One year after Baylor Athletics hired Nicki Collen to replace Kim Mulkey as the Women’s Basketball head coach, the Bears are continuing their epic success with three new additions to the program! With the departure of such incredible athletes in the form of National Player of the Year NaLyssa Smith, C Queen Egbo, and G Jordan Lewis (read about their drafting here!), Collen replenished the roster with three new additions as transfers from top-notch rival schools.
Dre’Una Edwards is leaving her F position at Kentucky to add new skills for the Bears. A previous transfer from Utah, Edwards was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in 2019. Over two seasons at Kentucky, she totaled 291 of 584 (49.8%) of field goals, 31 of 84 (36.9%) of 3s, 88 of 126 (69.8%) of free throws, 382 rebounds, 77 assists, 47 blocks, 52 steals, and 701 points. Collen praised Edwards, saying, “I am extremely excited to welcome Dree and her family to the Baylor family. Everyone knows Dree from the game-winning shot she hit for Kentucky in the SEC Championship game, but Dree’s success began her freshman year at Utah when she was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. She has handled adversity, including a season-ending ACL injury, and matured and grown into a person and player I am excited to coach and lead. Dree is a true inside-outside threat who will give us great versatility with her size, strength and skill. Her ability to handle the ball and shoot it will create great spacing in our system. She loves the game of basketball and loves to compete. Dree is majoring in social work with a goal of working in the juvenile justice system. Dree comes from an amazing family, and our fans will love getting to know her parents, Andre and Shonnise.”
A three-time All-SEC selection, G Aijha Blackwell leaves Missouri for Baylor as one of three new additions with two years of eligibility left. Leading the Tigers in scoring, Blackwell recorded 267 of 637 (41.9%) of field goals, 59 of 190 (31.1%) of 3s, 178 of 288 (61.8%) of free throws, 457 rebounds, 122 assists, 28 blocks, 42 steals, and 771 points. “We are incredibly excited to have Aijha wear the green and gold,” Collen said. “Our fans saw firsthand how she can impact the game with her physicality, rebounding and overall attack mentality when Mizzou played us in December. She has the ability to swing between forward positions and is a true mismatch for opponents with her combination of skill, speed and size.”
Former national champion and two-time Pac-12 champion G Jana Van Gytenbeek is the last of the three new additions joining the Bears from Stanford with three years of eligibility remaining. As a standout G for the Cardinal, Van Gytenbeek finished with 38 of 103 (36.9%) of field goals, 30 of 81 (37%) of 3s, 7 of 8 free throws (87.5%), 18 rebounds, 45 assists, 15 steals, and 113 points. On Gytenbeek, Collen said, “We are so thrilled to add Jana and her parents, Carol and Tony, to the Baylor Women’s Basketball family. Jana is an intense competitor with the ability to play both guard positions equally well. While her opportunity for court time wasn’t significant at Stanford due to a talented veteran back court, when opportunity knocked, she seized it by contributing big numbers in their Arizona and Arizona State games. She is a great 3-point shooter with deep range but also has the ability to create off the bounce for herself and her teammates. Jana is an incredible student with future aspirations of being a child psychologist. Baylor fans will love her tenacity, smile and passion for the game.”
There’s lots to be excited for on the Baylor Women’s Basketball front moving forward in the Nicki Collen era!