|BRITTNEY GRINER: Baylor University|
Written by: Tom FitzGerald & Prospect-Central
It's been long overdue for Prospect-Central to feature a female basketball player. In this day and age female ballers are bigger, stronger, faster and better trained than ever before and it's helping their sport receive some much deserved credibility. While female players may not be as athletic or physically dominant as their male counterparts, they still can ball, pure and simple. Case in point...Brittney Griner!!!
The 6-foot 8 Griner has been the most dominant force in women's basketball this year (pros or college) and on Saturday was named The Associated Press' women's college basketball Player of the Year. She averaged 23.4 points, 9.4 rebounds & 5.2 blocks this season, leading the Baylor Bears to an undefeated record and their second Final Four appearance in three years. If the Lady Bears defeat the Stanford Cardinals in the semi-finals on Sunday and then go onto win the National Championship on Tuesday, they will finish the season 40-0; a record for victories in NCAA Division I basketball, men's or women's. If they fail to set the record, Brittney and the Lady Bears should still take solace in the fact they had a remarkable season.
There have obviously been many great female basketball players throughout time. Opinions may vary, but the "Mount Rushmore" of the women's game (imo) has to be Cheryl Miller, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper & Lisa Leslie. It's yet to be determined if Brittney Griner will leave her legacy on the women's game like these players have done, but if she's able to have an injury free career, there's no reason not to think she can't become the greatest female basketball player of all time. And while today might be April Fool's Day...Brittney Griner's game is definitely NO joke!!! *Below is an introduction video of Brittney from high school followed by an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about her Final Four appearance and then four more highlight videos.
DENVER--Walking down a hall in the Pepsi Center on Saturday, Brittney Griner was asked how much longboarding has helped her balance and agility on the basketball court.
"A lot," she said. "I love it. I've been doing it a while. I started looking for empty swimming pools, like in that movie 'Lords of Dogtown.' It's my favorite movie."
Griner may be the scourge of women's college basketball-the 6-foot-8 Baylor junior is being called the greatest player of all time, and Saturday won the Associated Press player of the year - but she often acts like a wide-eyed girl who happens to have the body of an NBA player.
"She is such a kid; she reminds me of a 12-year-old," Baylor forward Destiny Williams said. "She is fun to hang around. She can make you laugh. But she'll get on you when she needs to. She plays video games. I beat her, so she's not that good."
In basketball, suffice it to say, there's no one else like her. She'll lead the No. 1 Lady Bears (38-0) against No. 2 Stanford (35-1) at 6 p.m. Sunday in the NCAA national semifinals. The other semifinal matches Connecticut (33-4) and Notre Dame (34-3) at 3:30. The winners play for the championship at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Thanks to Griner, the Bears are shooting for the first ever 40-0 season. But they'll have to get past the Ogwumike sisters, Nneka and Ogwumike, in what should be the most appealing matchup in the women's game in many years.
"I'm looking forward to it a lot," said Griner, who like the sisters comes from Houston. "I haven't seen Nneka or Chiney since high school, since summer ball. They play remarkable together - that sister instinct for each other on the floor at high-low."
In the past couple of years, Griner has built a game that's far more than just the shot-blocking skills of somebody with a 7-foot-4-inch wingspan, longer than LeBron James', who's 6-8. Heck, it's even longer than Andrew Bynum's, and he's a 7-footer.
Oh, yes, and she also has seven dunks in her career, two in this NCAA Tournament, tying Tennessee's Candace Parker, who did it twice in the 2006 Big Dance.
Baylor's other superstar, Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, has challenged her to a dunking contest, although coach Kim Mulkey has ruled it out until her eligibility is done. "I told him I'm gonna dunk on him," Griner said. "No problem."
Some have wondered if she would leave school before her eligibility is up. She turns 22 in October, so she could enter the WNBA this year. But she emphasized Saturday, "I'm staying."
"Could you say that a little louder?" said Mulkey, who won AP coach of the year Saturday.
"I'm not going anywhere."
She'll be going to the Olympics with the U.S. team, of course. Earlier this year, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said the only player she had encountered who was similar to Griner was Uljana Semjonova, a 7-foot Russian who dominated the international game in the 1970s and '80s. "She didn't have the speed Griner has," Summitt said.
Griner has a hidden skill: She knows her way around car engines. "My dad was always under a car, and I was right there with him," she said. "I can do a tune-up, change the oil, change the brakes, take the rotors off."
She has put a turbocharge into women's basketball. Now she'd like to turn its biggest stage into her own garage. Original Article.
* ESPN's 2012 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings.