Baylor Athletics Press Release:
WACO, Texas – The Baylor women’s basketball team swept the annual Preseason All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Awards and landed three on the 2020-21 Preseason Team the league announced, Wednesday. The league’s coaches recognized junior NaLyssa Smith as the Preseason Player of the Year, graduate transfer DiJonai Carrington as Preseason Newcomer of the Year and Sarah Andrews as the Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Joining Smith on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team were senior guard DiDi Richards and junior center Queen Egbo.
Smith’s selection as Preseason Player of the Year marked the sixth-straight season that a Lady Bears player has earned the honor, and she is the 11th player in school history to win the award. Smith, an All-Big 12 First-Team selection last season, led Baylor in scoring average at 14.3 points per game, she grabbed 8.0 rebounds per contest and she shot 58.6 percent from the floor. Smith was an honorable mention All-America selection last season by both the Associated Press and the WBCA.
Carrington, a graduate transfer from Stanford, became the second-straight Baylor player (Te’a Cooper) to earn the Preseason Newcomer of the Year Award, and she was the seventh player in program history to be named. The 5-11 two-guard played just five games for the Cardinal last season and received a medical hardship after suffering a knee injury. As a junior in 2018-19, she was an All-Pac 12 Team selection after averaging 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 steals for Stanford’s Elite 8 team.
Andrews, from Irving, Texas, was the No. 7-ranked overall recruit and No. 2 point guard in 2020 recruiting class, ranked by espnW’s Hoopgurlz. She was a three-time All-State selection by the TGCA in her career, and she was named a High School All-American by Naismith, the WBCA and Jordan Brand. She averaged 14.4 points and 6.0 assists her senior season at MacArthur High School on the way to District 6-6A MVP honors. Andrews is the seventh player in Baylor history to earn Preseason Freshman of the Year honors from the Big 12.
Richards, a senior from Cypress, was the National Defensive Player of the Year in 2019-20, collecting the hardware from both the WBCA and Naismith. She was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and an All-Big 12 Second-Team selection. Richards averaged career bests in points (8.2), rebounds (4.9), and steals per game (1.7) while leading the Lady Bears with a 77.5 percent effort from the free-throw line.
Egbo, a junior from Houston, Texas, was named the Big 12 Sixth Person of the Year Award winner last season after averaging 10.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 0.9 steals per contest. She shot a team-best .604 from the field, and she collected those numbers in just 18.5 minutes per contest.
Baylor finished the season at 28-2 in 2019-20 while posting a 17-1 Big 12 record. The Lady Bears won their 10th-straight Big 12 Regular Season Championship, the program’s 11th title overall before the postseason was cut short due to COVID-19.
The Lady Bears conducted their first official practice of 2020-21 Tuesday with all 10 players active. Scheduling for the 2020-21 season is not solidified, but the Lady Bears plan to play both a non-conference and Big 12 schedule in the upcoming season.
2020-21 BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON AWARDS
(coaches not allowed to vote for own players)
Preseason Player of the Year
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor, F, 6-2, Jr., Converse, Texas
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
DiJonai Carrington, Baylor, G, 5-11, Gr., San Diego, Calif.
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Sarah Andrews, Baylor, G, 5-6, Irving, Texas
Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Name School Pos Ht Cl-Exp PPG RPG Hometown
Queen Egbo Baylor C 6-3 Jr.-2L 10.8 6.8 Houston, Texas
DiDi Richards Baylor G 6-1 Sr.-3L 8.2 4.9 Cypress, Texas
NaLyssa Smith* Baylor F 6-2 Jr.-2L 14.3 8.0 Converse, Texas
Ashley Joens* Iowa State G/F 6-0 Jr.-2L 21.1 10.7 Iowa City, Iowa
Ayoka Lee* Kansas State C 6-6 So.-1L 15.7 11.4 Byron, Minn.
Taylor Robertson Oklahoma G 5-7 Jr.-2L 19.1 3.1 McPherson, Kan.
Natasha Mack* Oklahoma State F 6-4 Sr.-1L 17.6 12.5 Lufkin, Texas
Lauren Heard* TCU G 5-9 Sr.-3L 18.4 6.6 Denton, Texas
Charli Collier* Texas F/C 6-5 Jr.-2L 13.1 10.5 Mont Belvieu, Texas
Vivian Gray Texas Tech G 6-1 Sr.-TR 19.3^ 4.9 Argyle, Texas
* – Unanimous Selection.
^ – Stats are from the 2019-20 season at Oklahoma State.
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school)
Kristin Scott (Iowa State), Zakiyah Franklin (Kansas), Holly Kersgieter (Kansas), Rachel Ranke (Kansas State), Ana Llanusa (Oklahoma), Madi
Williams (Oklahoma), Celeste Taylor (Texas), Chrislyn Carr (Texas Tech), Kysre Gondrezick (West Virginia) and Kari Niblack (West Virginia).