WNCAA Tournament 2012: How Brittney Griner Has Redefined Women's Basketball

Sam DrakeCorrespondent IMarch 23, 2012

SAN ANTONIO - APRIL 04:  (L-R) Brittney Griner #42 of the Baylor Bears is pressured by Caroline Doty #5 and Tina Charles #31 of the Connecticut Huskies in the second half during the Women's Final Four Semifinals at the Alamodome on April 4, 2010 in San Antonio, Texas. Connecticut defeated Baylor 70-50. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

These are the only two players in Women's NCAA tournament history to have dunked the ball in a game. The first was Candice Parker of Tennessee. The second is Brittney Griner. 

The evolution of Brittney Griner from unknown player to household name has made many opposing coaches alter their game plan. Before Griner, there had not been a player as tall. She stands 6’8” and towers over her competition.

Coaches now have to double and sometimes even triple team her down low and hope that it somehow disrupts her enough to force her to take a bad shot. When this happens, she is still tall enough to see over the other defenders and throw an accurate outlet pass to a teammate for an open three-point attempt.

No longer does the normal man-to-man or 2-3 zone defense work. Her strength and height allow her to get to the basket with relative ease. She dunks the ball. And women's dunks are about as rare as Steve Nash's.

Not only does Griner dunk the ball, but she throws it down with authority. No, she cannot put her elbow through the rim like Vince Carter did, but she can take a drop step and dunk over smaller players. Even Candice Parker had to get a running start to throw down the ball.

This season she is averaging 23 points en route to ESPN naming Griner their Player of the Year.

Not only is she an offensive threat every time the Baylor Bears have the ball, she is also one of the best defenders in the women’s ranks.

She was measured to have larger hands than LeBron James and has used those to dominate opponents when they drive into the lane.

This season she is averaging 5.1 blocks per game. She would most likely be averaging more except for the fact that teams do not want to bring the ball down low and test her. Griner has forced teams to shoot more outside shots than normal. Their misses become Griner's rebounds.  She pulls down about 10 per game.

She gets into to the heads of offensive players. They have to be aware of where Griner is at all times, and even when she is not in position to block shots, shooters are still hesitant to shoot the ball, thinking they might get swatted.

Griner has now forced college recruiters to go from coast to coast looking for the next Brittney Griner, the next 6’8” superstar who can dunk the ball.

However, they will be hard-pressed to find her. She is so unique in her ability to play basketball that she is a once-in-a-lifetime player.

Her ability to dominate college basketball has created a buzz amongst men and women alike and has even gotten NBA superstars to talk about her. The undefeated Lady Bears are a hot pick to win the Women’s NCAA tournament.