“I just feel like I’m adding on,” she said. “I guess you can say I’m changing the defensive end ... just because I’m so big and I move. I’m not stationary.
“I want people to look back and be like, ‘Dang, I remember when I played her back in college, she was a game-changer on the defensive end,” Griner added. “I want that to be my mark on the defensive end.”
What sets Griner apart from so many of the other previous stars is her ability to dominate the entire court.
“How many possessions over the course of her career has she influenced on both sides of the court?” ESPN announcer Doris Burke said. “More than any player in history. She’s one of a handful that I’ve witnessed that influence winning to an extraordinary degree.”
On Sunday, Louisville found a way to take Griner out of the equation on defense, matching an NCAA tournament record with 16 3-pointers. A lot of teams had tried that strategy against Griner: Baylor’s opponents, avoiding the paint, averaged nearly 20 3s a game over the course of her career, nearly four more than the year before she came.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who went to Baylor, came to Denver last season and celebrated with the Lady Bears when they won the national championship. He was upset by the loss to Louisville, suggesting Griner was fouled hard and often by Louisville, taking to Twitter to vent his frustrations in support of his beloved team.
Mulkey, who played and coached against some of the best that women’s basketball has had to offer, put Griner at the top of the list.
“I’ve said it many times, I’ve run out of adjectives to describe Brittney Griner,” she said. “Brittney Griner, after winning the national championship last year, should have erased any doubt in people’s minds as the greatest to ever play the game.”
AP Sports Writers Stephen Hawkins in Waco, Texas and Tim Reynolds in Miami helped contribute to this report.
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