Category Archives: Brittney Griner

Visiting The White House Means Juggling Excitement, Nervousness And Pride

by Categorized: Barack Obama, Brittney Griner, Chris Dailey, Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

  Waiting for her chance to meet the President of the United States in the summer of 2012, Baylor’s 6-foot-8 center Brittney Griner could see her teammate, Shanay Washington, having trouble with one of life’s basic fundamentals.

    There to be honored for winning the 2011-12 NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship, Washington, then a sophomore, extended her hand to Barack Obama and then everything ground to a stop.

  “She was almost starting crying,” Griner said. “She was so nervous she forgot her own name.  I was like [thinking to herself], ‘Yo girl, say your name.’ Me, I was just like, ‘What’s up, Mr. President.’ I was trying to explain to her that he [Obama] is just a person like us. It was a lot of fun.

“When I got there, I asked him, ‘Mr. President, can we hoop some?’ He [Obama] said, ‘No, we’re not hooping today. I’m not letting you block my shot.’ And I said, “I’m glad you know that because I would.’”

   Over the last two decades the tradition of the President greeting the champions of major professional and collegiate sports has become a Washington tradition. And on Wednesday, the UConn women’s basketball team, which won its eighth national championship last season, will make its eighth trip.

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“Three to See” Likely To Just Watch Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game

by Categorized: Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins, WNBA Date:

   Following the course set during the 2012-13 college season by broadcast partner ESPN, the WNBA has invested the majority of its marketing resources this season on the tireless promotion of just three rookies – center Brittney Griner, forward Elena Delle Donne and guard Skylar Diggins.

   They have been the “Three to See.”

   That the three eventually morphed into the top three draft picks in April, going in order to Phoenix (Griner), Chicago (Delle Donne) and Tulsa (Diggins), turned out to be a wonderful coincidence, one that seemed to validate the extra wattage trained on the trio.

  But a funny thing happened on the way to Saturday’s WNBA All-Star Game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

   The “Three to See” has turned into the “Three Who Will Watch.”

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Griner To Miss WNBA All-Star Game, Too

by Categorized: Brittney Griner, WNBA Date:

First it was Elena Delle Donne. Then it was Thursday night’s fireworks show at the Mohegan Sun. And now, the WNBA’s All-Star Weekend will be without Brittney Griner.

The league has just announced that Seattle Storm forward Tina Thompson – the WNBA’s all-time career scoring leader, a four-time WNBA champion and the only player to have participated in every WNBA season – has been named as a replacement player for injured Phoenix Mercury rookie center Brittney Griner on the Western Conference roster.

Griner, the No. 1 pick in the league draft, was voted to the game as a starter by fans. She has missed Phoenix’s last five games due to a knee injury. Griner will attend the All-Star festivities.

For Thompson, 38, this marks her record ninth All-Star appearance, placing her ahead of Lisa Leslie and Tamika Catchings.

 

 

 

 

You Can Ask Brittney Griner Anything … Well, Just About Anything

by Categorized: Baylor women's basketball, Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury, WNBA Date:

    Since people began noticing how tall she was, how able she was to maximize her gifts playing basketball, Brittney Griner has lived in the sharp focus of a microscope pointed straight up at her 6-foot-8 frame.

    So it’s no revelation that ever step she’s taken as a rookie in the WNBA has attracted curiosity. Even her own.

   “Before I came [to the WNBA] I would get booed in some [college] cities,” Griner admitted. “I’ve actually heard some cheers in just about every place we’ve gone [in the WNBA]. It’s been cool and very different than what I thought [it would be like].”

  The Phoenix Mercury took Griner, the 2012 Division I national player of the year at Baylor, first overall in the draft. Everyone assumed it would be the first step in re-establishing the team Diana Taurasi built as a league champion.

   “The transition hasn’t been that difficult,” Griner said. “My teammates want to help me. I had some trouble in my early games with fouls and learning the plays, but now it’s kind of starting to come together.”

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Homophobia And Women’s Basketball: An Honest Look

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Baylor women's basketball, Big East women's basketball, Brittney Griner, Geno Auriemma, Hartford women's basketball, jen rizzotti, Kara Lawson, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

I invite you to give this column by Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant a sincere read. It is about how homosexuality is perceived, discussed and dealt with in women’s basketball.

Within this piece you will hear from Geno Auriemma, Jen Rizzotti, Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo, among others, who discuss the facts, misconceptions, biases and realities of life in women’s college basketball, the WNBA and in high school.

It’s a topic brought to life when Brittney Griner told ESPNW recently that Baylor coach Kim Mulkey asked her to keep her sexuality a secret, so not to interfere with potential problems it might cause in recruiting or possible scrutiny it would bring to a program within an institution that’s view on gay rights leans to ultra-conservatism.

If you’ve ever wondered why male athletes tend to be homophobic but females more tolerant and understanding you need to read this.

If you want to know how gay and straight teammates seem to get along in women’s basketball you need to read this.

If you want to know if coaches use each other’s sexuality against each other in recruiting or purposefully ignore gay players you need to read this.

 

 

Two WNBA Drafts Packed Into One

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Asjha Jones, Bill Laimbeer, Brittney Griner, Chris Sienko, Connecticut Sun, Delaware women's basketball, Elena Delle Donne, Epiphanny Prince, ESPN2, Kim Mulkey, Mike Thibault, Skylar Diggins, WNBA Date:

There is a running joke about Monday’s 2013 WNBA Draft. It’s the one about the how one draft can suddenly resemble two.

     “The joke around here is that I have the first pick in the other draft,” said Mike Thibault, the coach and GM of the Washington Mystics and owner of the fourth selection. “I tried to come up with creative ways to get one of the three, but none of it worked.”

    Actually, it’s not as much of a gag and an expression of reality.

    “It’s not a joke,” said Lin Dunn, coach of the champion Indiana Fever. “It’s the truth.”

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UConn Women Take Their Boss Home

by Categorized: 2013 NCAA Tournament, Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, ESPN, Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame women's basketball, Skylar Diggins, UConn women's basketball, Warde Manuel Date:

Warde Manuel, UConn’s athletic director, was raised in New Orleans where he was a Parade All-American defensive lineman at Brother Martin before going to Michigan to play for Hall of Fame coach Bo Schembechler in 1986. He played football for two seasons before a neck injury ended his promising career.

“Being from New Orleans, there’s a clause in my contract [five years, $10.86 million] that says it was going to get ripped up if we didn’t win and get him back to the city,” Geno Auriemma joked last week.

Manuel said he was also kidding the women’s team before the season.

“I told them, ‘Ladies, you are responsible for getting me back home,” Manuel said.

Three To Watch – One In New Orleans

One of ESPN’s major preseason promotional vehicles this season was its “Three To Watch” featuring Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Baylor’s Brittney Griner.

Only one of the them played in Sunday’s Final Four – Diggins.

“Yeah, we weren’t fortunate enough to have any of the three to see that ESPN talks about all the time,” Auriemma said. “So we had to do it as a group rather than rely on one person. But that’s always been the case at Connecticut.  We don’t build our program around one person, no matter whom it is.

“We don’t aspire to be that, when we have players like Tina [Charles] and Maya [Moore] and Renee [Montgomery] and Diana [Taurasi] and Sue [Bird] and Sveta [Abrosimova] and Shea [Ralph] … I could go on and on.  It was always in the context of we’ll let them decide, each player, how big their role is going to be.

“And because of their personalities and how big their personalities were, they just became superstars.  And we don’t have anybody with that personality this year. We just don’t. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has the kind of basketball game, the kind of skill level that if she had a different type of personality she would be like Maya or like Diana in terms of how she would act, but she doesn’t have that yet.  Maybe she’ll get it next year.”

 

Phoenix Game Will Be In Connecticut Sun Ticket Plan

by Categorized: Brittney Griner, Connecticut Sun, Diana Taurasi, WNBA Date:

The Connecticut Sun’s Big Game Mini Plan ticket package, which went on sale on Wednesday at 10 a.m.,  includes the home opener against the New York Liberty on May 25th, the Washington Mystics on June 7th, the Seattle Storm on June 16th and the WNBA All Star Game on July 27th.

The other games in the plan June 29 against Phoenix, with Diana Taurasi and likely Brittney Griner, Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks on August 6th, Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore and the Minnesota Lynx on August 22nd and the defending WNBA champion Indiana Fever to close out the regular season on September 15th.

The Big Game Plan is priced at $208 and $248. Those who purchase Mini Plans will enjoy priority purchase for playoff tickets and a discount off the box office price. The Big Game Plan can be purchased by calling the Sun at 1.877.SUN.TIXX or visiting http://bit.ly/ZULZBF.

Ten Things To Keep An Eye (Or Two) On Tonight

by Categorized: Baylor women's basketball, Big East women's basketball, Bria Hartley, Brittney Griner, Chris Dailey, ESPN2, Geno Auriemma, Kelly Faris, Morgan Tuck, Pat Summitt, Stefanie Dolson, Susan Herbst, UConn women's basketball, Warde Manuel, XL Center Date:

1). Kim Mulkey’s outfit: The Baylor coach is known for her interesting – some may say eccentric – fashion sense. Baubles and bangles. We do anticipate Texas sparkle, with an accent of pink, since it is breast cancer awareness night. Just don’t try to out-dress Chris Dailey. We are from Connecticut and we keep score.

2). Officiating: The most crucial aspect of the game, certainly from UConn’s perspective. Is the crew going to let Stefanie Dolson and Brittney Griner do their thing without literally blowing the game with whistles. If not, keep an eye on the assistants, who will be holding back the head coaches.

3). Odyssey Sims: Who do the Huskies defend her with, since everything you hear seems to indicate no one cares how many points Griner scores. Kelly Faris? Oh yes, at some point, Kelly Faris. Don’t ya think?

4). Bria Hartley: She won this game two years ago as a freshman. It got Morgan Tuck so excited on her campus visit that she said yes to program when it was over. No sniffling allowed, Bria. This is a game made for WBCA All-Americans. That’s you.

5). Empty seats: The XL Center will be virtually sold out tonight, a scene that harkens back to the good old days when orange pants suits were the must-see attraction. And we don’t mean Jody Conradt.

6). High-low: Me thinks the Huskies are going to try and lure Griner away from the basket by asking Dolson to sink a 17-footer or two or three or four. Me thinks Baylor will let her shoot there all night and take its chances guarding her with smaller defenders. Do you move the Empire State Building to Queens just because someone dares you?

7). Not a big deal: I beg both coaches not to tell us after the game that this game was not a big deal. Women’s basketball is scorched earth. This game is the monsoon its been waiting for.

8). Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke: To ESPN2’s crew, we would like to apologize for not being able to provide LeBron James [for Doris] or Alfredo Aceves [for Dave, who calls Red Sox games in the summer] to entertain you better. But this is all we have to give.

9). Good seats: Make sure you take a look at who is seating in the courtside seats today. I can guarantee you, those people are very important to Susan Herbst and Warde Manuel.

10). Three-point shots: UConn takes a lot of them. Baylor doesn’t take as many. Three is one more than two. Keep that it mind.

All The News That’s Fit To Blog: UConn Vs. Baylor

by Categorized: Baylor women's basketball, Big East women's basketball, Brittney Griner, Geno Auriemma, Kara Wolters, Phoenix Mercury, Stefanie Dolson, UConn women's basketball Date:

We are well aware you can’t get enough information about Monday night’s match-up between No. 1 Baylor and No. 3 UConn at the XL Center.

Unlike the U.S. Postal Service, we deliver on the weekends – holidays, as well.

Do you think Geno Auriemma believes this is a good time to play Baylor?

“It’s good to get away from the conference games for a while,” he said. “It’s a game that doesn’t impact your chance to win a championship, as opposed to conference games, which do determine if you will win [a conference title]. Any time you can play a game that previews the type of game you hope to play in March, it’s a good thing.”

Do you think Auriemma believes Baylor is the best team in the country?

“Until someone beats them in the NCAA Tournament, they are the defending champions. They have everyone back. They should win it [the national championship],” Auriemma said. “That’s what everyone said about us in 2009-10. I haven’t seen anything during the season to convince me they are aren’t as good, if not better than last season.”

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