I have been pretty critical of women’s basketball, particularly this year with the University of Connecticut’s mind-numbingly boring winning streak of 76 games straight.
But be assured, there is at least one UConn game that I am looking forward to watching.
I want to see how Baylor University’s Brittney Griner matches up against the powerful Lady Huskies this Sunday night in the women’s Final Four.
Will the long-armed, 6'8" Griner be able to block the shots of UConn’s All-American tandem of Tina Charles and Maya Moore?
Can she smack down college basketball’s best women’s team, or will she be intimidated and frustrated?
Griner, who now holds the all-time record for blocked shots, controls the paint like no other female I’ve ever seen.
While she is a load on the defensive end, it's her slam dunks that have been her calling card.
She can dunk like the guys. I mean really jam it—not “just barely dunks,” like the few other women who’ve done it.
Brittney Griner, in a word, is a phenom.
She is the female Wilt Chamberlain—a transformational player for the women’s game.
Still, Griner will likely have to play the game of her life if Baylor has any chance to be competitive against UConn.
Notice I did not say that Baylor and Griner will beat UConn. Right now I’m just hoping Baylor can give UConn a decent game and that Griner plays well.
But that will be hard. UConn does not just beat teams; they humiliate them.
To get to the Final Four, the Lady Huskies outscored Florida State by 40 points.
UConn’s wins during this streak have all come by a margin of at least 10, and each of UConn’s tournament victories this season have been won by no less than 30 points.
It’s almost unfair.
UConn could probably win the WNBA title, let alone the college national championship, really.
While I am not a fan of the women’s game, I have admired a number of outstanding female players over the years.
Cheryl Miller, now in her late 40s and long retired from the game, will always be the best all-around lady ballplayer.
She truly had game. So too did former WNBA superstar Cynthia Cooper, who is also retired.
Current pros Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, and the soon to be retired Lisa Leslie are pretty good as well.
Yet none of those women approached the potential that Brittney Griner has.
But while I salute Griner, many others think she shouldn’t be playing in the Final Four.
Four weeks ago she sucker-punched and broke the nose of a Texas Tech player who she said was taunting her.
Griner was suspended for a couple of games for her actions. Many believe the punishment was not nearly long enough.
I’m not one of them. That would have deprived us of the only possible suspense this tournament has.
My friend Rick, a UConn professor and obviously biased, thinks Brittney Griner and her Baylor teammates will be taught a lesson. But I think there is a chance Griner will be doing the teaching, win or lose.