theGrio’s 100: Brittney Griner, setting the bar in women’s basketball

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Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears reacts in the first half against the Stanford Cardinal during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears reacts in the first half against the Stanford Cardinal during the National Semifinal game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship at Pepsi Center on April 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Who is Brittney Griner?

A sports blogger and columnist called Brittney Griner the “best women’s basketball player since, since ever.” And that really sums it up – Griner led her team last season to an undefeated 40-0 record and a national championship. The 6’8 senior plays all over the court – dunking, blocking shots, rebounding and dominating women’s college basketball in a way not seen perhaps in history.

Why is she on theGrio’s 100?

Mark Lewis, an ESPN HoopGurlz analyst may have said it best when Griner was a standout athlete at Nimitz High School in 2009:

“Brittney just brings something to the game that, honestly, I don’t think we’ve seen,” Lewis told the Houston Chronicle’s Steve Campbell. “You can go back and look at a Candace Parker or go even further back and look at a Cheryl Miller. They changed the game, but there’s been another Cheryl Miller. I think Brittney Griner may come and go without there being another Brittney Griner for a long time.” 

Griner has been all that and more since she arrived at Baylor in the fall of 2009. Her dominance has even led to speculative online conversations and forums about whether she could be drafted in the NBA. After Griner led her Baylor Lady Bears to the championship by defeating Notre Dame last year, the opposing coach commented: “I think she’s like a guy playing with women.”

Griner’s been that dominant in women’s college basketball.

On February 18th she hit a major milestone when she scored her 3,000 point in a win (her team’s 23rd straight) against Baylor’s bitter rival UConn,

What’s next for Griner?

Several leading women’s basketball analysts praised Griner’s decision to stay at Baylor for her senior season, passing up a guaranteed spot in the WNBA in 2012. That opportunity wasn’t going anywhere – it will just be delayed a year. Whichever WNBA team lucky enough to get the number one pick in this year’s draft will undoubtedly select Griner.

Griner’s decision gives her a chance to finish out her education and continue to receive exposure – exposure some would argue is better when compared to the WNBA. So it’s a win-win for Griner. She will pursue another college championship, go number one overall and become a force in the WNBA.

Follow Brittney Griner on Twitter @Brittney4Griner