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Mulkey feared condition was serious

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Baylor coach Kim Mulkey says she's feeling better after recent surgery to remove a kidney stone.

Mulkey missed the Bears' NCAA tournament opener Sunday after being hospitalized with a reported reaction to medication. Mulkey said she went to the Lubbock, Texas, hospital early that morning because she noticed she was taking deeper breaths than usual.

Tests showed no sign of a blood clot or pneumonia, but she said blood work indicated what she called "major issues" -- leading to worries about anything from ovarian cancer to sepsis, an infection in the bloodstream. She said doctors never were able to clearly determine what caused the problems, though they apparently began with her liver.

"The liver has been affected either through medication or through the anesthesia or whatever," Mulkey said. "My liver has been injured in some way. Within a matter of three days, my lab results have come back heading in the right direction. I mean, significantly in the right direction.

"I feel good. I feel like I have more energy now, and the first 24 hours of being scared to death are gone. I'm not going to go away that easy."

The 46-year-old Mulkey had the kidney stone removed surgically last Friday in hopes of being with her team for its NCAA opener against Texas-San Antonio. Instead, assistant coach Leon Barmore led the second-seeded Bears (29-5) in their 87-82 overtime victory against the No. 15 seed in the Raleigh Regional.

Mulkey returned to the team two days later as Baylor beat No. 7 seed South Dakota State 60-58 on a last-second shot, sending the Bears into Saturday's game against Louisville in the round of 16.

"Coach Mulkey was in full force on the sideline," senior Rachel Allison said. "She has put on a happy face for us. She's been there and a great support for us, especially through her hard time. But I think she's going to be fine."

Mulkey is in her ninth season at Baylor.