Lauren Cox’s Defensive Will Go A Long Way In The WNBA

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Lauren Cox: 6’4, F, Baylor University

College Stats in 2019-20:

22 games, 30.2 MPG, 12.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.3 SPG, 2.7 BPG, 46.3 FG%, 33.3 3P% (only six attempts), 61.4 FT%

Where she’ll go:

Cox is expected to be drafted anywhere from No. 2 to No. 5.

The Rundown:

Cox was the No. 1 overall-ranked high school recruit in her 2016 class. Though she’s suffered debilitating injuries since then, her WNBA draft stock remains very high.

Cox led her Baylor team to a national title at the end of the 2018-19 season but left her final game of the season on crutches after enduring an MCL sprain with bone bruising. The injury did not require surgery and Cox only had to miss the Lady Bears’ first two 2019-20 games after rehabbing all summer. But just two games into her return, Cox would return to the sidelines after suffering a foot injury (stress reaction to the second metatarsal of her right foot) and would miss a total of eight games in her senior season.

Cox still averaged a career-high 30.2 minutes per game in the 2019-20 season but recorded her worst points-per-game average and field goal and free-throw percentages since her freshman year at Baylor.

Yet, Cox still rose to the occasion when her team needed her most. She recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and five blocks in a crucial conference win over TCU (a nine-point game, which was one of Baylor’s closest games of the season) and was never afraid to be the focal point of her team’s offense.

But Cox is also the dynamic type of player who can find ways to take over a game even when her shot isn’t falling.

Cox, an Academic All-American, is a savvy post player whose decision-making and shot blocking abilities helped her earn the 2020 Big 12 Player of the Year Award. Her closet competition were teammates NaLyssa Smith and DiDi Richards; Smith led Baylor in points per game in 2019-20. Cox recorded 59 total blocks while only committing 46 total personal fouls in her senior season and recorded 79 assists to 35 turnovers in her final season with the Lady Bears.

Cox’s lateral movement is inept for a player of her size, and she’s considered one of the best — if not the best — defensive players in this year’s draft. She’s currently a semifinalist for the 2020 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year, which is scheduled to be awarded in early April.

Cox’s defensive and distributing skills liken her to a WNBA player such as Chicago’s Stefanie Dolson, a former UConn Husky. The two bigs weren’t the type of college players who would score 30 and 15 any given night. Instead, they were comfortable sharing offensive duties and anchoring their teams’ defenses if it meant leading their teams to success, which has always been Cox’s top priority.