LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Baylor women’s basketball center Kalani Brown was named to the 2018 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Preseason Top 30 list on Tuesday afternoon. Her inclusion makes her an early front-runner for the most prestigious national player of the year honor.
The junior All-American is off to a strong start pacing Baylor with 25.0 points and a conference-leading 16.5 rebounds per contest through two games. Brown registered back-to-back double-doubles, including the program’s first 20-point, 20-rebound performance since Brittney Griner’s 33-point, 22-rebound effort against No. 23 Florida State on March 26, 2013, in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
In the season-opener against Lamar, Brown finished the game with 26 points and a career-high 21 rebounds. Her 21-rebound effort ties the ninth-most in a single game at Baylor.
Against Coppin State, Brown led the Lady Bears in scoring and rebounding for the second-straight game registering 24 points and 12 rebounds for her 14th career double-double. She missed just one shot from the field (10-11 FGA) and made 4-of-5 free throw attempts to accomplish her ninth career 20-point game.
As a sophomore, Brown led the Lady Bears in scoring (15.4), rebounding (8.2), shot blocking (2.0) and field goal percentage (.679). The WBCA All-American and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American was also a unanimous All-Big 12 first team honoree and Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection in 2017.
The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award Women’s Player of the Year presented by Wendy’s. Players not chosen to the preseason list are eligible for the Wooden Award midseason list, late season list and the National Ballot. The National Ballot consists of 15 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.
Voting will open prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament and will allow voters to take into consideration performance during early round games. The Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2018 John R. Wooden Award will be presented during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 6, 2018.
2018 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Women’s Top 30
Kristine Anigwe – California
Ariel Atkins – Texas
Monique Billings – UCLA
Allazia Blockton – Marquette
Kalani Brown – Baylor
Lexie Brown – Duke
Jordin Canada – UCLA
Napheesa Collier – Connecticut
Sophie Cunningham – Missouri
Asia Durr – Louisville
Katelynn Flaherty – Michigan
Rebecca Greenwell – Duke
Ruthy Hebard – Oregon
Myisha Hines-Allen – Louisville
Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon
Tynice Martin – West Virginia
Brooke McCarty – Texas
Brittany McPhee – Stanford
Kelsey Mitchell – Ohio State
Jaime Nared – Tennessee
Kia Nurse – Connecticut
Arike Ogunbowale – Notre Dame
Mercedes Russell – Tennessee
Katie Lou Samuelson – Connecticut
Azura Stevens – Connecticut
Shakayla Thomas – Florida State
Victoria Vivians – Mississippi State
Morgan William – Mississippi State
Gabby Williams – Connecticut
A’ja Wilson – South Carolina