Kim Mulkey calls Louisiana God’s country. Kalani Brown and Moon Ursin agree.
Kristy Wallace tried to convince her coach that, actually, Australia is God’s country. But Mulkey wasn’t having it, especially with the time it takes to fly down under.
As the Lady Bears wrap up their nonconference slate, these Louisiana natives get to show the rest of the Baylor women’s basketball program their home state as the Lady Bears are in Thibodaux, Louisiana, to take on Nicholls State.
“You try and you tell them that in recruiting, we will try to play in your hometown area,” Mulkey said. “Sometimes you can’t get people to play you. Nicholls was a last addition. We were supposed to be in a tournament in New Orleans, a two-day tournament, and it just didn’t work out. So we added Stanford and Nicholls at the last minute. You try. It’s fun. I remember when I was their age. You want to go back home and play in front of your family, and let people see where you are in your career. It’ll be fun for Moon and Kalani.”
Mulkey, from Hammond, Louisiana, led her high school team to four consecutive state championships and a 136-5 record, while scoring a then-national record 4,075 points. She went on to Louisiana Tech where she led the Lady Techsters to two national titles and four Final Fours from 1980-84. Mulkey is a member of the Louisiana High School Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Listen, I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to eat at every meal,” Mulkey said. “That’s what I look forward to. I miss the food. I’ve said that from the time I’ve been here. This is my home now, but I miss the food. I miss the fresh seafood. I miss the seasoning. I miss all that, and I am really looking forward to it.”
Brown attended Salmen High School, where she is the all-time leader with 2,392 points, 1,472 rebounds and 605 blocks. She led the Spartans to four-straight Class 4A State Championship games, winning titles in 2013 and 2014. Brown was named the two-time Times-Picayune Player of the Year, Gatorade Player of the Year, McDonald’s All-American and Naismith All-American accolades.
“I’m excited that the girls get to see where me and Moon – well, Moon is from New Orleans – but where me and Moon are from I’m excited to play in front of my family. They’re calling for tickets, and I’m asking everybody trying to scrounge for tickets. I’m very excited to play in front of my family and go back home.”
Ursin, the only three-time Gatorade Player of the Year award winner in Louisiana, led Destrehan High School to a Class 5A State Championship and perfect 35-0 season. She received three District 7-5A MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors, three first team All-State accolades and two Miss Basketball Louisiana honors.
“It’s fun to be able to go back home and see the people who have been supporting me from day one,” Ursin said. “Just to be able to play in front of them again, to see their faces and be graced with their presence just blesses me and I’m grateful for this opportunity.”