Five Big 12 players — including Iowa State guard/forward Ashley Joens — are on the watch list for the 2023 Cheryl Miller Award, given to the nation’s best small forward.
The other Big 12 players on the list are Baylor’s Aijya Blackwell, Oklahoma’s Madi Williams, Oklahoma State’s Lior Garzon and Texas’ Shay Holle.
Joens has won the last two awards. She is Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer entering the season. Joens averaged 20.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game last season and spent part of her summer playing internationally with Team USA’s 3×3 team.
Blackwell transferred to Baylor from Missouri. Last season for the Tigers she averaged 14.9 points and 13.1 rebounds in 31 minutes per game as she earned All-SEC Second Team honors.
Williams returns for the Sooners after earning All-Big 12 First Team honors a season ago. She was a Miller Award finalist last season after she averaged team-highs 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds, as well as 2.6 assists and 1.4 steals. She led the Sooners in rebounds for the fourth straight season, something only Courtney Paris had done.
Garzon transferred to Oklahoma State from Villanova after last season. She was the BIG EAST Co-Most Improved Player last year after scoring 13 points and grabbing 4.1 rebounds for the Wildcats last season.
Holle emerged as a starter midway through last season for the Longhorns, who went to the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight for the second straight season. She averaged 3.7 points in 16.1 minutes per game.
The award is named for Miller, the three-time Naismith Player of the Year and Class of 1995 Hall of Famer. The annual award in its sixth year recognizes the top small forwards in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.
2023 Cheryl Miller Award Watch List
Aijha Blackwell, Baylor
Madi Williams, Oklahoma
Elizabeth Balogun, Duke
Lior Garzon, Oklahoma State
Jordyn Merritt, Florida
Brea Beal, South Carolina
Grace Berger, Indiana
Myah Selland, South Dakota State
Ashley Joens, Iowa State
Haley Jones, Stanford
Morgan Jones, Louisville
Rickea Jackson, Tennessee
Shyanne Sellers, Maryland
Shay Holle, Texas
Mimi Collins, NC State
Caroline Ducharme, UConn
Skyler Gill, North Alabama
Gianna Kneepkens, Utah
Alyssa Ustby, North Carolina
Taylor Soule, Virginia Tech
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard