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Baylor forward Lauren Cox (15) grabs the rebound against Grambling center Jemiah Harrison (30) during the Lady Bears’ nonconference victory. Cox was named an AP first-team All-American on Thursday.

Baylor forward Lauren Cox entered her senior season with high expectations and met another one on Thursday.

Cox, the Big 12 Player of the Year, was named to the Associated Press first-team All-American squad, becoming the sixth Lady Bear to achieve that status.

This is Cox’s first time to make the AP first team. She was a third-team selection as a junior in 2018-19. Cox averaged 12.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.7 blocks in 22 games in the shortened 2019-20 season.

Cox finished her career with 1,570 points, 982 rebounds, 363 assists and 301 blocks in 131 games played. The All-America honor adds to her list of postseason awards. She was named Big 12 Player of the Year, All-Big 12 First Team and was selected to the All-Big 12 Defensive Team by both the Big 12 head coaches and the Waco Tribune-Herald.

“She is so deserving,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “Just her presence on the floor made us better whether she scored a point or not. Her presence brought an air of confidence to our basketball team.”

In addition to Cox, Lady Bears sophomore forward NaLyssa Smith and graduate transfer guard Te’a Cooper earned honorable mention on the AP All-American team.

Cox was joined on the first team by Oregon teammates Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard, Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard and Connecticut’s Megan Walker.

Ionescu, the AP Player of the Year, shattered the NCAA career triple-double mark and became the first player in college history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

Ionescu is the eighth player in women’s basketball history to earn AP All-America honors three times. The list of three-time honorees includes Baylor’s Brittney Griner, South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson, Tennessee’s Chamique Holdsclaw, Duke’s Alana Beard, Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris and UConn’s Breanna Stewart and Maya Moore.

Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this season as well as having eight of her 26 career triple-doubles.

“Sabrina is a transcendent basketball player,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. “There’s really nothing that she couldn’t do on the court. She was the ultimate leader.”

The second team included Oregon’s Satou Sabally, Aliyah Boston of South Carolina, Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M, Aari McDonald of Arizona and Dana Evans of Louisville.

The third team was Ty Harris of South Carolina, Michaela Onyenwere of UCLA, Kathleen Doyle of Iowa, Elissa Cunane of North Carolina State and Kaila Charles of Maryland.

Ionescu, Cox, Carter, Charles and Miami’s Beatrice Mompremier made up the preseason All-America team.

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