Ever since their preseason All-American Lauren Cox was sidelined with a a foot injury, losing to South Carolina in November, and seeing their ranking slip, it feels as if people are sleeping on the reigning national champions. The Bears head into the new year at 9-1 and it won’t be long for them to get their next big test, as they head to Connecticut to take on Geno Auriemma and the Huskies on January 9th. With Cox set to return this week, the Bears are going to be an interesting team to keep an eye on.
Mulkey’s team has plenty of talent and should do very well in a Big-12 that they are expected to win, with or without their best player. They have four players averaging double figures in scoring in NaLyssa Smith, Queen Egbo, Juicy Landrum, and Te’a Cooper. They can beat you in a variety of ways as well. They can beat you with defense and rebounding and making only one 3-pointer, like they did in an 89-66 win over Washington State. Or they can shoot the lights out like Landrum did in making 14 3-pointers in a big win over Arkansas State.
That said, Cox is likely to be one of the first two players selected in the 2020 WNBA Draft. She’s a game-changer and a difference maker. Her return will only help improve the Bears No. 2 scoring offense and No. 3 scoring defense, and cement them as a championship contender.