The Norman Transcript

National Sports

April 16, 2013

Giant expectations

BRISTOL, Conn. — Brittney Griner left an indelible mark on women’s college basketball. Now she’s ready to take on the pros.

The Phoenix Mercury took Baylor’s star center with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night. Despite knowing she was going first, the two-time AP Player of the Year admitted she was extremely nervous.

“It’s a dream come true, I’m like a little kid in Disney World the first time meeting all the characters,” Griner said. “Sitting at the table they said 15 seconds and my heart started beating so fast. I was grabbing the tablecloth underneath.”

The 6-foot-8 phenom finished as the second all-time scorer in women’s NCAA history, with 3,283 points. She is the top shot-blocker ever, shattering both the men’s and women’s college marks with 748. She also had a record 18 dunks — including 11 this season.

WNBA president Laurel Richie opened the draft offering the league’s thoughts and prayers to those affected by the bombings in Boston. She said earlier in the evening that the WNBA had discussions whether to hold the draft, deciding to go ahead with it.

And then soon after the draft started she announced Griner as the first choice.

Griner joins a very talented Mercury squad that was plagued by injuries most of last season. Star Diana Taurasi played in only eight games and Penny Taylor missed the entire year while recovering from an ACL injury. Candice Dupree also missed 21 games because of a knee injury.

“I’m ready to get there and ready to learn from (Taurasi),” Griner said. “I got to play with her a little bit at USA Basketball. I’m ready to feed off her and give all I can to the Phoenix Mercury.

Phoenix had the second-worst record and a 28 percent chance of getting the first pick. Washington, which had the worst record in the league picked fourth.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • NCAA board endorses more autonomy for big schools

    INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA’s board of directors took the first step toward shifting power to the five largest football conferences on Thursday, endorsing a 57-page plan that calls for giving 65 of the nation’s biggest schools more autonomy in ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Dice-K 1st save since 2000 as Mets hold down Cards

    NEW YORK — Daisuke Matsuzaka pinched his eyelids, clenched his teeth and thought back. He couldn’t remember all the details of the first save of his professional career....

    April 25, 2014

  • Pineda banned 10 games

    BOSTON — Michael Pineda says he was just trying to get a better grip on the ball. Now, he won’t need one for a while....

    April 25, 2014

  • Teague, Korver lead Hawks in win vs. Pacers

    ATLANTA — As the final seconds ticked off the clock, the Atlanta Hawks celebrated and their fans serenaded the Indiana Pacers with chants of “Overrated!” Game 3 did nothing to change that perception....

    April 25, 2014

  • Blazers return home in control

    PORTLAND, Ore. — Houston has a LaMarcus Aldridge problem. The Trail Blazers’ All-Star forward has been dominating with more than 40 points in each of the opening two playoff games with the Rockets in Houston. Portland is up 2-0 as the ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Ben Martin surges to Zurich Classic lead

    AVONDALE, La. — Ben Martin treated a tiny gallery to a course-record round, shooting a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the first round of the Zurich Classic....

    April 25, 2014

  • Record number sign up for U.S. Open

    FAR HILLS, N.J. — More people than ever have signed up for a chance to play in the U.S. Open. The USGA said Thursday it received a record 10,127 entrants for the U.S. Open, which will be played June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2....

    April 25, 2014

  • Nadal cruises into Barcelona quarterfinals

    BARCELONA, Spain — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal looked more like his confident self on the clay in passing Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-3, to reach the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Thursday....

    April 25, 2014

  • Sharapova advances in Porsche Grand Prix

    STUTTGART, Germany — Defending champion Maria Sharapova defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-3 on Thursday to set up a Porsche Grand Prix quarterfinal with top seed Agnieszka Radwanska....

    April 25, 2014

  • Emmert seeks big changes to NCAA

    INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Emmert wants the NCAA to fast-track upgrades for college athletes — regardless of whether a player union is pushing for them....

    April 24, 2014