Saturday, December 4, 2021

Malky left as Baylor’s coach, but the Bears are still the Big 12 favorites

Kim Mulky, a longtime women’s basketball coach from Baylor, left for LSU, but the Bears are still the Big 12 favorites.

Malky has led the Bears to three national championships and 23 titles in the regular season and Big 12 tournaments.

Baylor is ranked seventh in the Associated Press preseason rankings. under the guidance of new coach Nicky Collen. The Bears Show Preseason NWN All-American NaLyssa Smith, the Queen Egbo pre-season convention center and several talented transfers.

Smith, who averaged 18.0 points and 8.9 rebounds last season, said expectations within the program have not changed.

“At the end of the day, we are all here to win the national championship,” she said. “I feel that all the changes will not have a big impact on them. We’re all here to play basketball. So in the end we are trying to excel, so this is our biggest goal. ”

Other programs appear to have the potential to end the Bears winning 11 consecutive regular conference championship titles. The states of Iowa and Texas tied for second place in the Big 12 preseason poll, and both received top-spot votes.

In Iowa, defender Ashley Joens is playing, who led the conference and finished fifth in the national rankings with 24.2 points per game last season. Cyclones coach Bill Fennelly considers her to be one of the best players in the country.

“I think it always starts with your backcourt and a great player, and we have that,” he said.

In 12th place, Cyclones also returned to defender Lexi Donarski, who received the title of “12th Freshman of the Year” last season.

Texas, ranked 25th, entered the top eight last season under freshman Vick Schaefer. Point guard Joanne Allen-Taylor is back, and strong recruiting teams are bolstering the program’s hopes.

No. 19 West Virginia was selected fourth. Esmeri Martinez is in the lead with an average of 13.6 points per season at all conferences.

Oklahoma could be a team to watch, even as longtime coach Sherri Cole has retired. Former Drake coach Jenny Baranchyk has taken over the leadership and has high expectations from the outset.

Madi Williams returned after finishing third in the conference with 20.3 points per game. Taylor Robertson returns after averaging 16.0 points and finishing fourth nationwide with 3.6 3 points per game. Another star, Ana Llanusa, skipped last season with an undisclosed injury. In the 2019-2020 season, she averaged 15.4 points and was selected as the second All-Big 12 team a year earlier.

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Baranchyk said the trio have adapted well to her positionless basketball system.

“As a team, I was impressed by their openness,” said Baranchik. “They set their games, they set their names, but they keep working on their game, which is impressive as a new coach trying to implement a different system. They just went for broke. “

Talented newbie

Baylor was named Rookie of the Year in Preseason Assist by Jordan Lewis, who averaged 17 points and 4.2 assists for Alabama last season. She remained the ninth Crimson Tide scorer with 1,464 points and fifth in Alabama history in assists.

TOP TRANSFER

Ja’Me Asberry, who averaged 17 points per game in Oklahoma last season, has moved to Baylor. She threw 42% from the 3-pointers last season.

“Jami has the ability to play both with and without the ball, and it is great for our attacking style,” Collen said when the move was announced. “She’s a tough kid who gets better every year and we can’t wait to see her continue to grow here in Baylor, on and off the set.”

BORDER CROSSING

In Texas, Preseason Freshman of the Year is Alia Moore, who competed for Moore High School in Moore, Oklahoma. She was the Oklahoma Player of the Year on Gatorade for the past two seasons and was one of the nation’s top rookies in her class. In the older age group, she averaged 25.2 points and 11.6 rebounds.

SCORING MACHINE

TCU’s Lauren Hurd is back after finishing second in the Big 12 with 21.2 points per game last season. The graduate student has been part of the first team of the “big 12” for the past two years. Last season, she joined the national conference defense team.

OTHER BEST INCOME

Vivian Gray moved from Oklahoma to Texas Tech as a graduate last season and averaged 19.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Now the 6ft 1 defender is back for another year and is the preseason choice for all conferences.

Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee, 6-6 center, averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds last season, having a league-best record of 62% from the field. Kansas defender Holly Kersgeter averaged 17.4 points last season and threw 85% from the free-throw line last season.

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Follow Cliff Brant on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

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More on NWN Women’s College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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