Baylor forward NaLyssa Smith and Iowa State forward Ashley Joens are the two Big 12 players on the 2022 Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Semifinal List released Wednesday.
Smith was the Heartland College Sports Big 12 Player of the Year and is the defending Wade Trophy winner, which is given to women’s college basketball’s best player. She has 21 double-doubles this season, which is second in Baylor history, and is fifth in the country. She leads the Bears with 22.3 points and 11.7 rebounds going into the Big 12 Tournament, which starts on Thursday in Kansas City. The Bears will play their first game on Friday.
Smith was also the unanimous selection as Big 12 Player of the Year by the league’s coaches, becoming the fifth player in Big 12 history to do so.
Joens passed Angie Welle earlier this season to become the leading scorer in Iowa State history with 2,261 career points going into the Big 12 Tournament. She’s also No. 4 in ISU history with 1,025 career rebounds.
Joens earned selection to the Heartland College Sports All-Big 12 First Team after she helped the Cyclones to a Top 10 national ranking. She leads the team with 20 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, shot a career-best 37.2 percent from the 3-point line and had a career-best 2.2 assists per game.
The winner of the award will be announced on April 2.
2022 Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Semifinalists
(Big 12 Players in Bold)
Aliyah Boston, South Carolina
Cameron Brink, Stanford
Caitlin Clark, Iowa
Elissa Cunane, NC State
Naz Hillmon, Michigan
Rhyne Howard, Kentucky
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
Haley Jones, Stanford
Elizabeth Kitley, Virginia Tech
NaLyssa Smith, Baylor
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.