By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
In the midst of a strong season for Baylor women’s basketball, one player has flown under the radar. Senior guard Kamaria McDaniel, a transfer from Penn State, has yet to set foot on the court for the Lady Bears. McDaniel was a superstar at Penn State but had felt it was time for a change of scenery.
“I wanted to win, and I wanted to come somewhere where the culture was kind of already established,” McDaniel said. “I felt like Baylor was the best decision for me. I feel like God’s timing and God’s plan always will prevail.”
In her last season in State College, McDaniel averaged 19.8 points per game on her way to a first team All-Big 10 selection. She also posted one 40-point game, three 30-point nights and 14 games with over 20 points. With the ability to put the ball in the basket like that, Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey is eager to get McDaniel on the floor in the green and gold.
“As one of the premier perimeter scorers in the Big 10 last season, she will bring a tremendous amount of experience to our back court,” Mulkey said. “We are thrilled she is a Lady Bear.”
The Lady Bears will have to wait until 2021-22 to see McDaniel in action, as she’s dealt with a knee injury for the entirety of this season. In spite of that, she’s continued to develop as a person and as a player.
“I talked about God’s timing, and I really believe in that,” McDaniel said. “It was a bummer that I came here and got hurt, but I feel like everything happens for a reason. Something I’m doing is just falling in love with the process. I understand that everything in life is a process. So, I’m falling in love with coming in and getting 1% better every day.”
When McDaniel is back on the court, she expects her role to be somewhat different than it was at Penn State, but that’s not a bad thing.
“Whatever role I have to step into to make the team a better team, that’s what I’m going to do,” McDaniel said. “I know before at Penn State, I was kind of dynamic, get out in transition. That’s what I really like to do — play fast. I know that’s [Mulkey’s] philosophy, so I think I’ll fit right in.”
Both of McDaniel’s parents competed in collegiate track and field, and growing up around high-level athletes helped push her towards success.
“It’s just a competitive environment wherever I’m at,” McDaniel said. “Whether it’s here, it’s at home, it’s on the phone with my dad, it’s competitive. Over quarantine, me and my dad, I was trying to catch up to him with how many pushups I could do in a row. It’s just always us competing at something, and I know that that truly helped mold me as a person, and I thank God for giving me those parents. That’s what I’m most grateful for.”
Since being at Baylor, McDaniel has fully immersed herself in the culture of the team. She was quick to praise the mindset and attitude Mulkey has established within the organization.
“It’s a team full of winners,” McDaniel said. “Everybody expects to win, and it’s not on the cocky side. Just being confident in the work we put in as a team. I was able to practice and things like that, and it’s intense. We expect to win, because we put that work in to be winners. It’s just a different mentality that everyone has. Everyone hates to lose.”