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Lady Raiders return to action at OSU


STILLWATER, Okla. – The Texas Tech Lady Raiders return to action on Saturday when they travel to Gallagher-IBA Arena for a 7 p.m. contest against Oklahoma State.

For the second consecutive year, a pair of Lady Raiders will make their return to Stillwater, as both Bryn Gerlich and Vivian Gray both played for the Cowgirls.

INSIDE THE MATCHUP:

MATCHUP:
Texas Tech (9-13, 2-9 Big 12) at Oklahoma State (7-14, 2-10 Big 12)
DATE: February 12, 2022
LOCATION: Gallagher-IBA Arena (Stillwater, Okla.)

LAST TIME OUT:

Texas Tech fell to No. 16 UT 61-56 on Wednesday night. Despite cutting a once nine-point UT lead to just two twice, the Lady Raiders fell. Gerlich capped the 9-2 run with a 3-pointer with 1:19 to play. Texas answered with a layup by Lauren Ebo but Gray hit a jumper that brought Tech to within 58-56. On the ensuing possession, the Lady Raiders forced a stop, but Rori Harmon secured a key offensive rebound with fewer than 30 seconds to play. The board forced Tech to foul.  UT hit one-of-two from the line, setting up one last possession for Tech to tie with a three. On the ensuing 3-point attempt, Lexy Hightower was blocked. Gray finished with a game-high 20 points.

SCOUTING THE COWGIRLS:

OSU enters Saturday’s contest with a bit of momentum after snapping an eight-game losing streak on Wednesday. The Cowgirls rolled past TCU 76-47. OSU outscored TCU 47-23 after leading by just five at the break. Lauren Fields scored 25 points and hit five of OSU’s 10 triples, while Taylen Collins added 14. Fields is now averaging 16.7 points this season. Fields is the only Oklahoma State player averaging in double-figures. Collins is averaging 9.3 points and 6.8 rebounds. 

 
UP NEXT:

The Lady Raiders close a two-game road swing through the State of Oklahoma at OU on Wednesday night. Tip-off from Norman is set for 6 p.m.

 



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Nets vs. Suns – Game Recap – February 1, 2022


PHOENIX — — Every opposing team knows that Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker can score points in bunches. They also know about Chris Paul‘s elite passing and mid-range game, along with Deandre Ayton‘s low-post scoring ability.

Then there’s Mikal Bridges. He’s a No. 4 option that makes this arguably the deepest team in the NBA.

Booker scored 35 points, Bridges added a season-high 27 and the league-leading Suns extended their winning streak to 11 games by beating the Brooklyn Nets 121-111 on Tuesday night.

“What helps us is we just have a complete team,” Paul said. “You can’t key in on one or two guys. If people try to do that with me or Booker, Mikal can get hot…”

“That’s what makes us good. On any given night, anybody can get going.”

The Suns (41-9) continued their best start to a season in franchise history and have two double-digit winning streaks this season. They also won 18 games in a row from Oct. 30 to Dec. 2.

Phoenix has made winning look easy for much of the season. Booker said that’s not the case.

“This league is not simple,” Booker said. “Guarding Kyrie (Irving) 1-on-1 is not simple. So it’s something you have to lock in to. It takes a lot of hard work and effort. But having those experiences that we’ve had together, it helps a lot.”

Bridges scored a season high for a second straight game. The lanky 6-foot-6 forward had 26 points against the Spurs on Sunday and was arguably even better against the Nets, shooting 10 of 14 from the field and adding eight rebounds and four assists. It’s the kind of performance the Suns envisioned when they signed him to a four-year, $90 million extension during the offseason.

The Suns took a 91-82 lead into the fourth quarter and never trailed. Paul finished with 20 points and 14 assists. Cam Johnson had 16 points off the bench.

Brooklyn has lost five straight. Irving led the Nets with 26 points while James Harden had 22. Blake Griffin scored 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting off the bench.

Irving was playing just his ninth game of the season and all of them have been on the road. The star guard remains one of the few unvaccinated players in the NBA and due to COVID-19 mandates in New York City concerning public arenas, he’s not permitted to play in home games.

The Suns jumped out to a 39-29 lead by the end of the first quarter after shooting 71.4% from the field. Booker scored 14 points after making his first six shots from the field.

“We had opportunities,” Harden said. “We need to get off to a better start. That first quarter really hurt us. I felt like the last three quarters we were really pretty good.”

Said Brooklyn coach Steve Nash: “That is a high-level team playing the best basketball in the league, a lot of momentum, great crowd. Other than giving up 39 in the first quarter and getting them in the bonus early in the fourth and some loose balls, we matched them for large stretches.”

Paul made a driving layup as the second quarter buzzer sounded to give the Suns a 65-58 halftime advantage. Paul had nine points and 10 assists in the first half. Harden led the Nets with 15 points before the break.

TIP-INS

Nets: Irving averaged 24.5 points and 5.1 rebounds over his first eight games this season. … Among those who missed the game: F Kevin Durant (left knee MCL sprain), F LaMarcus Aldridge (left ankle sprain) and F Joe Harris (left ankle surgery). … Nash won both of his MVPs as a player with the Suns.

Suns: Ayton returned after missing the past seven games with an ankle injury. He had 12 points and six rebounds. … F Jae Crowder was back after missing four games and scored three points … Guards Landry Shamet (right ankle sprain) and Cameron Payne (right wrist sprain) were out. … Hosted a sellout crowd at Footprint Center for a 12th straight game. … Have a 31-0 record when leading after three quarters.

UP NEXT

Nets: Travel to face the Kings on Wednesday.

Suns: Travel to face the Hawks on Thursday.

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Streaking Cavaliers top Thunder for sixth win in seven games


CLEVELAND — Darius Garland collected 23 points and 11 assists and rookie Evan Mobley had 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds to lift the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 94-87 on Saturday night.

Jarrett Allen added 14 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland, which built a 74-57 lead in the third quarter and never allowed the Thunder to pull closer than six points in the fourth. The Cavaliers have won six of their last seven.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Darius Garland (10) passes the ball away from Oklahoma City Thunder's Josh Giddey (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 94-87. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander paced Oklahoma City across the board with 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Kenrich Williams scored 12 points and Luguentz Dort had 10 points before being ejected for elbowing Kevin Love in the head.

Mobley, the third overall draft pick from USC, has nine double-doubles in 39 pro games. Garland posted his sixth double-double in the last seven games and is averaging 21.0 points and 12.3 assists during that timeframe.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Lauri Markkanen grimaces in pain after an injury in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland lost forward Lauri Markkanen to a sprained right ankle in the second quarter; he was helped to the locker room and did not return.

Dort received a flagrant 2 for striking Love after the whistle on a scramble for a loose ball. Love received a personal foul prior to absorbing the elbow.

The Thunder, who wrapped up a four-game road trip, have lost five straight and 10 of their last 11 games. Oklahoma City’s starting frontcourt of Dort, Darius Bazley and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl shot a combined 5 of 25 from the field.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Lamar Stevens (8) drives against Oklahoma City Thunder's Ty Jerome (16) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cedi Osman had 10 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, who went 18 of 35 from the foul line and missed 21 of 27 3-point attempts.

Cleveland jumped out to the largest lead of the first half at 47-37, but Oklahoma City answered with eight straight points heading into intermission, capped by a Gilgeous-Alexander 3-pointer.

Mobley scored seven points and Allen had six in the first quarter as Cleveland took a 24-22 lead. Bazley had four points and six rebounds for Oklahoma City.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman, right, loses control of the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder's Luguentz Dort (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Late arrival

The Thunder didn’t check into their downtown Cleveland hotel until 8 a.m. due to winter travel delays in Charlotte following their 121-98 loss to the Hornets on Friday.

Oklahoma City’s team bus became stuck on an icy road en route to the airport, forcing several members of its traveling party to disembark to help push it to safety. The Thunder also had to change planes at 5 a.m.

“It was grueling for the guys, but these experiences are a little unifying,” coach Mark Daigneault said. “When we got off the elevator at the hotel, people were already eating breakfast, so that kind of reinforced how long we’d been trying to get here.”

Cleveland Cavaliers' Jarrett Allen (31) dunks the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder's Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (50) Darius Bazley (7) and in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tip-ins

Thunder: Oklahoma City is assured of finishing January with a losing record, marking the eighth straight month it has done so. … Rookie guard Vit Krejci (right ankle sprain), who has two points in nine minutes this season, missed his fifth straight game. … Guard Theo Maledon, center Aleksej Pokusevski and center Isaiah Roby are on G League assignments with the Oklahoma City Blue, along with two-way guard Paul Watson. … The Thunder lost at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse for the first time since Jan. 29, 2017.

Cavaliers: Guard Rajon Rondo (right hamstring soreness) missed his sixth game in a row. Rondo has only appeared in three games since being acquired from the Lakers in a three-team trade on Jan. 3. … Guard Lamar Stevens (left knee soreness), who had started seven straight games prior to being hurt at Oklahoma City on Jan. 15, returned from a two-game absence. … Two-way guard RJ Nembhard scored 33 points for the Cleveland Charge of the G League earlier in the day at Raptors 905.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Isaac Okoro, right, passes against Oklahoma City Thunder's Darius Bazley, left, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Up next

Thunder: Host Chicago on Wednesday night.

Cavaliers: Host New York on Monday night.

Cleveland Cavaliers' Lauri Markkanen (24) passes over Oklahoma City Thunder's Kenrich Williams (34) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)



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University of RI plays American International College men’s basketball


SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Here were 40 minutes of evidence as to why the University of Rhode Island wanted a tune-up before jumping into Atlantic 10 play. 

The Rams looked like a team coming off a 20-day pause due to COVID-19. This late booking with American International resulted in a 70-55 victory for the hosts at the Ryan Center, and it wasn’t pretty. 

It was, however, to be expected. URI has been out of action since a Dec. 13 blowout win at Milwaukee due to multiple virus positives among players and staff. Nonconference games against Charleston and Brown were canceled prior to league postponements against Dayton and La Salle. 

“We didn’t anticipate having these types of breaks coming into the season,” URI coach David Cox said. “We thought it would be different. Obviously, the game today — it looked like we hadn’t played in a few weeks.  

“Extremely, extremely rusty out there on both ends of the floor. But it was imperative that we got this game in because we hadn’t played in three weeks. We needed to get the rust off before going on the road for our first two conference games.” 

The Rams committed 11 turnovers and were just 6-for-12 from the foul line in the first half against their Division II opposition. That general lack of sharpness plagued them to the final whistle. URI’s considerable physical advantages were enough to secure the right result in this one — the undersized Yellow Jackets finished at just 31.9% from the floor. 

More: URI men’s basketball finds an opponent for Sunday

More: COVID cancels URI-Charleston game 

URI head coach David Cox talks to his players on the bench during the second half of Sunday's game against AIC.

“If we started conference like that, it would have been ugly for us,” URI guard Malik Martin said. “I think we needed this game. We’ve got to have two more good practices going into Wednesday and we’ll be fine.” 

The Rams are now anticipating opening league play on Wednesday night at George Mason. There are a few points of study they’ll take into that one: 

Vaccination rate at 90 percent for Rams

URI (9-3) should be back to full strength entering this week. 

Antwan Walker was the lone member of the roster still in health and safety protocols as of Sunday. Cox said the reserve forward is expected back at practice on Monday and should be cleared prior to Wednesday’s tip. 

Martin disclosed he and fellow guard Ishmael El-Amin were among those who tested positive for the virus in December. He was asymptomatic but still forced to quarantine in his dorm room for an extended period.  

American International's Donovan Miller knocks the ball away from URI's Sebastian Thomas in first-half action on Sunday.

“Obviously it showed on the court today,” Martin said. “We were out of rhythm.” 

Cox estimated 90% of the Rams — based on a combined number of 20 players and staff members — are fully vaccinated. Up to five URI players will be eligible for booster shots in the immediate future. 

“Obviously the school now has a new mandate for young men and women to come back,” Cox said. “They have to get boosters if they qualify for it.” 

Makhi Mitchell, of URI, grabs a rebound during Sunday's nonleague game against AIC.

The Rams were one of what felt like a minority of programs that didn’t need a pause last season. URI was free to practice and play rescheduled games as they became available. Contingency plans in place for the better part of two years were finally put to the test. 

“Having a relatively mature group, I think they handled it extremely well,” Cox said. “They’re eager to get back out here on the court.” 

Finding an opponent

Cox described the process of making a date with AIC as “a mad scramble.” 

The Rams found out during their Friday practice La Salle was going to be forced to pull out of its scheduled trip to Kingston. URI wound up contacting the Yellow Jackets (5-7) after their own Northeast-10 game with Le Moyne was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns among the Dolphins. 

“We called every team we could possibly call,” Cox said. “We called a number of Division I teams and couldn’t get a bite or couldn’t make it work.  

“Late notice, New Year’s Day travel, money — all of those factors. We came up with the best that we could do here.” 

The Flyers were among the potential opponents. There were brief discussions between the Rams, Dayton and the conference after a corresponding Sunday postponement between the Flyers and St. Bonaventure. Dayton was unable to secure a charter or late commercial flight reservation to visit URI. 

Checking the numbers

Martin finished one point shy of a double-double, finishing with nine and pulling down 11 rebounds. 

The stat sheet was kind to him and a couple of fellow Rams in this one. El-Amin chipped in nine of his 14 points in the second half and connected on all but one of his five 3-point attempts. Makhi Mitchell was 7-for-8 from the field while collecting 19 points and eight rebounds. 

URI’s Jalen Carey hits a shot over American International’s Frankyn Batista in the second half on Sunday.

URI shot 48.1% in the first half but faded to 38.7% after the break. AIC found it particularly tough going through the opening 20 minutes, finishing at 25% from the field and 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Frankyn Batista totaled 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets while Carlos Hubb hit double figures with 13 points. 

The Rams improved to 4-0 all-time against AIC, winning the first meeting since the 1941-42 season. Frank Keaney was URI’s head coach and started 60-40 through his first 100 career games. Cox improved to 58-42 thanks to Sunday’s victory, hitting the century mark midway through his fourth season in charge. 

bkoch@providencejournal.com  

On Twitter: @BillKoch25 

The Rams' Ishmael Leggett is fouled by the Yellow Jackets' Jordan Vidal as he drives to the basket in the first half of Sunday's game.

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL (55): Batista 6-19 2-2 14, Covington 0-1 0-0 0, Golding 0-4 0-0 0, Miller 1-6 0-0 2, Vidal 4-7 0-0 9, Hubb 5-12 1-2 13, Hicks 3-9 0-0 9, Jordan 2-4 0-0 4, Washington 0-6 2-4 2, Lopes 0-0 0-0 0, Weston 1-1 0-0 2; totals 22-69 5-8 55. RHODE ISLAND (70): Makhi.Mitchell 7-8 5-9 19, Makhe.Mitchell 0-4 2-2 2, El-Amin 5-6 0-0 14, Leggett 2-6 1-1 6, Sheppard 1-7 0-0 2, Martin 2-5 5-8 9, Carey 3-9 0-0 7, Thomas 1-3 0-0 2, Ayo-Faleye 1-5 0-0 2, Berry 3-5 0-0 7; totals 25-58 13-20 70.

       Halftime — Rhode Island 35-22. 3-Point Goals — American International 6-22 (Hicks 3-7, Hubb 2-8, Vidal 1-2, Golding 0-1, Batista 0-2, Miller 0-2), Rhode Island 7-22 (El-Amin 4-5, Carey 1-1, Berry 1-3, Leggett 1-4, Thomas 0-1, Ayo-Faleye 0-2, Martin 0-2, Sheppard 0-4). Rebounds — American International 34 (Batista 14), Rhode Island 46 (Martin 11). Assists — American International 14 (Batista, Miller, Vidal, Hubb, Jordan 2), Rhode Island 16 (Thomas 5). Total Fouls — American International 15, Rhode Island 10. Records — Rhode Island 9-3, American International 5-7. 

URI women postponed again

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — It will be at least another week before the University of Rhode Island women open their Atlantic 10 conference schedule. 

The Rams have had a second league game postponed, this time on Wednesday against Massachusetts. Both programs remain on pause due to COVID-19. 

The conference made the announcement on Sunday, exactly seven days before URI will travel to Fordham for a noon tip in the Bronx. The Rams have been idle since finishing their non-conference schedule on Dec. 19 with a victory over Boston University. 

URI improved to 10-3 thanks to a three-game winning streak, including the 54-44 triumph over the Terriers. The Rams won their first seven games of the season, dropped the next three and rebounded into the exam break. That momentum has been lost thanks to what is now an extended absence. 

New Year’s Day was supposed to mark the opening of URI’s league season. The Rams were set to welcome Dayton prior to reporting virus issues within their program. Those have yet to subside.  

— Bill Koch



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Christmas eve warm front; snow chance emerging Sunday and Monday


Here comes another out-of-season warm front for Minnesota.

Minnesota is riding the tip of another unseasonably warm late December air mass. A warm pool of temperatures in the 60s and 70s covers the southern plains as close as Kansas Thursday. Highs in the 80s are common in Texas.

Temperatures Thursday afternoon

Temperatures Thursday afternoon.

Oklahoma Mesonet

We hit 39 degrees in the Twin Cities Thursday afternoon. That’s 13 degrees warmer than our average of 26 degrees for December 23.

Christmas eve brings a mix of sun and a few clouds. Highs should push well into the 40s across southern Minnesota, with 50 degrees possible along the I-90 corridor.

Forecast high temperatures Friday

Forecast high temperatures on Christmas eve.

NOAA

Good travel weather through Christmas day

Overall travel weather looks good across Minnesota through Christmas day. A few light rain or snow showers may cross far northern Minnesota Friday. A chance of light snow visits north-central Minnesota later on Christmas day. Other than that our weather looks quiet through Saturday.

Highs on Christmas day will be cooler, with 20s and teens across most of Minnesota.

Forecast high temperatures Saturday

Forecast high temperatures on Christmas day.

NOAA

Snow chance Sunday and Monday

Most forecast models have been in flux about a snow chance later this weekend. The latest trends suggest a potentially significant snow event Sunday and Monday favoring areas from the Twin Cities northward.

NOAA’s GFS model shows similar solutions with the Canadian and European models and develops a large area of snow covering most of Minnesota Sunday and Monday.

NOAA GFS model Sunday and Monday

NOAA GFS model Sunday and Monday.

NOAA via tropical tidbits

Very early snowfall totals suggests significantly plowable snow for most of Minnesota by Monday. Here’s the early European model output.

European model (ECMWF) snowfall output

European model (ECMWF) snowfall output through Monday.

ECMWF via pivotal weather

So have a great Christmas holiday! But keep an eye on the potential for snow on your post-Christmas travels Sunday and Monday.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.



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Cavaliers vs. Wizards – Game Recap – December 3, 2021


WASHINGTON — — Darius Garland had 32 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers went on a 19-0 run spanning part of each half in a 116-101 rout of the Washington Wizards on Friday night.

Cleveland won its fourth straight game, and this streak has been pretty emphatic. The Cavaliers beat Orlando by 13, Dallas by 18 and Miami by 26.

On Friday, Cleveland scored the final nine points of the second quarter and the first 10 of the third, pushing a 10-point advantage to 29. After Bradley Beal‘s layup snapped a drought of about 7 1/2 minutes for Washington, Isaac Okoro and Garland made 3-pointers for Cleveland that made it 81-48.

The Cavaliers led by as many as 36 points in the third. It was 99-72 after three before Washington cut into the margin in the fourth.

Jarrett Allen had 28 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth consecutive double-double.

Deni Avdija led Washington with 16 points.

FRUSTRATION

Washington’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was called for a technical foul after the end of the second quarter. The free throw for Cleveland came at the start of the third.

Near the end of the third, Aaron Holiday, Montrezl Harrell and Davis Bertans all received technicals from official CJ Washington, giving Garland three quick free throws. Washington also gave Cleveland’s Lamar Stevens a technical moments later.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland’s last 13 opponents have shot under 40% from 3-point range, the longest active streak in the NBA. Washington went 10 of 31 (32%). … The Cavaliers were without F Dean Wade (right calf strain) and F Cedi Osman (low back soreness), and G Collin Sexton is out because of a left knee meniscal tear.

Wizards: Coach Wes Unseld Jr. said before the game the team was still evaluating whether F Rui Hachimura should travel on the upcoming trip. Washington plays three games in four nights, so practice time is limited. Hachimura, who was absent for personal reasons, is now in the process of reconditioning for a return.

UP NEXT

Cavaliers: Host the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Wizards: Visit the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

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Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister

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5 Best Weighted Stuffed Animals for 2022


According to a 2016 national parent survey, 6.1 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lives. Of these children, approximately 3 in 10 also experienced anxiety. To help with their ADHD and anxiety, approximately 3 in 4 of these individuals received behavioral therapy or medication.

While there’s lots of research on ADHD, one type of treatment that’s less well-documented is the number of individuals with ADHD that use weighted stuffed animals to help alleviate and cope with symptoms.

Weighted stuffed animals generally look like the popular children’s toy, but tip the scales at somewhere between 2 and 5 pounds. They may have longer arms for hugging or include features to aid with fidgeting. They’re available in a wide range of styles and sizes.

Doctors and therapists specializing in grief and loss have been using weighted teddy bears for years to help their clients.

While more research into this area is needed, there has been a little research done into weighted blankets, which offer a similar type of support. One small study on weighted blankets found that 63 percent of participants reported lower anxiety after using it and 78 percent found it to have a calming effect.

The general theory behind weighted blankets and stuffed animals is that added weight can offer deep pressure touch, which is thought to calm the nervous system and trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. Using a weighted blanket or stuffed animal may also improve sleep, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and ADHD.

Adults might be hesitant to appear in public with a large stuffed animal, but their cute appearances make these nonthreatening for young children. They also typically come in a variety of shapes and colors that appeal to children’s unique interests.

When it came to choosing which products to include, we looked at a variety of factors like:

  • Size. Some individuals love a larger animal they can really wrap their arms around while others prefer something a little smaller and more discrete, so we tried to include a variety of size options.
  • Material. Because this stuffed animal is going to get plenty of use, those that can be easily washed and dried stood out.
  • Price. We know that finances can vary, so we tried to include a range of options for diverse budgets.
  • Customer reviews. There’s nothing like an actual user to let you know how a product feels and holds up after continual use. We highly valued this information, and know it matters to you.

Here are some of the best weighted stuffed animals you can buy online.

Best weighted neck wrap

Intelex Warmies Animal Wrap

Craving a neck hug? The curve of this stuffed animal wrap allows it to lay smoothly across the neck. (It can also double as a travel pillow!)

It’s filled with all-natural grain and dried French lavender to provide a soothing scent. Fully microwavable, it can be used for hot and cold therapy. As an added bonus, this therapeutic wrap is available in a variety of animal shapes and meets U.S. safety standards for all ages.

Best warming lap pad

Sensory4U Panda Bear

This lap pad designed to look like a panda bear stretches 17 x 22 inches. It has a 4-pound removable glass bead-filled inner pad that can be removed and heated in the microwave to create a warm, soothing pad.

One thing to keep in mind is that it is recommended to hand wash the exterior, and with white fabric it can quickly become dirty.

Best lightweight Teddy Bear

Wild Baby Weighted Plush Pal

This 10-inch stuffed animal weighs in at less than 1 pound making it perfect for young children. It’s also ideal for travel.

Each animal is filled with natural clay beads and dried lavender to offer a relaxing smell. It can be fully heated in the microwave, and the removable therapy pack can be used as heating pad or frozen for cold therapy.

As an added bonus, the company offers free returns within 30 days.

Best for multiple senses and aromatherapy

Intelex Warmies Marshmallow Bear

This teddy bear offers a lavender scent — lavender has been associated with relaxation. This plushie weighs just under 2 pounds and is filled with grain and dried lavender.

The entire toy is microwavable for those who prefer a warmer touch. It can also be placed in the freezer for using with bumps or bruises.

Meeting the U.S. safety standards for all ages, the company makes a variety of different animals, so you can choose one that fits your personality.

Best weighted lap pad

Huggaroo Puppy

  • Price: $$$
  • Weight: 3.6 pounds

This lap pad comes designed as either a puppy or a lamb. Made of 100 percent polyester fabric, the pad is filled with hypoallergenic, odorless, food-grade, polypropylene (plastic) pellets.

The pad’s soft, plush fabric can be stroked for grounding and is soft enough to sleep with. While not so large to make travel impossible, this is a larger weighted animal.

Stretching 29 x 8 inches, both the outer cover and inner weighted insert are washable. It weighs in at 3.6 pounds.

Weighted stuffed animals not for you? Like your stuffed animal, but want to try other things, too?

  • Sniff some lavender. Whether you rub on some lavender scented lotion, take a lavender scented bath, or use a diffuser with essential oil, the smell of lavender can help to lower your blood pressure.
  • Take time to meditate or journal. Even young children can benefit from mindfulness and breathing exercises.
  • Talk to friends. There’s nothing like a good heart-to-heart. You may even want to join a class or group related to one of your interests to connect with some new people.
  • Talk with professional counselors. Sometimes we need the ear and advice of a person trained with approaches and ideas to help us sort through and manage our needs. Whether it’s a specific concern, short-term goal, or you don’t know where you’d start or what to talk about, there are different ways to access a therapist to talk to.

Even talking with your general physician or family doctor, who you’d see for physical concerns, can be a great thing. They may suggest support groups, talk therapy, or medication.

Stuffed animals aren’t just for small children. They can be useful for calming nerves, grounding, and meeting your hug needs, especially in times when you may be more isolated, and whether or not you experience ADHD.

Finding the perfect weighted stuffed animal can take a bit, but there are plenty of options to choose from. If you’re struggling with a place to start, you might consider taking a closer look at a few of the ones on our list!


Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, MEd, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care. Catherine writes for various websites and teaches full-spectrum childbirth and postpartum education in several locations in California’s North Bay Area and Peninsula.



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New World Player Shares Great Gold-Efficient Tip While Leveling


New World can be quite demanding in terms of Gold while leveling, but a player shares a trick that might save others’ coins in the long run.

new world gold-efficient trick purchase new gear no repair cheaper trading posts repair too expensive leveling

Amazon Game Studios’ New World is fast approaching its seventh week since the official release last September, and since then, many things have changed for the MMO. One of the most noticeable changes is that its player count decreased a lot due to a mix of reasons that range from game-breaking glitches like the Gold and material duping bug to the fact that some players feel like the game is repetitive in terms of enemy and quest variety. The consequence of this is that concurrent Steam users went down to around 200,000, a drastic drop from the all-time peak of over 900,000 just a few weeks ago.

However, it’s not all bad. Amazon Game Studios is really trying its best to make the game a safer and better place for everyone, starting with bans being handed out to cheaters and exploiters, including streamers caught red-handed. Furthermore, there are plans to link all trading posts in New World in order to improve the game’s economy and reduce the travel taxes as a result, due to players not having to constantly move between settlements. Some improvements are also coming to the new player experience, which is great because it means that now is a good time to pick New World up or return to the game and make a new character.

RELATED: New World Players Share What Makes Them Mad in the Game

Because leveling in New World is not always very easy due to several mechanics not being fully explained and the game being quite rich in terms of things to discover, a Reddit user by the name of Rheality_ shared a very useful tip for players making new characters. One of the most frustrating things in New World for new players is that dying damages all the gear worn by the character as well as that in the bag, and repairing some severely damaged pieces can be quite expensive. That’s why purchasing new equipment from the posts can be a much better idea.

In fact, some low-level items in New World can be pretty cheap when sold by other players at the trading posts, and the reason is that the market is a bit inflated at the moment. As such, sometimes players will find that repairing a weapon or a piece of armor might cost 20 to 50 Gold, whereas purchasing a better item might be cheaper and also be a great upgrade to the previous one.

The market is inflated because New World is still suffering from the Gold and material duping glitch, but the silver lining of this is that some items can sell for very low prices. That’s why checking trading posts out before venturing out into the wilds is always a good idea.

New World is available now on PC.

MORE: The State of New World Post-Launch

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