WACO, Texas – For the eighth time in program history and the third year in a row, a Baylor women’s basketball player was selected Preseason Player of the Year as announced by the Big 12 Conference office on Wednesday morning.
Returning junior All-American Kalani Brown earned the honor for the first time in her career in addition to being named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team. Two more Lady Bears, sophomore Lauren Cox and senior Kristy Wallace, were recognized by league coaches as Preseason All-Big 12 honorable mention selections.
Brown received WBCA All-American and Associated Press Honorable Mention accolades in addition to being named unanimously to the All-Big 12 First Team and All-Big 12 Defensive Team last season. The 6-7 post led the Lady Bears in scoring (15.4 per game), rebounding (8.2 per game), shot blocking (2.0 per game) and field goal percentage (.679), despite averaging just 21.4 minutes per game. Her impressive field goal percentage also paced the Big 12 and shattered Baylor’s single season record of .619.
The Slidell, La., native set or matched career-best performances last year as well, including a 35-point performance at No. 6/8 Texas, which led the comeback charge for the Lady Bears, and a 19-rebound effort against No. 9/9 UCLA, the 10th-most recorded in a single game in program history. Brown scored 20 points or more eight times, four against ranked opponents, and registered a team-high 11 double-doubles.
In her collegiate debut season, Cox secured four Big 12 Freshman of the Week honors en route to unanimous Big 12 All-Freshman Team and Big 12 Sixth Man Award accolades. She averaged 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and earned the reputation of a dominant shot-blocker, recording 1.4 stuffs per game.
The Flower Mound, Texas, native owned the third-highest three-point field goal percentage at Baylor last season, netting 7-of-17 attempts (.412). Cox, who appeared in all 37 games with one start, scored in double figures 12 times and led the Lady Bears in blocks nine times.
Wallace, who started all 37 games at guard for Baylor, led the team and was second in the conference in assists (5.6 per game) and steals (1.3 per game). Her 208 assists mark the fifth-highest single season total in Lady Bear history.
The Loganholme, Queensland, Australia, native collected Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team recognition after averaging 11.3 points, 9.0 assists, 8.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest and breaking the tournament’s single game assists record with 15 against No. 24/RV Kansas State. Wallace was also named most valuable player of the Gulf Coast Showcase after recording 8.3 points, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game in the three-game set.
The Lady Bears begin official practice on Oct. 13, at 1:30 p.m. (CT), inside the Ferrell Center. After playing exhibition games against Tarleton State on Oct. 31 and against Washburn on Nov. 6, Baylor opens the regular season against Lamar on Nov. 10 in Waco.
Several ticket packages, including season tickets, are available for purchase through the Baylor Athletics Ticket Office. To make a purchase, visit www.baylorbears.com/tickets anytime or call during regular business hours at 254-710-1000.
2017-18 Big 12 Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Awards
(Based on coach vote, coaches are not allowed to vote for own players)
Preseason Player of the Year
Kalani Brown, Baylor
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Jatarie White, Texas
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Chasity Patterson, Texas
Preseason All-Big 12 Team
Kalani Brown, Baylor
Kaylee Jensen, Oklahoma State
Ariel Atkins, Texas
Brooke McCarty, Texas
Tynice Martin, West Virginia