Look at the picture of the Southwestern Oklahoma State women's basketball team, and you think it's just a nice team photo with everyone holding a basketball.
Look again, and you realize the coaches in the middle aren't holding anything in front of them.
Their pregnant bellies have been painted to look like basketballs.
Anyone who ever said being pregnant is no fun never met Kelsi Musick and Cophie Anderson.
Musick, the head coach at Southwestern, is eight months pregnant, and Anderson, her one and only assistant, is seven months pregnant. Together, they have experienced much this season — and it's not just swollen ankles and food cravings. They have also taken a program that won only three games three seasons ago and guided it to its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament, which starts Friday.
“It's been kind of unbelievable,” Anderson said.
The madness started well before March.
Late last summer, Musick thought she might be pregnant. She took a home pregnancy test, then called Anderson.
“I don't know for sure,” she told Anderson.
The best friends met at Musick's house, and Musick showed Anderson the test.
“Oh, yeah,” Anderson said. “You are pregnant.”
Together, they screamed and laughed and cried.
Then a month later, the scene repeated itself. Anderson was the one who took the pregnancy test but wasn't sure of the results, and Musick was the one who assured her that she was indeed pregnant.
Again, they screamed and laughed and cried.
“It was so fun,” Anderson said.
They decided to have some fun, too, with how they told their players. Musick went first, writing a poem that she had the seniors read sight unseen to the rest of the team. At the end, the poem broke the news she was having a baby.
The team went crazy.
Then about a month later, Anderson sent a bag of candy to the team with a note attached. The note ended with, “Good luck from Coach Anderson's baby.”
“They went crazy again,” Musick said.
For as much fun as Musick and Anderson have had with their pregnancies, there have been challenges.
Since Musick is due April 8 — it's a boy that she and husband, Josh, plan to name Maddox — and Anderson is due May 5 — she's also having a boy that she and husband, Wayne, plan to name Cameron — both are currently in their third trimester. This is time in most pregnancies when doctors want women to reduce stress, increase rest and curtail travel.
None of that fits with coaching a basketball team in the national tournament.
“Obviously, I don't want to put myself or especially my unborn baby at risk,” Musick said. “But at the same time, I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to be a basketball coach.”
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