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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Iowa State’s Joens named Big 12 Player of the Year, four Cyclones earn honors

AMES, Iowa – Ashley Joens has been named the 2022-23 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, highlighting the Cyclones’ honors in the Big 12 Postseason Awards announced on Monday. Joens, who was also a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection for the fourth time in her career, is the second player in Iowa State history to earn conference Player of the Year, joining 2019 Big 12 Player of the Year Bridget Carleton.

Also collecting honors on Monday was Emily Ryan (All-Big 12 Second Team), Lexi Donarski All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, Big 12 All-Defensive Team) and Denae Fritz (Big 12 All-Freshman Team).

For Joens, this was one of the few awards not in her expansive collection of honors during her Iowa State career, but has now been checked off the list. Joens leads the Big 12 in scoring at 21.0 points per game (21.9 ppg in league play) and ranks third in rebounding at 9.4 per game (9.6 in conference games). She has three games with at least 30 points, 16 with at least 20 and 13 double-doubles. Joens finished the season, going for at least 20 in ISU’s last six games, and posting four double-doubles in that run.

Ryan earned All-Big 12 honors for a second-straight season after being on the All-Big 12 First Team last year. The junior point guard demonstrated her all-around game throughout the season, averaging 10.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. She was a reliable shooter across all parts of the floor as well, splitting with a shooting line of .444/.375/.920

Donarski became the first Cyclone to earn Big 12 All-Defensive Team multiple times, with her lockdown defense on the perimeter helping hold her primary assignment over 40 percent below their scoring output heading into the contest. On offense, she scored in double figures 19 times on the season, ranking third on the Cyclones at 12.1 points per game.

Fritz’s appearance on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team marks the fourth time in the last five years a Cyclone has appeared on the squad, as she becomes the fifth member of this current Iowa State team to have earned All-Freshman Team honors (Joens, Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw, Ryan and Donarski). Fritz averaged 8.8 points per game, but made a step up in Big 12 play to average 9.6 points per game with shooting splits of .418/.357/.897 against conference opponents.

The Cyclones begin the Phillips 66 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship on Friday at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City against Baylor. Tip will be at 7:30 p.m. on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Player of the Year: Ashley Joens, Iowa State
Defensive Player of the Year: Rori Harmon, Texas
Freshman of the Year: Darianna Littlepage-Buggs, Baylor*
Newcomer of the Year: Shaylee Gonzales, Texas
Sixth Player Award: Skylar Vann, Oklahoma
Coach of the Year: Vic Schaefer, Texas
*-unanimous selection

All-Big 12 First Team
Sarah Andrews, Baylor
Ashley Joens, Iowa State*
Zakiyah Franklin, Kansas
Taiyanna Jackson, Kansas*
Gabby Gregory, Kansas State
Madi Williams, Oklahoma*
Naomie Alnatas, Oklahoma State
DeYona Gaston, Texas
Rori Harmon, Texas
Bre’Amber Scott, Texas Tech
JJ Quinerly, West Virginia*
*-unanimous selection
A tie resulted in 11 selections on the First Team

All-Big 12 Second Team
Caitlin Bickle, Baylor
Emily Ryan, Iowa State
Ana Llanusa, Oklahoma
Taylor Robertson, Oklahoma
Shaylee Gonzales, Texas

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention:
Darianna Littlepage-Buggs (Baylor), Lexi Donarski (Iowa State), Holly Kersgieter (Kansas), Serena Sundell (Kansas State), Skylar Vann (Oklahoma), Bryn Gerlich (Texas Tech), Madisen Smith (West Virginia)

Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Caitlin Bickle, Baylor
Lexi Donarski, Iowa State
Taiyanna Jackson, Kansas*
Rori Harmon, Texas*
JJ Quinerly, West Virginia
*-unanimous selection

Big 12 All-Freshman Team
Bella Fontleroy, Baylor*
Darianna Littlepage-Buggs, Baylor*
Denae Fritz, Iowa State
Beatrice Culliton, Oklahoma
Amina Muhammad, Texas
Bailey Maupin, Texas Tech
A tie resulted in six selections on the All-Freshman Team
*-unanimous selection


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