Aubry Cook: Adding depth in the post
Returning this season as an experienced sophomore, 6-3 post Aubry Cook believes she and her teammates have discovered the missing pieces to the team’s puzzle, the pieces which they believe will vault the Longhorns to great success this season.
“Last year we were not focused every day and we did not take every practice seriously enough,” stated Cook. “However, this year we are taking practices seriously, helping each other out, and working hard. It’s like all of the pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together and we accept the responsibility.”
As a rookie last year, Cook provided depth in the frontcourt, coming off the bench in the first 11 games before gaining eight starts during the Big 12 portion of the season. Aubry ended the year playing in 26 of 28 contests with those eight starts. She averaged 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game, playing nearly 12 minutes per contest for Jody Conradt’s squad.
One of the more accurate shooters, Cook connected on 50 percent of her shots a year ago. She was in double-figure scoring four times, with a career-high 15 points in the 70-62 win over Nebraska on Jan. 18 to her credit.
Aubry believes there are several factors that will contribute to finishing this team “puzzle”, such as better teamwork, the addition of assistant coach Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil, and a positive outlook on the season.
Struggling last year from a previous knee injury which sidelined her for her entire season year of high school at Houston basketball powerhouse Cy-Fair High School, Aubry believes she has grown personally, physically, and mentally on and off the court. She is a part of the majority of underclassmen on the team – 11 of the 14 players are sophomores or freshmen - and plans to take more of a leadership by constantly encouraging her teammates.
This season, she is coming back slowly from a preseason knee injury (hyperextension) and has seen action in three of the No. 25 ranked Longhorns’ four games, averaging seven minutes per game.
“As a freshman, I was not focused nor did I work hard every day,” confessed Cook. “We all needed to take a look at ourselves after last year. But, so far this season, I have been talking more with the coaches, working on my shot, and enjoying every moment of the game.”
A key piece to the Longhorns success is senior Tiffany Jackson, who has been a great mentor and a friend to Cook.
Although Cook feels that ‘the second half of her is leaving” upon Jackson’s graduation, Aubry is grateful for the time she has had, playing and socializing side-by-side with Jackson.
“I really want to soak up all of Tiff’s motivation, heart and energy and bring it into this season,” Cook stated.
In addition, Davis-Wrightsil has been an influential addition. The former “all-everything” player in the Texas basketball program and winner of six National Player of the Year awards, Davis-Wrightsil is working closely with the post players this season.
“It is my job to keep a level of consistency with these young women,” noted Davis-Wrightsil. “I plan on challenging them and encouraging them on and off the court. I always tell the players, leadership starts within, and if you look to give rather than to take, every one will do her part and this will result in success for the team.”
“Coach Davis-Wrightsil certainly pushes me a lot,” proclaims Cook, “and I know I am getting better because of it.”
And Cook pushes herself in the classroom as well. An education major, Aubry earned Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll status last fall.
With motivation from Jackson, Davis-Wrightsil, and more importantly, herself, is most likely the reason Aubry has established high personal goals.
“Defense wins the game”, Cook stated, “and whatever I can do to improve myself, my conditioning and my rebounding will be a valuable contribution to the team.”