By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer, Video by Nate Smith | Broadcast Reporter
The WNBA draft starts at 6 p.m. tonight and will be held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Three Baylor Lady Bears, forward Lauren Cox, guard Te’A Cooper and guard Juicy Landrum, are expected to be selected.
Cox said that she is unsure how the virtual draft experience will be.
“It’s going to be really different,” Cox said. “It’s been really stressful trying to get everything situated. I just ended a meeting with ESPN trying to make sure we had the right shot and making sure the lighting was right, the camera was right. It’s going to be interesting to see how it goes.”
Cox has earned many honors at Baylor including first-team All-American this year and a national championship in 2019. She is expected to go somewhere between the No. 2 and No. 4 overall.
Cox said she would love to be drafted second overall by her hometown Dallas Wings. But she called it a “win-win situation,” saying she would be happy to go No. 3 to the Indiana Fever or No. 4 to the Atlanta Dream.”
“Coach Stanley is just coming off a championship last year with the Mystics and Tamika Catchings is a former player and she was just inducted to the Hall of Fame,” Cox said. “That’s a positive for Indiana. If I were to go to Atlanta, I would get to play with Kalani [Brown] again. We would get that high-low going back again. That would just be a lot of fun.”
Landrum is a fringe draft prospect who could be taken in the third round. If she does in fact get drafted, this could be the first time ever that Baylor has three players chosen in the WNBA draft. Two Lady Bears have been selected in the same draft four times.
Landrum said that she has been talking to WNBA coaches about how her game can translate to the pros.
“Talking to coaches here and there, pretty much my shooting and my defense are going to work out best for me when I go to the league,” Landrum said. “So, it’s kind of going to depend on that the most. But I have things to work on, spoke about that with coaches, so I’m trying my best to do that.”
Speaking of shooting, Landrum currently holds the NCAA women’s record for most threes made in a single game. She connected from deep 14 times against Arkansas State back in December.
Cooper, after coming to Baylor this past season as a grad-transfer, was named First Team All Big-12 and Honorable Mention All-American. She is expected to go late first-round or early second-round.
Cooper said she has reached out to a couple of WNBA players for advice.
“I have spoken to Arike [Ogunbowale] and A’ja [Wilson],” Cooper said. “They had a lot to say about the experience and it’s unfortunate that we can’t experience it. Training camp is hard. Nothing is expected to be easy, so staying focused and being coachable is all that you can do.”
Landrum said that although it is unfortunate that the draft will not be in person, she is still happy for her teammates and for herself.
“It doesn’t affect my excitement at all,” Landrum said. “Just to be drafted to a team, that’s exciting. There’s nothing not to be excited about. Yeah, it sucks not being able to see friends, teammates walk across the stage to get their jersey. But overall, I’m still excited about it.”