Baylor and Brittney Griner
On Tuesday Baylor University and Brittney Griner went down in the college history books. The Lady Bears beat Notre Dame 80-61 in the women’s NCAA tournament, while Griner lead the way with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks. Baylor finished their season 40-0 and becoming the seventh women’s team to finish the season undefeated and the first in NCAA history to win 40 games.
Undefeated Baylor finished the NCAA women’s tournament as it spent the entire regular season as the No. 1 team in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. After the Jan. 9 poll came out the Lady Bears received all No. 1 votes from the panel of Division I women’s coaches.
“Brittney Griner, whether she won today or not, will go down in history of the women’s game as, if not the greatest post player, one of the greatest,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “I’m so glad she has that ring now.”
In the championship game Griner was dominant. Her presence was felt all over the court with aggressive defense, hitting shots doubled and tripled covered. Her work ethic and competitiveness all season long earned her player of the year and outstanding player of the NCAA tournament honors.
The 6-foot-8 point guard was at the center of attention through it all. Every time Notre Dame made a run, Griner would answer quieting any chance for a come back. Hitting jumpers, hooks, and displaying her athleticism with an array of post moves. She was unstoppable, spoiling Notre Dame in their second straight loss in the championship.
At the sound of the buzzer Griner celebrated with the tradition of cutting down the net and then dancing with Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Then she lifted coach Mulkey up on her shoulders briefly.
“It meant everything for us to get it for coach,” said Griner, referring to Mulkey’s struggle with Bell’s palsy during the tournament. “She felt like she wasn’t there for us, but we told her every second that we could hear her loud and clear, everything she was saying.”
Brittney Griner who could join the draft to enter the WNBA has decided to stay at Baylor for her senior year at another chance for a championship.