By Collin Bryant | Sports Writer
The Baylor women’s basketball team (5-1) won the Junkanoo Jam title this past weekend in Bimini, Bahamas, beating out both the Missouri State Lady Bears (1-4) and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-1).
The No. 8 Lady Bears started the weekend outscoring the Missouri State Lady Bears 100-58. Baylor’s charge was led by sophomore forward Lauren Cox, who had 18 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and three steals. Cox missed the Bears’ loss at UCLA last Saturday due to complications with her diabetes.
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said it was nice to see Cox back after battling with her health.
”It’s just good to see her healthy and back on the floor,” Mulkey said. “Normally, when we get sick, we just have to wait and get well, maybe take a few pills. Lauren has to be monitored because of her diabetes. For that kid to come out here today and do what she did, I don’t care who you play against, it’s good to have her back.”
Baylor got out of the gate quick, scoring the first six points against Missouri State. Baylor extended its lead to double digits within the first five minutes of the game. They Bears were able to dominate the first half, grabbing a 58-25 lead before going into the game’s second half.
Other contributors included freshman guard Alexis Morris, who shot 4-4 from the floor and scored over half of her 17 points in the second quarter. Senior forward Dekeia Cohen recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. On the defensive side of the ball, Baylor was able to hold Missouri State’s preseason player of the year senior guard Liza Fruendt to a 2-8 shooting performance, only scoring seven points.
The Lady Bears were able to keep momentum going into Saturday’s championship game against Georgia Tech, finishing with an 80-57 win over the Yellow Jackets.
Baylor junior forward Kalani Brown had 23 points in the game and was named MVP of the tournament. Cox was able to continue her play, almost matching Brown by scoring 22 points herself. The Lady Bears were able to keep the lead almost the entire game against the Yellow Jackets after an early 11-0 run. Baylor’s run was led by Brown, who contributed eight points. Brown, along with Cox, were named to the Junkanoo Jam All-Tournament Team.
Mulkey said the team should be pleased with the tournament victory coming out of the weekend.
“Bottom line, as I told them, we won. We won a championship. I don’t care where you are, championships are hard to come by,” Mulkey said. “We’re a team that carries Baylor across the chest, and we’re not the same team we were as last year. But we’re pretty darn good.”
Other players were able to contribute to the victory as well. Senior guard Kristy Wallace scored 12 points for the Lady Bears and freshman guard Alexis Morris scored 11.
The Lady Bears remain undefeated in tournament history, going to 6-0.
Baylor hosts No. 22 Kentucky (5-0) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Ferrell Center in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.