WACO, Texas – The Big 12 Conference announced preseason player, newcomer, and freshman of the year honors for the 2016-17 women’s basketball season in addition to its Preseason All-Big 12 Team Wednesday afternoon. Selections are the result of head coach votes, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.
For the second-straight season, senior Nina Davis was selected as the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year. It is the seventh time a Baylor player has been named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year (Nina Davis – 2015-16, 2016-17; Odyssey Sims - 2013-14; Brittney Griner - 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13; Sophia Young - 2005-06).
Freshman Lauren Cox, who is rated No. 1 in her class by ESPN Hoopgurlz and All Star Girls Report (ASGR), was tabbed Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Along with Davis, senior Alexis Jones received Preseason All-Big 12 Team distinction. Sophomore Kalani Brown was also an Honorable Mention Big 12 selection.
Davis, a three-time All-Big 12 First Team selection and 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year, netted a team-best 16.3 points per game and was one of two to lead the Lady Bears in rebounding, averaging 6.1 boards per contest last season. The two-time All-American has been on three-straight Big 12 All-Tournament Teams and named Most Outstanding Player twice. Davis, who started all 38 games last year, has guided the Lady Bears to Big 12 regular season and tournament titles in three consecutive seasons.
Cox joins the Lady Bears following a successful prep career at Flower Mound High School, where she averaged 21.8 points and 12.7 rebounds per game and led the squad to a 23-7 record and the playoffs as a senior. She was named the 2016 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association High School Player of the Year and lauded a first team Naismith and McDonald’s All-American. Cox is also a two-time Texas Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today’s Texas Player of the Year. The Flower Mound, Texas, native won four gold medals with USA Basketball, earning Most Valuable Player recognition for the Red, White and Blue in the summer of 2016.
Jones had an impact in her first season at Baylor, earning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team, and Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player accolades last year. Starting 34-of-38 games for the Lady Bears, she registered 30 double-digit scoring performances and averaged 15 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. The Irving, Texas, native continued to impress in the postseason, collecting NCAA Dallas Regional All-Tournament Team recognition.
With Davis and Jones’s selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, Baylor has had six duos honored, including Sheila Lambert and Danielle Crockrom (2001-02), Brittney Griner and Melissa Jones (2011-12, 2012-13), Brittney Griner and Odyssey Sims (2011-12, 2012-13), Davis and Niya Johnson (2014-15), and Davis and Jones (2016-17).
Brown appeared in all 38 games as a center last season and scored in double figures 19 times en route to Big 12 All-Freshman Team accolades. The Slidelle, Louisiana, native averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.4 minutes off the bench for the Lady Bears.
2016-17 BIG 12 CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON AWARDS
(Coaches are not allowed to vote for own players)
Preseason Player of the Year
Nina Davis, Senior Forward, Baylor
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Lauren Cox, Freshman Forward, Baylor
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Kristina King, Junior Forward, West Virginia
Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Nina Davis, Senior Forward, Baylor
Alexis Jones, Senior Guard, Baylor
Seanna Johnson, Senior Forward, Iowa State
Breanna Lewis, Senior Forward, Kansas State
Brooke McCarty, Junior Guard, Texas
Honorable Mention All-Big 12 Team
Kalani Brown, Baylor
Peyton Little, Oklahoma
Vionise Pierre-Louis, Oklahoma
Kaylee Jensen, Oklahoma State
Ariel Atkins, Texas
Tynice Martin, West Virginia
Lanay Montgomery, West Virginia