3 Lady Bears win Big 12 year end awards

WACO, Texas Baylor women’s basketball claimed three major conference awards and six accolades overall, the Big 12 Conference office announced Wednesday afternoon.

Head coach Kim Mulkey was named Coach of the Year, junior Kalani Brown earned Player of the Year honors and sophomore Lauren Cox secured Defensive Player of the Year recognition. It is the fourth time in program history and the first time since the 2012-13 season that the Lady Bears claimed these three Big 12 awards (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2017-18).

Senior Kristy Wallace and Brown were unanimous All-Big 12 first team selections and Cox was also named to the All-Big 12 first team. It is the second time Baylor has had three first team honorees (Nina Davis, Alexis Jones and Niya Johnson in 2015-16).

In addition, senior Dekeiya Cohen secured All-Big 12 honorable mention distinction and freshman Alexis Morris was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.

For leading Baylor’s limited roster to an unblemished 18-0 mark in regular season conference play, which has only happened three times in program history and five times in Big 12 history, 18th-year head coach Kim Mulkey garnered her sixth career Coach of the Year award (2005, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018). She was unanimously selected for this recognition.

Mulkey, who has led the Lady Bears to a conference record 17 Big 12 Championships overall, is one of 10 national semifinalists for the 2018 Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year honor and a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 2018 Class. In her tenure, she has led Baylor to two NCAA Championships (2005, 2012) and compiled a 534-97 (.846) record.

Brown earned her first postseason individual award, becoming the seventh Lady Bear to earn Player of the Year recognition. She is a two-time unanimous first team selection, also picking up the honor as a junior in 2017.

Brown leads the league and ranks fourth nationally in field goal percentage (.654) and is second in the Big 12 in scoring (19.7), rebounding (10.1), offensive rebounds per game (3.1) and defensive rebounds per game (7.0), averaging just 28.9 minutes per contest. She owns the top two rebounding performances in the league, registering 23 at No. 21/22 Oklahoma State and 21 against Lamar. Her 23-board performance ranks 10th nationally.

The Slidell, La. native has registered 14 double-doubles, two 30-point performances, 15 20-point efforts, two 20-rebound contests and 14 double digit rebounding performances. Brown joined the 1,000-career points club with 33 points scored at No. 8/7 UCLA and has since risen to No. 12 on Baylor’s all-time scoring list (1,492).

Brown remains in consideration for the Naismith Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Wade Trophy national player of the year awards and is one of 10 finalists for the Lisa Leslie Award, which honors the nation’s top center.

Cox secured her second career individual award from the conference, after receiving the Big 12 Sixth Man Award as a freshman and Defensive Player of the Year honors as a sophomore. She anchors the Lady Bear defense, averaging 2.5 blocks per game, which is second in the league and 19th nationally. Her career-high nine blocks at Iowa State are the most recorded by a Big 12 player this season and the eight-most nationally in a single game.

The Flower Mound, Texas native ranks third in the conference in rebounding (9.3) and defensive rebounds per game (6.6), fifth in offensive rebounds per game (2.8) and 10th in scoring (14.8) despite averaging 29.4 minutes per contest.

Cox has compiled 11 double-doubles, six 20-point efforts and 13 double digit rebound performances this season. She is one of 10 finalists for the Katrina McClain Award, which honors the nation’s top power forward.

Wallace, who earned the first All-Big 12 first team and Big 12 All-Defensive Team selections of her career, is the floor general for Baylor’s second-ranked offense (87.0 points per game) and charged with defending each opponent’s top guard. She leads the Lady Bears, is second in the league and 34th nationally, distributing 5.5 assists per game, and has assisted on 25.5 percent of Baylor’s shots made this year.

The Loganholme, Queensland, Australia native has led the Lady Bears in scoring six times, netting 20 points against No. 20/22 Kentucky, 27 against No. 6/6 Texas and 25 at No. 19/20 West Virginia. She was selected espnW National Player of the Week on Jan. 29 for her efforts in a 2-0 week with victories over the Longhorns and Mountaineers.

Wallace is one of three Lady Bears to distribute more than 500 assists in her career and joined the 1,000-career points club with 15 points at Oklahoma. She currently ranks 24th all-time at Baylor with 1,212 career points.

Cohen secured her first career conference honor with an All-Big 12 honorable mention award. She is enjoying the best season of her Lady Bear career, averaging 12.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 blocks per game.

The Charleston, S.C. native has set career-highs in scoring (26 points), rebounding (14 rebounds), blocks (5), field goals made (10), field goal attempts (18), free throw attempts (12) and minutes played (40). She has started all 26 games for the Lady Bears.

Cohen has netted double figure scoring totals in 13 of 18 regular season Big 12 games, pouring in 20 points twice (20 at No. 21/22 Oklahoma State; career-high 24 at No. 6/6 Texas). In addition, she posted the first four double-doubles of her career.

Morris has played in 28 of 29 games for the Lady Bears, appearing twice as a starter in her freshman season. She is averaging 8.3 points, 3.1 assists and 2.6 rebounds, playing at the one and two guard positions.

The Beaumont, Texas native, who has dished out the sixth-most assists in a freshman season all-time at Baylor (87), has compiled 11 double figure scoring performances.

Morris has led Baylor in assists four times and steals three times this season. She owns a 44.4 field goal percentage, team-leading 48.9 three-point field goal percentage and 80.4 free throw percentage.