Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship
Baylor's Brittney Griner cuts down the net after the Lady Bears thrashed Notre Dame 80-61 on Tuesday night.
April 4th, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40-0 season, championship

If she hadn't made the point already that she and the Baylor Lady Bears were the queens of women's hoops, Brittney Griner left no doubts Tuesday night.

With their 80-61 win over Notre Dame, the Bears did the unprecedented, winning 40 straight games in a season and planting themselves firmly in the debate over which is the best women's college team ever. In a game that was close before the Bears shredded the Fighting Irish 46-33 in the second half, Griner filled the stat sheet as she's done all season.

Playing all but one minute, the Naismith Trophy winner tallied 26 points, 13 boards and five blocks. Oh, and she tossed in an assist for good measure. Her shooting percentage in the second half? A lights-out 89%.

While all the talk after the men's championship revolved around the next level - who's going to the pros, who's staying for another year - Griner, a junior, has insisted she will forgo making upwards of $1 million, a fortune in women's hoops, to play for the Lady Bears her senior season. Yes, even if Baylor won the championship game, she has said.

The Lady Bears' performance made them only the 10th women's team to run the table since 1972, when the tournament era began.

Now, undefeated seasons in women's hoops aren't the shooting stars they are in the men's game. The Connecticut Huskies' women's team went 39-0 in 2002, 2009 and 2010, whereas the last men's team to run the table was the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

Coach Kim Mulkey, who never sat during the game despite battling Bell's palsy over the last week, said she couldn't have been prouder of her squad.

This from a woman who holds a gold medal from the 1984 Olympics and is the only person to win an NCAA championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach. (She won two titles as a point guard at Louisiana Tech before helping lead the Lady Techsters to the 1988 championship as an assistant.)

"I just hugged them and told them, 'I'm so happy for you guys. Thank you for letting me coach you. Thank you for letting me challenge you,' " Mulkey said, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I said it to all of them. There were many tears on that bench, but they were tears of joy."

She had the highest of praise for her star center, the paper reported.

"Brittney Griner may go down in history as the most dominant post player, especially on the defensive end," Mulkey said. "That child comes to work every day."

The 6-foot-8 Griner has been breaking the mold of the female player for years - like the time she posted a quadruple-double (36 points, 15 rebounds, 15 blocks and 10 assists) during a high school game, or when she put down 52 dunks during her senior season in high school, or when she dunked four times as a freshman at Baylor, or when she tallied 23 points a game during her sophomore and junior seasons, or when she became the second woman to dunk during an NCAA Tournament in last month's game against the Florida Gators.

There has even been talk that she could hang with the big boys in the NBA - though I'll stop right there so as not to rile up the clowns on Twitter who can't get over the fact that she's tall.

Seeing as the women's championship didn't get nearly the attention of Monday night's men's championship, there's probably a lot you don't know about Griner. Here are some interesting tidbits:

- She has an 84-inch wingspan and her standing one-arm reach is 110 inches, only 10 inches shy of the rim.

- She wears a men's size 17 shoe. To put it in perspective, Shaquille O'Neal wears a 22.

- Despite the praise heaped upon her, Griner remains largely humble, brushing off notions that she is revolutionizing the game. At the same time, she is a true showwoman and puts on dunking clinics during pregame warmups, to the crowd's delight. She's even done cartwheels across the field at Baylor football games.

- One of four siblings, she was born in Houston, Texas, on October 18, 1990, and played at Nimitz High School in Houston, so she's been playing in East Texas for a minute.

- She set a block record at Nimitz, once registering 25 in a game against Aleif Hastings High.

- Her high school jersey is one of 25 in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame's Ring of Honor.

- She made the cover of ESPN's Rise magazine in December 2008 and the cover of Slam in February 2009.

- Houston Mayor Bill White declared May 7, 2009, as Brittney Griner Day.

- Baylor has a 101-13 record since she joined the team and has advanced to at least the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight in all three of Griner's seasons.

- She is a general studies major with an emphasis in outdoor recreation.

- Griner is ranked first and third in blocks during an NCAA season. This year, she had 175, while on the men's side, the Kentucky Wildcats' shot blocker extraordinaire, Anthony Davis, had 186.

- She was the first female athlete to be evaluated in-studio for ESPN's "Sports Science."

- On March 3, 2010, she was ejected from a game against Texas Tech after punching Jordan Barncastle in the face following a scuffle under the rim. The punch broke Barncastle's nose.

- She is a finalist for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team that will play in London this summer. As the only college player on the team for its European Tour last year, she averaged almost 13 points and eight rebounds. She was the team's top shot blocker as well. Surprise, surprise.

- She is often seen riding a longboard around campus. She once described herself to the Chronicle as a "humongous kid" and said, "I do lots of stuff besides basketball. I'm an outdoors person. I go kayaking. I like to go mountain biking down hills, longboarding. I'm adventurous … maybe reckless. I'm a thrill seeker."

- She also enjoys working on cars and watching football in her spare time.

- A frequent speaker at local schools, she volunteers her time with the Salvation Army, Waco Zoo, Waco's Gospel Cafe, South Waco Recreation Center and Woodway Family Center. She also chips in with former Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis, who hosts an annual Holiday Bowling and Christmas Party for underprivileged children.

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Sports • Texas • U.S.
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. disagreement

    All I can say is F the haters. Baylor is #1 and u all suck

    April 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Beth

      Must be a Baylor grad.... you can't spell

      April 4, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Todd in DC

      What's to hate? She could play on a men's professional basket ball team, and dominate them on the court.

      April 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    So all you commenters who sit in your dark bathrooms with iPhones and rant about blacks, fat people, persons of middle eastern lineage, muslims, Catholic, etc...just have another person to degrade.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. d

    Seriously, you waterheads are posting things about her looks? I'd rather be an ugly millionaire doing good things for the community than a pretty trailer trash recluse contributing nothing to the betterment of society like some of you fools.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mark

    She is never going to get Laid..

    April 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. b

    @mike, If she only has 5" vertical then how does she dunk on a rim 10" above her reach? If you're going to make something up to tear someone else down and make you feel better about yourself, the least you could do it make it actually possible to be true.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Don

    40-0 is an achievement, but there should be an asterisk on "being the first" as a number of other schools have gone undefeated but were not allowed to play 40 games; it depends a lot on how many games you play in your conference tournament.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Troll_Bro

    Congrats to the Brittney Griner and the rest of the Baylor Men's Basketball team on the 40-0 season.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      You got that right. Welcome to America. Where men are men and well, women are men too.

      April 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ja Joke

    It doesn't take a lot of skill to be tall, turn and pivot, and shoot a ball from that close,...she also will never be allowed to play in the Olympics with the female gender testing they do.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mary Beth

    I wonder what kind of hormones Brittney Griner uses?

    April 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Corn Fused

    "One of four siblings, she was born in Houston, Texas, on October 18, 1990, and played at Nimitz High School in Houston, so she's been playing in East Texas for a minute."??? What does that mean? a minute?

    April 4, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. WILL. I. AMz

    I don't understand why anyone would constantly knock another acheivements. Where is your brother, sister, or friend that played last night? Oh, that's right, they were home watching the game with ur a**. Get a GRIP AND JUST CONGRAULATE and STOP CATCHING BEEF!!!!!!!!

    April 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BB Fan

    Congratulations to Baylor and to Griner. She is a great player but I do not think that she could play for a moment with the men. The distance between the mens game and women's game is so profound that when UConn women practice against men, which they do regularly, the men dominate the inside even though they are scrubs not good enough to play D1 hoops. Griner is great and should not be measured by how she would play against proffesional men.. That is the argurment that men always make to belittle female athletes and we should not play into that game.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Zephyr

    I was psyched when ND took Conn! But somehow I thought I would cheer for Baylor for the final. I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with the pointguard (S....?) and also with Britney. She is a tall lady but also knows how to play excellent ball. I have followed lady's bball for years and I have to tell you that tall women on the court can not do what she does. She moves, pivots, catches, dribbles, guards and scores... etc... She is solid. She is incredible. It sounds like she also has an incredible heart to be so giving to her volunteer efforts. She is a good person and that alone stands over and above. Those that are unable to see the wonderful strengths this lady has are truly lacking. Rock on Britney!

    April 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anela Kama

    Is she really a female? Was she born a female or male? There's nothing about her that is feminine, and her voice if definitely male. I just want to know.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Khloe Kardasian

    OMG she looks just like me! Chubaka mixed with a lil wookie bear

    April 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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