Baylor University Press Release
By: Kyle Robarts
WACO, Texas – Baylor junior power forward NaLyssa Smith earned a spot on the 2021 National Ballot for the John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced Saturday. Smith joins 14th other college basketball elites who are candidates for the Wooden Award All-American Team and Wooden Award Trophy.
The Wooden Award Trophy recognizes the most outstanding college basketball player in the United States. Brittney Griner was a two-time winner of the trophy in 2012 and 2013, and five Lady Bears have landed eight All-America selections from the John Wooden Award in its history.
Smith has started all 22 games for the No. 6-ranked Baylor Lady Bears at power forward and leads the team in a myriad of offensive categories. Her team-leading 18.1 points per contest ranks 9th in the Big 12 while her 9.3 rebounds a game is fourth in the league. She leads Baylor in both field goal percentage (.535, 2nd in Big 12) and free-throw percentage (.817, 5th in Big 12).
The junior from Converse, Texas has 20-straight games with double-figure points to go along with nine double-doubles on the season. Her 3.32 offensive rebounds per contest ranks third in the Big 12, and she surpassed the 1,000-career points mark vs. Texas, Feb. 14. She ranks fifth all-time on Baylor’s career list for field-goal percentage at a .552 clip.
Smith’s junior season is proving to live up to the hype that saw her earn Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year honors along with an honorable mention All-America nod from the Associated Press. She is on the short, 11-person list, for the Naismith Trophy Award for nation’s top player, and she’s still in contention for national player of the year honors as a Wade Trophy semifinalist.
The finalists for the 2021 Wooden Award will be announced March 26 with voting taking place from March 16-23.