Fever’s Lauren Cox, Liberty’s Megan Walker move closer to WNBA debut

Jul 29, 2020

Mechelle VoepelESPN.com

CloseMechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.

WNBA No. 3 draft pick Lauren Cox will be able to take the court Wednesday for the Indiana Fever’s shootaround, and No. 9 pick Megan Walker has been activated for the New York Liberty’s game.

The 2020 NCAA first-team All-Americans are the two most prominent rookies who have yet to play this WNBA season, but both are getting closer.

Cox confirmed Tuesday that she dealt with symptoms of COVID-19 for a few weeks before she was cleared to come into the WNBA’s bubble in Bradenton, Florida, last Thursday evening. Walker, who entered the bubble last Thursday morning, also tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month; the Liberty said she was asymptomatic. Both players had to quarantine at IMG Academy for four days after arrival.

Both players had to quarantine at IMG Academy for four days after arrival.

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Cox, the Big 12 player of the year out of Baylor, said she tested negative June 29 when she was in Indiana doing individual workouts. Then, she went back home to Dallas and tested positive on July 1 and 2.

Cox described her symptoms as relatively mild, but she dealt with congestion, a cough and a sore throat for about two weeks and loss of sense of taste and smell for an additional week.

She said that for the most part her sense of taste has come back, although not entirely, as some things “don’t taste right.”

Cox has had Type 1 diabetes since she was 7 years old but said that wasn’t a complicating factor for her with the coronavirus.

“I would say you have to be a little more cautious [as a diabetic],” she said. “Because it can affect people whose immune systems are compromised more than the average person. But at the same time, I have really good control over my diabetes, so it didn’t really affect much in that way.”

Cox’s last game with Baylor was March 8. She hasn’t been activated for Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Mercury, but she’s excited just to go through shootaround and get back on the court.

“It’s been a long time; it’s going to feel really good,” said Cox, a 6-foot-4 forward who averaged 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds for Baylor last season. “It’s going to take a while for me to get back in shape, but I’m just really excited to get out there with my teammates. Honestly, I’m really excited that we’re having a season.”

Walker was able to practice Monday and Tuesday and is likely to get some playing time Wednesday when the Liberty face the Dallas Wings. A 6-foot-1 forward, Walker was the player of the year in the American Athletic Conference for UConn, averaging 19.7 points and 8.4 rebounds.

A junior, Walker was eligible to leave early for the draft because she turns 22 in this calendar year, in November. The only other rookie selected in the first round of the 2020 draft who is playing this season but hasn’t seen action yet is Walker’s New York teammate Jazmine Jones, the No. 12 pick. She has been dealing with a right ankle sprain but is listed as probable for Wednesday’s game.

Kitija Laksa, who was picked No. 11 by Seattle, is not competing in the WNBA this season.

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