Women’s basketball opens 2023-24 among the top 25 for the 19th straight year
As Baylor women’s basketball begins their final half-season in the Ferrell Center, they’ll begin the year in a familiar place: ranked among the top 25 nationally.
Head coach Nicki Collen’s squad will open the 2023-24 season ranked 19th and 20th in the AP and coaches polls, respectively — the 19th straight year the Bears have opened the year among the top 25. Only Texas is ranked higher in the polls than Baylor to open the year.
The Bears will be led by a pair of preseason All-Big 12 selections in senior guard Sarah Andrews and sophomore guard/forward Darianna Littlepage-Buggs. Andrews, a WBCA All-America honorable mention a year ago, led the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game, and was named to the 2024 Nancy Lieberman Award Preseason Watch List as one of the nation’s top 20 point guards. Littlepage-Buggs, the unanimous Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season, topped the Bears in rebounds, blocks and double-doubles, and made the 2024 Katrina McClain Award Preseason Watch List as one of the game’s top 20 power forwards.
Also returning (though nearly qualifying as new faces) are a pair of fifth-year seniors in guard/forward Aijha Blackwell and forward Dre’Una Edwards. Blackwell missed much of last year due to injury, and Edwards sat out after transferring from Kentucky. Both are expected to play significant roles this season. Blackwell was named to the 2024 Cheryl Miller Award Preseason Watch List as one of the nation’s top 20 small forwards, and Edwards joined Littlepage-Buggs on the McClain Award watch list as a top-20 power forward.
The Bears also added four notable transfers: senior forward Madison Bartley, a two-time first-team all-conference player at Belmont; sophomore guard Yaya Felder, who led the MAC in scoring last year at Ohio; sophomore guard Denae Fritz, a Big 12 All-Freshman Team selection last year at Iowa State; and junior guard Jada Walker, a former SEC All-Freshman Team honoree at Kentucky. Walker was named the Big 12’s Preseason Newcomer of the Year after averaging 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and an SEC-best 2.6 steals per game.
“Do I like us on paper? Of course,” says head coach Nicki Collen. “I really like our talent, but it takes time to mold that, to work its way out. I do think that the depth creates competition, and competition makes people hungry. So, you’ve got to be on it. If you don’t show up, there might be someone who takes those minutes, where in the past maybe you were able to be more comfortable because we didn’t have that same depth.”
Baylor will open the season at home on Nov. 6 against Southern. A week later, the Bears will welcome No. 5-ranked Utah to the Ferrell Center for this winter’s premier home non-conference match-up. The Dec. 14 game against Delaware State marks what should be the program’s final appearance at the Ferrell Center; on Jan. 3, the Bears are slated to make their debut at the newly constructed Paul & Alejandra Foster Pavilion, hosting TCU.
A variety of ticket options are available, including the “Farewell to Ferrell” mini-plan. See you at Ferrell and Foster this winter!
Sic ’em, Baylor women’s basketball!