The Baylor Lady Bears will be regaining some strength going into next season, as head coach Kim Mulkey prepares the national champions for another go at the title.
Baylor will make the attempt with the addition of Te’a Cooper. The former South Carolina Gamecock has transferred to Baylor as a graduate transfer.
“As most who follow the Lady Bears know, Chloe Jackson changed my mind about graduate transfers after such a great experience last year,” Mulkey said in a statement. “We’re excited to bring another extremely talented guard in this season in Te’a Cooper. She brings a lot of experience to our team, she’s a battle-tested guard and we are looking forward to ways she can help the program.”
Last season, Cooper was a 2019 All-SEC Second Team selection for South Carolina. She averaged 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season and led the Gamecocks to a 23-10 record. During the NCAA Tournament, the Gamecocks made it to the Sweet 16 and lost to Baylor.
This will be the second season in a row that a All-SEC performer has transferred to play in Waco. Fortunately, Baylor earned the ultimate prize this season when a graduate transfer was the key piece needed for a championship.
Chloe Jackson was a transfer last season from LSU. Primarily, the now-Chicago Sky talent was a shooting guard for the Tigers. When she transferred to Baylor, her game matured and Mulkey moved her to the point guard spot. Because of that move, Baylor was able to have an experienced player lead the offense for the season that featured perennial All-Americans Kalani Brown and Lauren Cox.
Look at Jackson’s stats from her last year at LSU to this past season with Baylor
- 2017-2018 (LSU): 18.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 43.7 FG%
- 2018-2019 (Baylor): 11.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 47.3 FG%
Now, Te’a Cooper is coming into a similar situation. Lauren Cox will be back this season for Baylor. Nalyssa Smith will be a factor inside along with Cox. Cooper will be transitioned to the point guard role for the Lady Bears.
Although Cooper will be new to Baylor, the McDonald’s All-American is not new to the transfer world. Cooper was a Tennessee Lady Vol for two seasons. While at Knoxville, Cooper played in 36 games and averaged 8.6 points per game. Her performance led to her earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors.
Kim Mulkey is looking to repeat the same success with Cooper that she experienced when Jackson transferred. With Cooper turning down the opportunity to jump to the WNBA, expect her to come out ready to play when Baylor begins their defense of the national championship.
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