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If Wichita State keeps playing well, the Shockers are going to have to learn how to celebrate their victories properly. In a game against No. 12 Alabama on Dec. 4 in Wichita, forward Claudius Johnson scored as the first half ended, giving the Shockers a 33-31 lead. Wichita State coach Mike Cohen was so excited he leapt into the air, and came down awkwardly on his left leg.
Cohen felt pain in his knee, and instead of giving a half-time talk, he had the knee examined by a doctor. During the second half, he returned on crutches and wearing a brace to protect a ruptured tendon in the knee and watched as the Shockers upset Alabama 74-71. The next day Cohen underwent surgery, and he's expected to wear the brace for six to eight weeks. He may keep the brace and crutches as good luck charms. Wichita State pulled off another upset four nights later, beating Oklahoma State 72-69.
Cohen wasn't the only Shocker who was hurt against Alabama. Center Phil Mendelson was fouled with 6.6 seconds left in overtime and opened up a bloody gash under his right eye that would later require five stitches. He stayed in the game, though, and made two crucial free throws.
Though Alabama coach Wimp Sanderson escaped Levitt Arena without injury, he was pained by his team's performance. He closed the Tide's dressing room and would not allow the players to talk to reporters. But Sanderson had plenty to say later. "We have a problem, and if it's me, I'll leave," he said. "It's a disgrace, having the ability we have. Georgia beat [ Wichita State] by 44 and Dartmouth, which doesn't even give scholarships, beat them by 15. I know they're tough at home, but this is a disgrace."
SHE DOES IT ALL
Baylor center Maggie Stinnett will tell you that she's a bit over her ideal weight, but no one at the school is complaining. After all, having had a baby so recently does make it hard to stay in shape.
Stinnett, nee Maggie Davis, sat out last season because she was pregnant, and she gave birth to Earl Wayne Stinnett II in May. Though Stinnett claims she's not playing as well as she did before her pregnancy, she leads the Bears with an average of 15.4 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. How much did they miss her? They were 4-23 without her last season, but have won five of their first eight games this year.
Stinnett is a sixth-year senior who red-shirted her freshman season after injuring an ankle in her first game, then played three seasons. She made the all-conference first team as a sophomore and junior. The pregnancy forced her to miss her fifth year of eligibility, which is normally the maximum the NCAA allows, but Stinnett took advantage of a provision that allows the five-year clock to be extended for a variety of circumstances, pregnancy among them.
Juggling the demands of a baby, class-work and basketball isn't especially difficult, according to Stinnett. "My husband is a big help, and we have a baby-sitter who helps as well," she said. "It really comes down to time management. You don't have a lot of time to waste." But there are also rewards, one of which is a loyal cheering section.