It’s been almost a week since Indiana Fever forward Lauren Cox watched her alma mater, the Baylor Bears lose a 69-66 nail-biter to the Connecticut Huskies in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
“No one wants to end their season on a loss,” Cox stated. “You’ve got to look at the bright side, you did win a Big 12 Championship. So, there are things to be celebrated.”
“Also, thank you to the seniors. They’ve put in four years of hard work.”
A senior just a year ago, Cox can relate to having her senior year end in disappointing fashion. Like so many seniors last year, she saw her final college season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
“I still get emotional about it,” Cox replied. “I played in my last college game without even knowing it. That was heartbreaking for me. So, I like to push that memory way deep down and not even think about it because it was that painful.”
For Cox, another reason her senior season was bittersweet is because her team never got a chance to defend their 2019 national title.
A title game where Cox, who Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey called “the heart and soul of our team,” had to be wheeled off the floor with an injury late in the third quarter.
She would come back to the sideline later on walking crutches and wearing a brace on her left leg just in time to cheer her teammates on as they edged out an 82-81 win over Notre Dame to win it all.
“It was kind of bittersweet for me. I didn’t know what my knee injury was at the time but the pain that I was in and the way that it looked, I immediately thought ACL, and I think that’s what a majority of people thought. So, I am just really glad that we pulled it off because I think it would have made it a hundred times worse if I would’ve gotten injured and then we would have lost that game.”
“Our team was very close, so coming back out there and raising that trophy out with them and being with my family was really special.”
Speaking of family, late last month Cox witnessed her younger sister Whitney Cox, a sophomore at Lubbock Christian, earn her first national title as LCU defeated Drury, 69-59, to win the 2021 DII women’s basketball national championship.
“That was fun,” Cox replied with a fond smile. “The crazy part about it, I didn’t even get to watch the championship game in person. The team only had 36 tickets per team and my sister being a sophomore, only got one ticket. So, my mom got to go watch the game, and I watched it on TV at our hotel and then I snuck in after for the celebration, but that was really special.”
So special, that their father Dennis Cox says the pressure is on for his two youngest daughters to keep the national championship legacy going.
“[After the game], we texted my other two sisters and my dad was like, ‘the pressure’s on, here we go. We got to have four for four.’ – They definitely have a good shot. So, we’ll see.”