WACO, Texas -- Lauren Cox just being back on the court makes No. 6 Baylor better, even as the preseason AP All-America post plays her way back into shape.
Cox had 10 points and six rebounds for the Lady Bears in a 94-47 win over Morehead State on Monday night, in her return after missing more than seven weeks with a right foot injury.
“It’s just about getting back in shape,” Cox said. “There’s nothing you can do off the court to get back in game shape besides playing.”
In her first game since Nov. 8, Cox made 4 of 8 shots while playing 22 minutes. The 6-foot-4 senior, who said she had no worries about her foot, also had five assists and four blocked shots.
“Lauren makes us a better basketball team because of her experience, because of her ability to pass the ball. She just has knowledge. She sees things develop before they develop," coach Kim Mulkey said. “She's not a polished product right now, but who expects that when you sit out that long.”
NaLyssa Smith scored a career-high 25 points to lead five players in double figures, and had also had 10 rebounds for one of two double-doubles by the Lady Bears (10-1). Queen Egbo, who started six games when Cox was out, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Te'a Cooper added 17 points and Moon Ursin 11 on 5-of-5 shooting in Baylor's last game before opening Big 12 play.
Cox helped Baylor outscore Morehead State 70-6 in the paint.
“When Lauren is on the floor, everything feels a lot more smooth," Smith said. “Even back to the basics, how everything was normal. We find each other on the floor well. I feel like we play good together. I’m glad she’s back.”
Breuna Jackson had 11 points and Jazzmyn Elston 10 for Morehead State (4-8).
The Eagles had their only lead when Ariel Kirkwood's 3-pointer made it 3-2 only 2 minutes into the game. Cox then made a 15-foot jumper, after missing her first two shots, and Baylor went on to build a 15-point lead by the end of the first quarter.
“Cox is their best returning player and a very tough matchup,” Morehead State coach Greg Todd said. “You figured she would have a little bit of rust, but she’s still Lauren Cox and was a big factor in the game.”
Cox had double-doubles in each of Baylor's first two games before an MRI showed a stress reaction to the second metatarsal on her right foot. That came seven months after she sustained a sprained MCL in her left knee in the national championship game Baylor won over Notre Dame.
Morehead State: Baylor was the third ranked opponent the Eagles have played this season. They previously lost at No. 19 Michigan State (93-48) and No. 13 Kentucky (79-54). ... Morehead State made nine 3-pointers, after hitting 12 from long-range against Baylor last season.
Baylor: The Lady Bears won their 47th consecutive home game and have won 57 in a row at home over non-conference opponents since a loss to UConn in January 2014. ... Juicy Landrum set an NCAA single-game record for 3-pointers with 14 in Baylor's previous game Dec. 18 against Arkansas State. Landrum made her only attempt from long range against Morehead and finished with 7 points.
Morehead State plays its first four Ohio Valley Conference games at home, the first coming Thursday against Jacksonville State.
Baylor opens Big 12 Conference play Saturday at Oklahoma, then travels to No. 1 UConn on Jan. 9.
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/Womenscollegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
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