Bill Brock said he would try to get through his next thought without getting too emotional. The Lady Bears’ associate head coach filled in for Kim Mulkey Saturday afternoon as Baylor’s head coach stayed home with her daughter, Makenzie Fuller and her husband Clay, after the loss of Baby Scout.
Baylor also made the trip to Los Angeles without sophomore forward Lauren Cox, who was hospitalized briefly with a condition related to her diabetes. The No. 3 Lady Bears had just been topped by No. 8 UCLA, 82-68, at Pauley Pavilion, but Brock opted to focus on the bigger picture.
“The life lessons that these kids had thrown at them this week, that’s some big time adult stuff to have to deal with that kind of adversity,” Brock said. “These young people, that was two major things thrown at them in one day was the station with Makenzie and then Lauren having to go to the hospital. For us, yeah we had our down moments, but I’m telling you, led by Kalani (Brown) here, we came back out and practiced. We had good shoot-around last night. We got beat today by the better team today.”
Junior Kalani Brown became the 33rd Lady Bear to join the 1,000-point club Saturday afternoon as the junior finished with 33 points, her second career 30-point game, off 13-of-17 shooting from the field. The Lady Bears were held to 40.3 percent shooting from the floor as freshman Alexis Morris was the only other Baylor player to finish in double figures.
Baylor out-did UCLA in the paint, 36-32, in second chance points, 20-8, bench points, 13-5, and on the boards, 45-31.
“I thought led by this young lady here (Brown), one of our returning starters who is a double All-American today, I thought we handled the situation about as good as we could. We handled it head on. We knew we were coming into a situation of playing an outstanding game against UCLA. I think the kids should be commended. Yeah, youth showed up at times today, but that’s correctable. This was a case where basketball was secondary to everything that’s been going on in our program this week. We wanted to come out here and represent the best we could.”
Baylor held UCLA scoreless for nearly two minutes toward the beginning of the first quarter as the Lady Bears went on an 8-0 run behind six points from Brown to go up 12-4. But Baylor didn’t score again for five minutes as the Bruins used a 14-0 run to go up by six points at the end of the quarter.
UCLA went up by as many as 14 points midway through the third quarter, but the Lady Bears didn’t give up the fight. For a team that had been so resilient in matters off the court so far this week, there’s no way a double-digit deficit on the road would knock the fight out of Baylor.
The Lady Bears opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to cut UCLA’s lead to four.
“We got the game back to 62-58 with seven minutes to go,” Brock said. “We just did not handle the last seven minutes very well. I think we were outscored 20-10 to end the game. Some of that was our mistakes, but let’s not take anything away from UCLA now. A lot of that is that UCLA’s a very mature team. They knew when to step up the pressure and capitalized off our mistakes. They’re to be commended for an outstanding performance today.”
Monique Billings led the way for the Bruins with 21 points, followed by Jordin Canada with 20 and Kennedy Burke with 19 to stretch UCLA’s home winning streak to 32 games. Overall, the Bruins shot 46.9 percent from the floor.
Baylor’s statement on Lauren Cox: “Lauren Cox was unable to make the UCLA road trip after developing a complication of her Diabetes Mellitus, which required a brief hospitalization. The complication is called diabetic ketoacidosis, a buildup of acids in the blood. Ketoacidosis happens when the body does not have enough insulin.
Her condition was caused by strep throat and associated symptoms, including dehydration, nausea and vomiting. This had a rapid onset and was quickly addressed by Baylor’s team physicians, who along with the help of her family help Lauren manage her Diabetes Mellitus.
Lauren has been discharged from the hospital and is in good condition. She is with her family resting and should be able to return to normal activities soon. Her official status is listed as day-to-day.”