Lady Bears win final tune-up before season

By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Reporter

No. 2 Baylor women’s basketball won their final exhibition game prior to the start of the season 98-63. Senior forward Lauren Cox and graduate guard Te’a Cooper led the team in scoring against Lubbock Christian with 24 and 21 points respectively.

Wednesday was T1D night at the Ferrell Center, creating awareness and raising funds for type-1 diabetes, which both Lauren and Whitney Cox have been diagnosed with.

Whitney Cox, a forward for the Lady Chaparrals, was able to play against her sister for just the second time in their organized careers. Lauren Cox said after the game it was a pleasure to get to play against her sister before her college career was over.

“It was fun. I was messing with her … just talking to her, saying little stuff. Like on the free-throw line I was like ‘I’m about to push you into the basket,'” Cox said.

Transfers Cooper and Erin DeGrate shined once again in their new green and gold jerseys. DeGrate posted a double-double in the win, with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Cooper stepped right into the point guard role with ease.

Head coach Kim Mulkey once again chose to not play her entire squad. Junior guard DiDi Richards played all over the court tonight, starting at power forward and shifting to the point in the second half. Mulkey said postgame having that versatility is going to be valuable down the road.

“DiDi plays point in practice every day … I would say Didi can play multiple positions for us and she does so, you know, very comfortably,” Mulkey said. “She’s just so active and sometimes she gambles too much defensively until she gets in the rhythm … but typical DiDi brings a lot of energy to the floor.”

Reigning D-II national champions Lubbock Christian came out swinging, unlike Langston on Friday. After their game with Texas on Monday, in which they kept the difference within five until the fourth quarter, their spread-the-floor offense and zone defense gave the Lady Bears some trouble through the first quarter.

“They came out on fire,” Mulkey said. “They hit a lot of shots, contested shots when they make little reverse pivot moves and just shoot it right in our face. That team is setting themselves up to win another championship.”

Baylor fouled only seven times in their 117-point blowout win over Langston Friday, but against Lubbock Christian Wednesday the Lady Bears couldn’t keep their hands off their opponents, committing 17 fouls. Mulkey said those little mistakes are on her.

“The bad part of the night was too many hand-check fouls, but, you know, that’s my fault as a coach. I allow them to do that in practice every day, and it takes game situations to break them from doing it,” Mulkey said. “So, hopefully, we won’t foul as much and have that many sitting over by me in the first half.”

The Lady Bears will open their season at 6 p.m. Tuesday against New Hampshire at the Ferrell Center. The game can also be streamed on ESPN+.