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Big 12 players to watch in 2022-23

Iowa State Cyclone Ashley Joens is poised to become a Top 5 player in the nation and will be joined in the Big 12 by Missouri transfer Aijha Blackwell, Oklahoma star Madi Williams, sophomore sensation Rori Harmon and plenty of other talent.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 25 Div I Women’s Championship - Sweet Sixteen - Iowa State v Creighton
Ashley Joens
Getty Images

Swish Appeal takes you through the power conferences’ players to watch entering the 2022-23 NCAAW season. Here’s the first installment in our series: the Big 12.

Sarah Andrews

5-foot-6 junior guard for the No. 18 Baylor Bears

Andrews got off to a slow start as a freshman after being the No. 12 Hoop Gurlz recruit in the class of 2020. But last year, as a sophomore, she became a key contributor for the Bears. She was third on the team in scoring with 11.1 points per game and second in distributing with 4.5 assists. Also of note is her 3-point shooting. She excelled at that both years and is shooting 38.9 percent from downtown for her career.

Ja’Mee Asberry

5-foot-5 5th year guard for the No. 18 Baylor Bears

Asberry led Baylor in minutes played last year, which shows just how valuable she is. She is capable of being an even better scorer than she was last year; her career-best of 17 points per game came in 2020-21 at Oklahoma State. Though she only averaged 9.5 points in 2021-22, Asberry fulfilled her role as a 3-point shooter, making 80 treys — good for second all-time in a single season at Baylor.

Aijha Blackwell (Baylor)

5-foot-11 senior guard for the No. 18 Baylor Bears

Of the three transfers on this list, Blackwell is arguably the best; she makes Baylor a scary team in spite of the departures of NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo and Jordan Lewis. She actually missed her Missouri Tigers’ memorable upset of South Carolina last year, but was clearly Missouri’s best player. She is battle-tested from playing in the SEC. She is listed as a guard, but puts up what would be prolific rebounding numbers for a big. She has now averaged a double-double two years in a row and her 13.1 boards per game in 2021-22 set a Missouri single-season record.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 05 SEC Women’s Tournament - Tennessee vs Missouri
Aijha Blackwell (with ball)
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dre’Una Edwards

6-foot redshirt senior forward for the No. 18 Baylor Bears

Baylor has another star transfer in Edwards. She is now most known for her shot to beat South Carolina in the SEC championship game, but she had been a worthy supporting star to Rhyne Howard for quite a while before that. She averaged 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds last year and led Kentucky by shooting 52.1 percent from the field. She wasn’t bad in her first stop in college either, winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year while at Utah.

Lexi Donarski

6-foot junior guard for the No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones

Donarski came in as the No. 14 Hoop Gurlz recruit in 2020 and was second on the team in scoring in both of her underclass years. She has been a great scoring guard to complement distributing guard Emily Ryan (her classmate) and small forward scoring machine Ashley Joens. She shot 41.1 percent from distance as a freshman and made 88 triples as a sophomore. For her career she has 141 treys at a 38.5 percent clip.

Ashley Joens

6-foot-1 5th year guard/forward for the No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones

Joens is in line to become a Top 5 player in the nation and a Top 5 pick in the 2023 WNBA Draft. We’ve written about her a lot at Swish Appeal over the last four years, including in Eric Nemchock’s series on WNBA prospects. She can drive or shoot the three, likes to back down on defenders before deciding how to beat them and has 2,369 points and counting. She will no longer be playing with her sister Aubrey, who transferred to Oklahoma, but expect her to leave it all on the line for one more run at a national championship with the Cyclones.

Emily Ryan

5-foot-11 junior guard for the No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones

Ryan’s assist accolades from last year are just silly. She was third in the country in helpers per game (7.1), set the Iowa State record for most total assists in one year (249) and was tied for ninth in that category in Big 12 history. She had games of 17, 16 and 15 assists, with the 17 being the best-ever mark for a Cyclone and the 15 coming with zero turnovers. She can now clearly be labeled as one of those high-volume assist-getters and is only going to get better as a junior.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 25 Div I Women’s Championship - Sweet Sixteen - Iowa State v Creighton
Emily Ryan
Getty Images

Holly Kersgieter

5-foot-11 senior guard for the Kansas Jayhawks

The scoring was down a bit for Kersgieter last year, but she led the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game after leading it with 17 in 2020-21. She is a career 37 percent 3-point shooter with 144 makes over three years. She made the All-Big 12 First Team last year and the 2022-23 preseason All-Big 12 Team.

Serena Sundell

6-foot-1 sophomore guard for the Kansas State Wildcats

Sundell had a great freshman year, averaging 10.6 points (second on K-State to Ayoka Lee) and 5.3 assists (first). The Wildcats’ third- and fourth-leading scorers last year were also freshmen (the Glenn twins, Brylee and Jaelyn). It will be a tall task for Sundell and the rest of that supporting cast to step up in place of Lee, who will be out all season following knee surgery.

Taylor Robertson

5-foot-11 5th year guard for the No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners

Robertson is the all-time Big 12 leader in made threes with 446. She is a flat-out sharpshooter who has shot 40 percent or better from deep in each of her four collegiate seasons. Her career best of 46.7 percent came as a freshman when she made 105 triples.

Madi Williams

5-foot-11 5th year forward for the No. 15 Oklahoma Sooners

In 2021, Williams set a record for most points scored by a Sooner in a single game with 45. Robertson is the team’s go-to 3-point shooter, but Williams is the best all-around scorer. She has now led Oklahoma in scoring two years in a row.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 15 Women’s - Sam Houston State at Oklahoma
Madi Williams (jersey #25)
Photo by Torrey Purvey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Shaylee Gonzales

5-foot-10 redshirt senior guard for the No. 3 Texas Longhorns

The two-time reigning WCC Player of the Year is now in the Big 12 and she has the Texas Longhorns ranked No. 3 in the nation. Gonzales became less of a 3-point shooter last year, but still piled on the points like she did in her other two seasons playing at BYU. She is also a good distributor with 4.2 assists per game on her career.

Rori Harmon (No. 3 Texas)

5-foot-6 sophomore guard for the No. 3 Texas Longhorns

Harmon is quick, a great floor general and a deadly mid-range shooter. She didn’t disappoint as a freshman after being the No. 10 Hoop Gurlz recruit in the class of 2021, averaging 11.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, five assists and 2.4 steals per game. She is battle-tested from last season’s NCAA Tournament, in which she had a clutch Sweet Sixteen as well as 14 points, seven rebounds and six helpers in Texas’ Elite Eight loss to Stanford.

Texas v Stanford
Rori Harmon (left) with Texas head coach Vic Schaefer.
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Aaliyah Moore (No. 3 Texas)

Moore is another highly-ranked recruit (No. 6 on Hoop Gurlz) out of the class of 2021 and is expected to do big things. She averaged just 12.9 minutes and six points per game last year, but watch out for her this year. She has been named to the preseason All-Big 12 Team.