It’s been more than two weeks since we’ve last seen the Lady Bears play. It’s been even longer, nearly three weeks, since seventh-ranked Baylor took the floor at the Ferrell Center.
In that time, we’ve had signing day for college football programs, the Cowboys won the NFC East, LeBron James was named the AP male athlete of the year while Serena Williams was named the AP female athlete of the year and Luka Doncic continued to put on a show for the Mavericks.
And, of course, Baylor won the Texas Bowl.
For Juicy Landrum, there was another big sporting event that happened in the near 20-day span since the Lady Bears played in front of their home fans. La Vega, her alma mater, won the Class 4A Division I state football championship.
Saturday afternoon, two days after the Lady Bears returned to practice from some time at home with loved ones for the Christmas holidays, the Trib sat down with the Baylor junior for a little Christmas chat.
With the Peach Bowl playing on the television inside the weight room, Landrum talked about what the Lady Bears learned from their loss at Stanford, how her family celebrates Christmas, the Pirates’ state title and the holiday food she’d rather not eat.
Trib: What have you been up to since the Stanford game?
Landrum: We had a 10 day break. I pretty much spent time with my family. I came up here (to the Ferrell Center) to work out for five days out of those 10 days.
Trib: When everybody flew home from Stanford was everybody going their separate ways with only a few coming back to the Waco area?
Landrum: Aquira (DeCosta) is from Cali, so she went home with her parents. (Caitlin) Bickle flew from Cali to Arizona. The rest of us flew back to Dallas, and some people live in Dallas. They went their separate ways. There were just a few of us on the bus back. It was weird because it was quiet. We’re not used to being quiet since we’re always talking to each other.
Trib: What’s it been like to have a couple days off?
Landrum: It’s been good. I knew once we came back to practice it would be hectic since we’ve been gone so many days. Everybody would be tired from getting to spend so much time at home.
Trib: It’s easy for you living so close to Baylor, but what’s it like to work on staying in shape over a holiday break?
Landrum: It’s actually good. I wasn’t tired when we came back to practice. (Head coach Kim Mulkey) pushed us kind of hard, but that’s what we expected. I wasn’t tired because I came up here and conditioned, so it was really good.
Trib: What were you doing specifically during those conditioning workouts?
Landrum: I came up here with Thomas, our strength and conditioning coach. I’d do a few weights. Then I’d get on the treadmill one day. One day I’d do the bike. We’d keep alternating in those five days.
Trib: So what is your favorite thing about Christmas with your family?
Landrum: I have a niece now, so getting to spend time with her. It’s her second Christmas. This year she got an iPad. She randomly FaceTimes me sometimes. It’s great. She got that and a lot of clothes. She got a kitchen set and a lot of those things. It was fun.
Trib: What did you get for Christmas?
Landrum: My parents tell me I’m too old to get Christmas gifts now. My mom got me clothes, my dad gave me money and my sister got me shoes. It was fine.
Trib: What does the usual Christmas meal look like at your house?
Landrum: For me, I don’t eat Thanksgiving food, so my family has to get me something else. Normally it’s turkey, ham, dressing, mac and cheese, greens, cabbage. My grandma made me a meatloaf and I just ate the sides. We had barbeque this time too. It was pretty good.
Trib: Why do you not like the Thanksgiving spread?
Landrum: I don’t know, I’m just not a big fan of ham and turkey. It’s not good to me. I put it in my mouth and it’s not good. But the pie is good. My grandma makes really good pie.
Trib: OK, so what’s your favorite pie?
Landrum: Sweet potato for sure.
Trib: So pie, meatloaf, all the food, but you can’t really pig out on all the food because you’re in season.
Landrum: I felt like I conditioned all those days, and then I ate all that food and (my work) went to waste.
Trib: While you were off, La Vega won its second football state title. Had you been keeping up with them all season?
Landrum: I actually went to the football game. I drove to Arlington and went to the game. It was great. I saw a lot of my old teachers, classmates, our superintendent. It was great.
Trib: Wait, how old were you when the Pirates won their first title in 2015?
Landrum: I was a junior in high school when they won that one. I knew the majority of the football team then.
Trib: What was it like watching them play in that championship game this year?
Landrum: Coach (Don) Hyde has been there since I’ve been in high school. I talk to him sometimes when I go back to La Vega and talk to my basketball coach. Me and him have conversations sometimes about basketball and life in general.
Trib: Not only did La Vega win state, but the Baylor football team won the Texas Bowl. Did you watch that game?
Landrum: I actually watched that one. I went to eat with Honesty (Scott-Grayson) and we watched it on the TV at the restaurant. Then I went home and finished the game. It was great.
Trib: Now with New Year’s coming up, do you have any resolutions?
Landrum: Not really. I just need to save money. I think I buy too many pairs of shoes.
Trib: What kind of shoes?
Landrum: Probably Jordans. I think I own like 30-plus pairs of Jordans. I need to maybe stop buying so much. I have 1-14 of the Jordans.
Trib: What’s your favorite pair that you have?
Landrum: The white and black 11’s. I just bought them. Well I had them a long time ago, but I grew out of them.
Trib: Back to basketball to wrap this up. What did this team learn from the loss at Stanford?
Landrum: Every minute you have to play hard. Coach told us we didn’t play hard enough. We know we didn’t play hard until we got down by a certain amount of points. (Mulkey) emphasized that we have to play hard every second of the game.
Trib: So how can you carry that lesson over to the rest of the season?
Landrum: Coach says we really have to execute our offense. Our defense was terrible, as she would say. I guess that’s what we’re working on is getting better on defense.