Griner has 3 dunks in final Baylor home game
Brittney Griner caught the pass going toward the basket, took
one more step without a dribble and finished with a one-handed slam
As impressive as that play was, it was only the first of three
dunks for Griner in her final home game for Baylor.
In a farewell to remember for Griner and four other Lady Bears
seniors, before a partisan crowd that included former President
George W. Bush, the 6-foot-8 senior star also had 33 points and a
career-high 22 rebounds. The defending national champions beat
Florida State 85-47 Tuesday night to advance to the NCAA round of
16 for the fourth year in a row.
”Tonight felt like senior night. Tonight was better,” Griner
said. ”The three dunks. Just going out the way we did. Not
everybody’s lucky, and we were. We gave the crowd a good
After the first dunk, with about 4 minutes left in the first
half for a 43-18 lead in a game that was quickly lopsided, Griner
ran down the court with her mouth open while bobbing her head back
and forth, and clearing enjoying the moment.
The former president may wish he had stayed in his seats behind
the Baylor bench a little longer. Griner wasn’t finished after that
highlight play, dunking twice in a 79-second span before coming out
of the game for good after Bush had already left.
Freshman guard Niya Johnson had her second assist of a Griner
dunk with 7:46 left. Then with 6:27 left, moments after an assist
of her own, Griner grabbed the rebound of a missed 3-pointer
between several defenders and went back up with a reverse slam.
Griner, the first woman ever with three dunks in a game, came
out during a timeout less than a half-minute later.
When Griner got to the bench, she wrapped her arms around coach
Kim Mulkey and the two shared an extended hug. Griner even picked
her coach up off the ground.
”You just hope she doesn’t squeeze the air out of you so you
don’t pass out,” Mulkey said. ”Brittney just has a personality
about her where she just enjoys life. She’s a hugger. She’s a
”You’ll never see the likes of her again. You just won’t,” she
said. ”Not here, I don’t think anywhere, ever will you see another
Brittney Griner. You’ll see great players and you’ll see
All-Americans, but I’m not sure we’ll ever see it in my
Mulkey fought back tears after they broke their embrace as the
crowd of 9,652 continued to give Griner a loud and lengthy
Griner is the NCAA career blocks leader, the Big 12’s top scorer
and her 18 dunks are three more than the combined total of the
other six women who have dunked in college.
The Lady Bears (34-1) won their nation’s-best 57th home game in
a row. They play Louisville (26-8) on Sunday night in Oklahoma
When the game was over, Griner thrust both arms into the air.
She took a couple of laps around the arena floor, then jumped onto
the back of Shanay Washington for a piggy-back ride before
returning the favor to her close friend and former teammate, whose
career ended early because of multiple knee injuries.
Since the senior trio of Griner, Kimetria Hayden and Jordan
Madden got to Waco as freshmen together, Baylor is 71-2 at home.
Griner has played in only one loss since she didn’t participate in
the last home loss, against Texas in the 2009-10 regular-season
The Lady Bears have won every home game the past three seasons –
since point guard Odyssey Sims arrived and when transfers Destiny
Williams and Brooklyn Pope, the other seniors, started playing.
Pope had 12 points against Florida State, while Sims had 11 and
Leonor Rodriguez had 11 points and was the only player in double
figures for Florida State (23-10), which at the end of the regular
season was the only squad of the 343 Division I teams with five
players averaging in double figures.
”Certainly, it’s not an easy task to come into this environment
and ask your kids to be able to block it all out,” Seminoles coach
Sue Semrau said.
Baylor needed less than 3 1/2 minutes to score the game’s first
11 points, and led 51-20 by halftime.
As for Semrau’s impression of Griner: ”She is better in person.
You’ve got to credit her development and growth.”
While hard to imagine, Griner could have had more dunks.
Griner looked like she was going for another slam when she was
fouled by feisty 5-foot-2 guard Yashira Delgado before getting off
a shot. Right after that, the Lady Bears had three layups in a
There was also a pass from Pope that sailed over Griner’s head
when she was headed alone toward the basket with just over 11
minutes left in the game.
”Well, she could have had four (dunks), but I was stronger than
I thought and I overthrew it,” Pope said. ”BG knew I wanted to
pass it, but by the time I looked down and dribbled and looked up
and threw it, she was further down than I thought.”
The fans let out a huge collective moan as the ball went out of
They were cheering wildly only a few minutes later with a double
dose of dunks.