Women's Basketball

Joens named Big 12 Preseason POTY, Ryan & Donarski honored

Iowa State Cyclones guard/forward Ashley Joens (24) takes a shot against Texas-Arlington Mavericks forward Shyia Smith (34) during the first quarter in the NCAA first-round game at Hilton Coliseum Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletic Communications.

AMES, Iowa – Iowa State’s women’s basketball team featured prominently in the 2022-23 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Awards announced on Wednesday morning, with senior Ashley Joens checking in as the 2022-23 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year.

Joens was also a unanimous selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team, where she was joined by teammates and fellow 2021-22 All-Big 12 First Team recipients Lexi Donarski and Emily Ryan.

Joens is the third Cyclone to be named the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year, with Stacy Frese (1999-00) and Angie Welle (2000-01) also having been chosen. Joens, who has been a unanimous All-Big 12 First Team selection each of the last three seasons, was included on the Preseason Team for a third-straight season.

The two-time defending winner of the Cheryl Miller Award, given to the nation’s top small forward, Joens returns for her fifth season as a Cyclone as Iowa State’s all-time leading scorer with 2,369 career points, which also ranks her atop active players nationally. In 2021-22, Joens averaged 20.3 points per game, hitting 91 3-pointers on the season. An AP and USBWA Second Team All-American in 2021-22, Joens racked up 18 double-doubles last season.

Donarski, a junior from La Crosse, Wisconsin, is on the Preseason Team for the first time in her career and enters the season as the defending Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, the first Cyclone to earn the award in league history. In Big 12 play in 2021-22, Donarski locked down on her primary defensive responsibilities, holding opponents who entered games averaging 14.7 points per game and shooting 40.9 percent from the field to 9.3 points per game and 30.0 percent shooting. On offense, Donarski averaged 14.3 points per game last season, hitting 88 3-pointers.

Ryan, a junior from Claflin, Kansas, made the step up to the Preseason Team in 2021-22 after being an Honorable Mention preseason selection last season. Ryan broke the Cyclones’ single-season assists record last year with 249 dimes. That run included setting a new ISU single-game assists record with 17 at TCU. She also dished out 16 against West Virginia and 15 against Prairie View A&M, being the only player in the country last year with multiple 15-assist games. Offensively, Ryan averaged 13.1 points per game, including shooting 54.1 percent from 3-point range in Big 12 play.

The 2022-23 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll will be announced tomorrow morning.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.