Nobody had an answer for Kalani Brown. The junior center has scored in double figures in every contest but one this season, and that came at Oklahoma when Brown was mired in foul trouble.
Her field goal percentage has been one of the best in the nation all season. Brown has been able to be so efficient offensively by her placement when she catches the basketball. Defenders are toast when Brown catches the ball with at least one foot inside the lane.
Due to her conditioning, she was able to beat most of her defenders down the floor to get set up in her spot. But Brown is also able to work inside. She’s a great player with her back to the basket, with a bevvy of post moves to choose from.
However, that’s not all she can do. Brown can also play face up. She’s got a jump shot, too, that she can hit around the free throw line.
None of the other Big 12 coaches have been able to figure out how to contain the Baylor big as Brown is averaging a double double with 19.7 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest entering Saturday’s Big 12 game against Kansas State.
It’s not all offense though as Brown is a factor defensively. She’s got 35 blocks on the season in addition to a team-high 135 defensive rebounds.
Earlier in the week, Brown was named the unanimous Big 12 Player of the Week as voted on by the league’s coaches.
“I’m just blessed,” Brown said. “Overwhelmed still all my teammates texting me welcome to the club. I’m excited. Overwhelming, just blessed and thanking God right now.”
Coach of the Year: Kim Mulkey
With a roster of 10 to start the year and only two seniors and a junior, Kim Mulkey has led this Baylor team to the program’s second-best start to a season at 29-1. And the Lady Bears have done so in dominant fashion with a roster of 10 players that has recently been cut down to eight.
Against the nine ranked teams Baylor has faced so far, the Lady Bears won eight of them by an average of 17.1 points and outrebounded them by 16.
There is no drop off with this team either, one that leads the country in field goal percentage defense and is second in field goal percentage.
Defensive Player of the Year: Lauren Cox
Lauren Cox is the long arm of the law for the Lady Bears defensively. If she can reach the shot, she swats it.
Brown described the way Cox blocks a shot as, “aggressive,” and said she likes it when the rejected ball flies into the stands.
Cox has that ability to destroy someone’s soul with her blocks. It’s not so much of a tipped ball than it is a volleyball kill. While her play anchors the Baylor defense from the inside, she’s also able to defend on the perimeter.
That has been as asset for this Lady Bear team when opponents try to pull out a forward or two to get the Baylor bigs out from the paint. Cox is able to defend just as well out there.
Newcomer of the Year: Loryn Goodwin
Goodwin was named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year when she played at North Texas before she was named Conference USA’s Newcomer of the Year last season at UTSA. This year, the graduate transfer leads the Big 12 with 21.1 points per game and is fourth in the league with 5.3 assists per contest. She also leads the Big 12 with 3.5 steals per game.
Three times this season Goodwin has been named the Big 12 Player of the Week.
Freshman of the Year: Shaina Pellington
Pellington was the Big 12’s leading scorer among freshmen at 13.1 points per game. The guard finished the regular season ranked second in the country with a 49.5 field goal percentage. She put up six 20-point scoring performances this season.
The Ontario, Canada native came to Oklahoma as the fifth-ranked international prospect and the No. 1 point guard prospect from overseas by Prospect Nation.
Sixth Woman of the Year: Amy Okonkwo
Okonkwo came off the bench for TCU and averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 rebounds. The junior is TCU’s leading scorer and can make it from inside or outside. Okonkwo, at 6-2, is shooting 51.9 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from the 3-point line.
She is also deadly from the free-throw line as she leads the Big 12 with a 90.2 percentage from the charity stripe.