MINNEAPOLIS -- Kayla McBride cooks on the court. The guard, in her first year with the Lynx and eighth in the league, she’s proven to be a dependable scorer. Her play has helped the Lynx clinch their playoff spot early.
But she likes to cook in the kitchen, too. McBride loves to cook and bake, and has baked for her teammates in the WNBA and for teams in Hungary, Turkey and Russia. She made cupcakes with an Oreo in it for her Lynx teammates. She finds it helps them connect with her, and helps her wind down during a stressful season.
“I think it brings people together and for me personally, baking is a way for me to relax and I have control over it,” she told Bally Sports. “I put these ingredients here, put these ingredients there, see what works, what doesn't work. It's something I just really enjoy doing.”
McBride is getting to share her love of baked goods with the community in Minneapolis, thanks to T. Rex Cookie. She has a signature cookie that is being sold at the bakery and at Lynx games, with a portion of proceeds going to the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“When they hit me up about it, they gave me three options. Like, if I created a cookie, would it be?” she said. “And mint chocolate chip ice cream is something that me and my mom share. We love mint chocolate everything, since I was a little kid. So I was like, ‘Oh, this is perfect.’”
McBride is the oldest of four, so the cause is close to her heart.
“I think we have a responsibility as athletes and just people who are in the spotlight to shed that light on the younger generation. It’s a big part of who I am. So being able to bring both those worlds together is cool.”
When the WNBA preseason started, McBride was finishing out her season with Fenerbahce, her team in Turkey. She didn’t have much time to get to know her new team in Minnesota before jumping in and playing with them. But she has found the Lynx -- and the Lynx fans -- have taken to her.
“It's so cool because every time I come out, warm up and the fans are starting to trickle in, the more and more I see my jersey or things like that,” she said.”And I love that because I embraced the city and this team and this organization and I'm getting the love back. So that's awesome. It's also my teammates and the coaching staff, but it's been even more amazing being part of the city and the culture.”
As she has become more comfortable with her teammates and her new city, McBride has become more of a leader for the Lynx, and coach Cheryl Reeve has taken notice.
“She was not as engaged verbally, not because she wasn’t willing early in the season. I think it was just kind of figuring out what's the vibe here? What do we do? How do we roll?” Reeve said. “And so we've gone through a better part of a season. We're nearing the end. Ups and downs, big wins, tough losses, especially early in the season. And she now knows what space to step into and what we need from her. And we've empowered her.”
McBride signed a three-year deal with Minnesota in February, and is already feeling at home in Minneapolis. She said she even thinks of starting a restaurant there where she can share her baked goods, like strawberry cupcakes with white chocolate frosting, or pineapple upside-down cupcakes.
“It's definitely become home quickly, quicker than I imagined. Obviously, hop off a plane, played two days later and just kept going from there and there's been ups and downs. We started off perfect and we've had our injuries and things like that, but we just keep persevering and resilient. And I think that our fans see that and they see that in me and I'm going to give them everything I have and they know that. So just try to build something bigger than just me.”