If you’ve been sleeping on women’s college basketball you’ve also slept on a monumental moment in NCAA history. Last night, Lady Bears center Brittney Griner led her Baylor team to an 80-61 win over Notre Dame, snagging this year’s NCAA championship title.
“Brittney Griner, whether she won today or not, will go down in the history of the women’s game as, if not the greatest post player, one of the greatest,” said Baylor coach Kim Mulkey. “I’m so glad she has that ring now.”
That’s because last night’s win ended a completely undefeated 40-0 season for the Lady Bears, making them the first team in NCAA history to win 40 games. The win marked the second national championship for Baylor, which also won a title in 2005, and they became only the seventh women’s team to run through a season unbeaten. You could say the 26 points, 13 rebounds, and five blocks Brittney made last night had a lot to do with it.
Even Notre Dame’s coach, Muffet McGraw, had to testify to the greatness that is the 6-foot-8 junior. “I think she’s one of a kind,” he said. “There’s so many things she can do. There have been some guards that have had some skill like that. But as a post player, she’s the best I’ve seen.”
Humbly accepting her win last night, Griner said the team as a whole is responsible for the win, and most importantly, their coach who struggled with Bells’ palsy during the tournament.
“It meant everything for us to get it for coach,” the selected Associated Press player of the year said. “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.
“Looking back when we get older, I’m always going to remember this moment, always going to remember confetti falling and being here with my team.”
Despite speculation that Griner would ride last night’s success straight on to the WNBA, she said she will finish her senior year as a Lady Bear.
“I’m staying, I made a commitment,” she told reporters. “I’m going to stay here until my time’s up.”