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Baylor’s NaLyssa Smith repeats as top Big 12 women’s player

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Posted at 10:37 PM, Mar 07, 2022

Baylor standout NaLyssa Smith is the Big 12 women’s basketball player of the year for the second season in a row, this time by a unanimous vote of the league’s coaches that was announced Monday.

Smith is averaging 22.3 points and 11.7 rebounds for fourth-ranked Baylor, which won its 12th consecutive regular-season Big 12 title. Smith is the league’s top rebounder and second-leading scorer.

Brandon Schneider was named coach of the year after Kansas won 20 games for the first time since 2013. The Jayhawks, picked to finish last in the preseason poll, instead were fifth in the standings and have their best seed for the conference tournament since 2000.

Iowa State’s Lexi Donarski was tabbed the league’s top defensive player. Baylor’s Jordan Lewis, a transfer from Alabama, was picked as the league’s best newcomer.

Smith scored a career-high 35 points with 12 rebounds Sunday when Baylor clinched the outright Big 12 title. It came after she had a career-best 20 rebounds in her previous game. She has 21 double-doubles this season, including six of the last seven games.

The last player named the Big 12 player of the year in consecutive seasons was Brittney Griner with three in a row from 2011-13.