October 7, 2022 

Iowa State reigns over Big 12 Preseason Awards

Returning talent dominates preseason selections

The Big 12 announced preseason rankings and awards for the 2022-2023 season and saw the Iowa State Cyclones top the rankings at number one. This is the first time since the 2000-2001 season that the Cyclones have topped the preseason rankings. 

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Reigning Big 12 Tournament champion Texas placed one point behind the Cyclones, landing the Longhorns in second. Oklahoma and the running regular season champions Baylor, which has won twelve consecutive regular season championships, also received one first-place vote. Oklahoma and Baylor placed third and fourth respectively. 

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The Cyclones are led by Ashley Joens who was selected as the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year. Joens, who averaged 20.3 points per game last season, is no stranger to awards. The Cyclone star has won the Cheryl Miller Award for the best small forward in the nation for two consecutive seasons.

Madi Williams attacks while dribbling with her right hand, shielding it from a defender.
Oklahoma wing Madi Williams had a 25-point, 14-rebound double-double in a top-20 win. (Photo credit: Oklahoma Athletics)

Joens was also named as a unanimous selection to the preseason All-Big 12 team. She is joined by Madi Williams and Taylor Robertson from Oklahoma and Rori Harmon from Texas as unanimous selections. 

Filling out the remainder of the preseason All-Big 12 team are Baylor’s Sarah Andrews and Aijha Blackwell, Iowa State’s Lexi Donarski and Emily Ryan, Kansas’ Holly Kersgieter and Kansas State’s Serena Sundell. TCU, Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas Tech did not have a player selected for a preseason award.

Baylor’s Aijha Blackwell was selected as the preseason Newcomer of the Year. Blackwell transferred to Baylor over the summer from Missouri. She averaged 15.4 and is a notorious attacker of the glass, averaging 13 rebounds per game at just 6′ tall. 

The Bears took home both awards given to newcomers, with Darianna Littlepage-Buggs winning the preseason Freshman of the Year. The former five-star recruit out of Edmond, Oklahoma will be looking to help fill the gap left by NaLyssa Smith leaving for the WNBA.

Written by Tyler DeLuca

Tyler DeLuca has been contributing to The Next team since May 2022. Tyler currently is the Big 12 beat writer for The Next. Tyler's work is also featured on Twitter with The Committee, hosting the "Art of the Paint" podcast and on Gameday U Hoops throughout the college season.

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