Baylor star Lauren Cox exits national title game in wheelchair after awful injury

Jack Baer
·Writer

Before the confetti flew celebrating Baylor’s third women’s basketball national title on Sunday, a somber scene hit the championship game when Lady Bears star Lauren Cox went down with an awful-looking leg injury.

After being examined by trainers, Cox had to be taken to the Baylor locker room in a wheelchair. Her leg appeared to bend completely the wrong way when her foot accidentally hit a teammate’s leg while looking for a rebound. A scream could be heard over the broadcast.

Lauren Cox’s horrifying injury

(WARNING: The video below contains a graphic injury.)

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A slower video of the injury shows even more clearly what went wrong.

Cox was in tears as she was wheeled away from the game. Seeing her parents watch while she was on the ground was even more painful.

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Cox entered the game as Baylor’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder at 13.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, earning first-team All-Big 12 and third-team AP All-American honors as well Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. The junior had eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks at the time of her injury.

Baylor holds on for title despite missing Lauren Cox

Baylor held a 62-50 lead when Cox left, but that advantage soon evaporated without the team’s top interior presence. Notre Dame opened the fourth quarter on an 18-9 run to tie the game at 74. The Bears eventually held on, winning 82-81 and avoiding a truly painful what-if in the process.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey put it succinctly between quarters: “I can cry right now but I have to work.”

Thankfully, Cox was able to return to the court to celebrate the win, embracing fellow star Kalani Brown and raising the trophy while surrounded by her teammates.

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Her work done, Mulkey was finally able to cry and explain just what Cox meant to her in a postgame interview with ESPN’s Holly Rowe. She was also seen sharing an emotional moment with Cox’s mother.

“Lauren Cox, by God, she’s the heart and soul of our team. And I just know she’s hurt because that kid would have gotten up. But you know what? God is good, he blessed these kids, they fought through it,” Mulkey said. “I just know when you lose a big-time player in the middle of a national championship game, you’re not supposed to win.”

More from Yahoo Sports:

TAMPA, FLORIDA - APRIL 07:  Lauren Cox #15 of the Baylor Lady Bears is tended to by the trainer and head coach Kim Mulkey after sustaining a leg injury during the third quarter in the championship game of the 2019 NCAA Women's Final Four against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Amalie Arena on April 07, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
This is tragic to see during a national title game. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)