-Big 12 Team
*NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Sr.
*Ashley Joens, Iowa State, G/F, 6-0 Sr.
*Ayoka Lee, K-State, C, 6-6, Jr.
*Madi Williams, Oklahoma, G/F, 5-11, Sr.
*Lauren Heard, TCU, G, 5-9, Sr. (graduate transfer)
*Vivian Gray, Texas Tech, G, 6-1, Sr.
*Esmery Martinez, West Virginia, F, 6-2, Jr.
Queen Egbo, Baylor, C, 6-3, Sr.
Joanne Allen Taylor, Texas, G, 5-8, Jr.
Lexi Donarski, Iowa State, G, 6-0, So.
Holly Kersgieter, Kansas, G, 5-10, Jr.
Taylor Robertson, Oklahoma, G, 5-11, Sr.
* Unanimous selection // Note: 12 members of the team due to a 10th-place tie.
Honorable Mention: 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)