Dekeiya Cohen is looking forward to it. She thinks it will be a lot of fun as No. 8 Baylor travels to Bimini, Bahamas, to play in the Junkanoo Jam later this week. The senior also thinks this is just what this Lady Bear team needs, especially after this past week.
“It’s just us getting together, playing more games and having a little fun,” Cohen said. “I think it will be great team bonding and will lift our morale.”
Kim Mulkey agrees. The Baylor head coach knows this trip will be good for her personally to be back with the team after she stayed with her daughter and son-in-law, Makenzie and Clay, after the loss of Baby Scout.
“Guys, it’s life,” Mulkey said. “It’s not something that you really realize happens to a lot of people, but what do you do? You deal with it. The hard part for me as a mother is you knew this was a sick baby. What you didn’t know is how long it would make it. … But we’re going to move on. We’ll never stop talking about (Scout). She’s part of our life, their lives. But we’ve got to keep living. And we will. It’s just tough.”
Mulkey also knows it will be great for the team that Lauren Cox is back. The sophomore forward was hospitalized briefly last week after she developed a complication of her Diabetes Mellitus that was caused by strep throat and associated symptoms.
“She’s good to go,” Mulkey said. “She had a full practice (Monday). She’s cleared, as far as I know. She practiced the whole time yesterday. Her deal, as y’all read, came on sudden as well. This one, (Morris), had strep throat and then Lauren got it. With Lauren, we’re always aware that her diabetes just makes everything a little bit tougher. It got out of whack and it got out of whack quickly. I was at one hospital. She was at another hospital. You’re just helpless. You’re helpless here. You’re helpless with Lauren. You’re helpless with those guys in LA. We’re back to normal, as much as we can be.”
The Lady Bears make the trip to the Bahamas shortly after returning from Los Angeles where they fell to then-No. 8 UCLA, 82-68.
“We address the obvious,” Mulkey said. “You didn’t have your coach and you didn’t have one of your key cogs on the team. But those things were out of their control. So you compliment the team on being able to emotionally regroup and go compete as hard as you can. None of us like to lose. Heavens, you’ll never meet a more competitive person than me, but it’s just a game. You learn from it. Then you sit in the film room and you watch every bit of it because it’s a great teaching tool for a lot of young players.”
Baylor opens up tournament play at 2 p.m. (CT) Thursday against Missouri State. The Lady Bears are 1-2 on the season with their most recent contest against No. 23 Missouri that they dropped 69-59. Missouri State is led by Liza Fruendt who averages 17 points per game. She is the lone Lady Bear to average double figures in scoring.
“Kellie Harper played for Pat (Summitt) at Tennessee,” Mulkey said. “She and her husband both coach there. I think they were picked second in Missouri Valley. They have four starters returning. One of their kids is preseason player of the year. You know they’re going to be hard-nosed and well coached. We’re going to see every defense imaginable from a three-quarter court 1-2-2 to a zone, match-up zone to a man-to-man. We will be prepared to play Missouri State, but really this is about us. … It’s always fun to go somewhere that maybe none of us, probably, could have afforded to go to. We’ll mix in a little pleasure there. We’ll get back to some sense of normalcy when we’re in the Bahamas.”