Brittney Griner accomplished what no other college basketball player has been able to. She and the Baylor Bears had a 40-win season that ended in a national championship. All the great teams in both men’s and women’s college basketball have not been able to pull this off and the best part is she wants to do it again. She will return to the Bears for her senior year.
While it’s likely that five or six players from Kentucky’s national championship team will find their way to the NBA next season, Griner wants to honor her commitment to Baylor and go for back-to-back championships. With 23.2 points a game, she would like to make the current streak 80-0.
Griner is definitely a new type of college athlete, but still has to fight stereotypes. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame’s coach, said that Griner plays like a guy. On the other side, Lebron James is fascinated watching her play. Across the country, the game play of Griner has drawn attention; she commands the game with her blocks, her dunks, and her presence on the court. She has the ability to do something no other women’s basketball player has been able to do; be valued purely for her athleticism.
Griner is the future of women’s college basketball and athletics. The women’s game has always been at a distinct disadvantage because the men running their sport have handicapped their game. It started out as a half court game, then moved on to 6-on-6. When the game finally settled in to match the men’s rules, it was awarded its own tournament late in the game. The women’s NCAA tournament has only existed for the past 30 years.
Only recently has an acceptance for women to play sports starting from a young age really stuck in the United States. It started with soccer, and the women’s game is just as entertaining as the men’s and the U.S. has one of the most competitive squads in the world. Basketball is the next frontier. As the skill increases due to training and a larger talent pool, the women’s NCAA tournament will become a marque event. March will have even more madness.
Even with comparable skill levels, there will be men who discount the sport for sexist reasons. Griner is trying to debunk those stereotypes with her competitive attitude. At six foot eight, 208 pounds, could she compete in the NBA? Is any NBA team brave enough to be the Brooklyn Dodgers of a male dominated sport? Either way, it will be entertaining to watch the Baylor Bears for another year.