October 29, 2021 

WATCH: Missy Heidrick reports from 2021-22 Big 12 media day

Key takeaways and names to remember for the upcoming season

KANSAS CITY — The 2021-22 college basketball season is right around the corner, with games starting in just a few days.  Conferences all across the country displayed their basketball coaches and players during media days this month.  The Big 12 Women’s Tip-off was held in Kansas City, home of the 2022 Big 12 Conference Women’s Championship and there was a host of interesting storylines and players to highlight.

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There will be two new faces on the sidelines in the Big 12 this year – Nicki Collen at Baylor and Jennie Baranczyk at Oklahoma, both of whom replace legendary coaches and are looking to put their style and system in place this year.  The coaches in the Big 12 know that they have top talent and each one of them takes pride in the history of the Big 12 and it being of the best conferences in the nation.  Look for the Big 12/SEC Challenge this year to test Big 12 teams but also showcase how good this league really can be going forward.

There were seven young women unamamiously selected to the All-Big 12 Preseason Team, including outstanding all around players like Ashley Joens of Iowa State, Esmery Martinez of West Virginia and Madi Williams of OU.  Fans are in for a treat with the return of many super seniors in this Big 12, including two high-scoring and entertaining guards in Vivian Gray of Texas Tech and Lauren Heard of TCU.  NaLyssa Smith of Baylor was chosen Preseason Player of the Year and a new face to Texas was selected Freshman of the Year, Aaliyah Moore.  

Baylor is again the team to beat in the Big 12, picked first in the preseason poll, but look for Texas, Iowa State and West Virginia to be in the mix and never look past Oklahoma State.  There will be no easy games on the schedule once the calendar turns to 2022 – as it is every year in the Big 12.

Written by Missy Heidrick

I am a retired Kansas State shooting guard and spent almost 20 years working in Higher Education and Division 1 athletics. I am currently a basketball analyst for television and radio, contributing correspondent at The Next, Locked on Women's Basketball podcast host, WBB Naismith Award board of selectors member and run my own consulting business. I am a proud mother of two and wife to a patient husband who is almost as big of a sports junkie as I am!

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