Brittney Griner

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Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner.jpg
No. 42 – Phoenix Mercury
PositionCenter
LeagueWNBA
Personal information
Born (1990-10-18) October 18, 1990 (age 28)
Houston, Texas
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Listed weight205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High schoolNimitz (Houston, Texas)
CollegeBaylor (2009–2013)
WNBA draft2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Phoenix Mercury
Playing career2013–present
Career history
2013–presentPhoenix Mercury
2013–2014Zhejiang Golden Bulls
2014–2018UMMC Ekaterinburg
Career highlights and awards
Stats at WNBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Brittney Yevette Griner (born October 18, 1990) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Phoenix Mercury in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg. She played college basketball at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.[1][2] She is the only NCAA basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots.[3] In 2012, the three-time All-American was named the AP Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Standing 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) tall, Griner wears a men's US size 17 shoe and has an arm span of 86 in (2.2 m).[4][5][citation needed]

In 2009, Griner was named the nation's #1 high school women's basketball player by Rivals.com.[4] Griner was selected to the 2009 McDonald's All-American basketball team.[6] In 2012, she received the Best Female Athlete ESPY Award. Griner was recently on the USA Olympic Women's team, where she helped lead them to victory. In 2013, Griner signed an endorsement deal with Nike.[7]

Early life[edit]

Griner is the daughter of Sandra Griner. She has three older siblings.[8]

High school career[edit]

Griner attended Nimitz High School in Houston. In addition to lettering in basketball throughout high school, she played varsity volleyball as a freshman. Starting in her sophomore year, Griner practiced with the boys' basketball team, and worked with a Nimitz football coach to develop her leg strength in preparation for learning to dunk.[9] During her junior season, a YouTube video featuring her dunks was watched more than 2.7 million times,[10] leading to a meeting with Shaquille O'Neal.[11]

During her senior year, Griner led the Nimitz Cougars to the Texas 5A girls basketball state championship game, where Nimitz lost 52–43 to Mansfield Summit High School. Griner dunked 52 times in 32 games as a senior, setting a single-game record of seven dunks against Aldine High School.[12] Houston mayor Bill White declared May 7, 2009, Brittney Griner Day.[13] On November 11, 2008, she recorded 25 blocks in a game against Houston Alief Hastings, the most ever recorded by a female in a high school game in the US.[11] In her 2008–09 season, she recorded 318 blocks, a single season record.[14]

Griner was named a WBCA All-American and participated in the 2009 WBCA High School All-America Game, leading the team by scoring 20 points and collecting 9 rebounds.[15]

College career[edit]

Griner played college basketball at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. As a freshman, Griner's 223 blocked shots set the all-time single-season record, establishing her as one of the greatest shot blockers in women's basketball history.[16] On December 16, 2009, Griner recorded Baylor's first triple-double[17] with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and Big 12 Conference record 11 blocked shots. In January 2010, she became only the seventh player to dunk during a women's college basketball game,[18] and only the second woman to dunk twice in a single college game, making the second and third dunks of her college career[19] in a lopsided 99–18 victory against Texas State University.

On March 3, 2010, Griner and Texas Tech player Jordan Barncastle were battling for position near the lane. As a foul was being called on Barncastle, Griner took two steps forward and threw a right-handed roundhouse punch which broke Barncastle's nose. Griner was then ejected from the game. Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey then imposed another one-game suspension in addition to the one-game suspension mandated by NCAA rules.[20][21]

Baylor entered the NCAA Tournament as a 4th seed, and knocked off top-seeded Tennessee in the Sweet 16. On March 22, Griner set an NCAA tournament record with 14 blocked shots in a 49–33 win against the Georgetown Hoyas.[22] In the Elite Eight, Baylor defeated Duke 51–48, and Griner blocked 9 shots, totaling 35 for the tournament, a new NCAA Women's Tournament record. Duke's Alison Bales had held the previous record of 30 blocks in the 2006 NCAA Women's Tournament.[23] Baylor reached the Final Four, before losing to eventual-champion UConn, 70–50. Griner was named an AP Second Team All-American.[24]

As a sophomore, Griner received First Team All-American honors after averaging 23 points a game, including a career-high 40 points against Green Bay in the Sweet 16.[25]

In her junior season, Griner averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5 blocks per game.[25] She blocked more shots than any other Division I women's team that season.[26] Griner was named AP Player of the Year [27] and The 2012 Premier Player of Women's College Basketball.

On April 3, 2012, Griner led Baylor with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocked shots to win the Division I Women's Basketball Championship, 80–61 over Notre Dame. Griner was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player. Baylor finished its undefeated season with 40 wins, the most in NCAA history.[28]

After winning the championship on April 3, 2012, Griner decided to withdraw her candidacy for a roster spot on the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team. A month later Griner broke her wrist after jumping off her skateboard when she was going down a ramp.[29]

Her college career came to an end in the 2013 NCAA women's basketball tournament when Baylor lost to the University of Louisville Cardinals in the sweet 16.[30]

College statistics[edit]

Year GP-GS MPG PPG Season high FG% RPG Season high BPG Season high APG TPG Notable stat.
2009–10 35–35 33.5 18.4 34 50% 8.5 21 6.4 14 1.0 2.8 Set NCAA record for blocks in a season
2010–11 37–37 31.8 23.0 40 54% 7.8 15 4.6 10 1.4 2.1
2011–12 40–40 32.7 23.2 45 61% 9.5 15 5.2 9 1.6 1.7
2012–13 33–33 30.3 23.8 50 60% 9.0 15 4.8 7 2.4 1.8 736 career blocked shots is NCAA record for men and women

*2012–13 statistics as of 3/21/13

Year Baylor record NCAA tournament result AP All-American
2009–10 27–10 Final Four (lost to UConn 70–50) 2nd Team
2010–11 34–3 Elite Eight (lost to Texas A&M 58–46) 1st Team
2011–12 40–0 CHAMPION (80–61 win over Notre Dame) 1st Team
2012–13 34–2 Sweet Sixteen (lost to Louisville 82–81) 1st Team

Professional career[edit]

WNBA[edit]

Griner dunking at the 2015 WNBA All-Star game held at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville CT

The only international players surpassing her height are the late Margo Dydek, at 7 feet 2 inches (2.18 m), the late Sue Geh, at 2.06 metres (6 ft 9 in) tall, Heidi Gillingham at 6 feet 10 inches (2.08 m) and Allyssa DeHaan at 6 feet 9 inches (2.06 m). In the 2013 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury selected Griner as the first overall pick. Griner would flourish in her rookie season, being named a WNBA all-star and would be a dominant defensive force in the league, averaging 3.0 blocks per game. In her debut on May 27, 2013 against Chicago Sky, Griner equaled the WNBA dunk record, recording two dunks to equal Candace Parker's career total.[31] She thus became the third WNBA player to dunk and first to do so twice in one game.[32] Despite the All-Star vote, Griner missed the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game with a right knee injury, she was replaced by Tina Thompson.[33]

In the 2014 season, Griner's stats would improve, as she averaged 15.6 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game and 3.7 blocks per game. On June 29, 2014, Griner had set a WNBA record with 11 blocks in a regular season game win against the Tulsa Shock, along with 21 points and 8 rebounds.[34] On August 24, 2014, Griner became the first WNBA player to dunk in a playoff game when she helped the Mercury defeat the Los Angeles Sparks, 93–68, at Staples Center.[35] The 2014 season would be a historic season for the Mercury with the combination of Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Candice Dupree as the dominant Big 3 to carry the team plus the arrival of new head coach Sandy Brondello, the Mercury finished 29–5, setting the WNBA record for most wins in a regular season. They made it all the way to the WNBA finals and swept the Chicago Sky 3 games to 0, to capture the Mercury's third championship in franchise history.[36] During the series, Griner set WNBA finals records in game 1 for most blocks in a game (8) and most blocks in a quarter (5).

Hip high portrait of young woman with long brown dyed blond dreadlocks preparing to shoot
Griner shooting a free throw in 2018

In the 2015 season, despite missing the first seven games due to a suspension stemming from her domestic violence case, Griner would have the most prolific defensive season in WNBA history, averaging a career high and WNBA record 4.0 blocks per game, surpassing Margo Dydek's record back in the 1998 season. Although the Mercury were playing without their all-star guard Diana Taurasi (who sat out the season to play overseas), the Mercury still made it to the playoffs. In the 2015 playoffs, Griner set a WNBA playoff record with 11 blocks (along with 18 points and 8 rebounds) in a game 1 victory against the Tulsa Shock, whom she also had 11 blocks against in a regular season game the year before.[37] The Mercury would advance to the second round where they would get swept by the Minnesota Lynx who would win the championship that year.

In the 2016 season, with the return of Diana Taurasi, the Mercury had a more successful playoff run. En route to the playoffs, Griner averaged 14.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game and 3.1 blocks per game as the Mercury finished 16–18. During the season, Griner had recorded the sixth triple-double in WNBA history in a win against the Atlanta Dream where she had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.[38] With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Mercury were the number 8 seed in the league as they faced the Indiana Fever in the first round. The Mercury upset the Fever in the first round elimination game, as Griner had 18 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the number 3 seeded New York Liberty, Griner had 22 points 10 rebounds and 4 blocks in the win. The Mercury advanced to the semifinals (the last round before the WNBA finals) against the championship defending Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-5 series but would get swept 3–0.

Very tall woman with arms raised, young woman passing the ball forward under strain, surrounded by players
Griner and the Mercury guarding Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx in 2018

On March 12, 2017, Griner re-signed with the Mercury to a multi-year deal once her rookie contract expired.[39] In 2017, Griner would have the best season of her career thus far. On June 7, 2017, Griner scored a career-high 38 points along with 9 rebounds in a 98–90 overtime win against the Indiana Fever.[40] Griner would miss 8 games of the season and the 2017 WNBA All-Star Game due to an ankle and knee injury (replaced by Rebekkah Brunson), but finished off the season leading the league in scoring with 21.9 points per game and also lead the league in blocks for the fifth consecutive season. The Mercury would finish with an 18–16 record as the number 5 seed. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Seattle Storm 79–69, advancing to the second round. Griner scored 23 points along with 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in the win. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 88–83 and advanced to the semi-finals. Griner scored 26 points along with 9 rebounds in the win. In the semi-finals, the Mercury were eliminated by the Los Angeles Sparks in a 3-game sweep.

In 2018, Griner played all 34 games for the third time in her career. She was voted into the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game, making it her fifth all-star game appearance. On August 18, 2018, Griner scored a season-high 33 points along with 18 rebounds and 7 blocks in a 104–95 victory over the Atlanta Dream.[41] This season was also her first season shooting from beyond the arc. Griner also led the league in blocks for the sixth consecutive year. The Mercury finished off the season 20–14 with the number 5 seed in the league. In the first round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Dallas Wings 101–83. Griner scored 17 points in the win. In the second round elimination game, the Mercury defeated the Connecticut Sun 96–86, advacing to the semi-finals for the third year in a row, they would face off against the Seattle Storm. Down 2–0, the Mercury came back to tie up the series 2–2. In game 5, the Mercury lost 94–84, ending their season.

USA Basketball[edit]

In September 2011, Griner spent two weeks playing under coach Geno Auriemma for the U.S. National Team as part of its European training tour. Griner was the only college player in the group.[42] She averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game with the USA team in Europe.[29]

Griner was the sole player still playing in college on the 2012 U.S. Olympic women's basketball team finalists roster.[43] Excluding Griner, the average age on the finalists roster was approximately 30 years old compared to Griner, who was 22 years old at the time of the Olympics. Griner decided in April 2012 not to participate in the 2012 Olympics due to family illness and her school schedule.[44]

In April 2013, the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise asked Griner to appear in tryouts for the team.[45]

In 2016, Griner played for the U.S. Olympic women's basketball team for the Summer Olympics and earned her first Olympic medal as they beat Spain 101–72 for the gold medal.

Overseas[edit]

In the 2013–14 off-season, Griner played in China for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls of the WCBA where she signed a 4-month contract for $600,000 which was 12 times the amount she made in her rookie season with the Mercury.[46] In the 2014–15 and 2015–16 off-seasons, Griner played in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg with teammate Diana Taurasi, winning back-to-back championships.[47][48] As of August 2016, Griner re-signed with UMMC Ekaterinburg for the 2016–17 off-season.[49] In 2017, Griner re-signed once again with UMMC Ekaterinburg for the 2017–18 off-season.[50]

Honors[edit]

Along with being selected as the number one high school player in the country by Rivals.com, Griner was featured on the cover of ESPN's Rise magazine,[51] and was selected by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association as the 2009 State Farm/WBCA High School Player of the Year.[51] Griner also won the 2013 ESPY Award for best female college athlete. She was the 2012 winner of the Honda Sports Award for basketball[52] and the overall Honda-Broderick Cup winner for all sports.[53] She was the 2012 recipient of the Wade Trophy, presented to the best female NCAA Division I basketball player who embodies the "Spirit of Margaret Wade."[54] She was the winner of the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, in 2012, and again in 2013. The award is given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association to the nation's top Division I women's player.[55]

In 2014, Griner was included as part of the Advocate's annual "40 under 40" list.[59]

She was also named one of ESPNW's Impact 25 in 2014.[60]

Personal life[edit]

In an interview with SI.com on April 17, 2013, Griner publicly came out as a lesbian. She also revealed in the interview that she was bullied as a child, explaining, "It's hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything". She said she is very passionate about working with children in order to bring attention to the issue of bullying, particularly against LGBT people.[61] Her endorsement deal with Nike was the first time the company had signed such a deal with an openly gay athlete.[62]

Griner had previously come out to her parents in high school, which her father did not accept gracefully, forcing her to live with an assistant coach for six weeks during her senior year.[63] She would later write a memoir with Sue Hovey addressing bullying and self-acceptance, In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court, published in 2014.[63][64]

Griner–Johnson domestic violence case[edit]

On August 14, 2014, Griner announced her engagement to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson.[65][66] However, the couple were arrested on charges of assault and disorderly conduct on April 22, 2015, eight months after their engagement, after police broke up a fight between the two in their Goodyear, Arizona home. Both had sustained minor injuries.[67][68] They were married on May 8, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.[69][70] On May 15, 2015, the WNBA suspended Griner and Johnson for seven games each after Griner pled guilty to disorderly conduct charges. Griner was also required to complete 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling.[71]

On June 4, 2015 Griner and Johnson announced that Johnson was pregnant with twins. The following day, Griner filed for an annulment of the marriage citing fraud and duress.[72] Griner has no biological connection to the twins.[72] It had been revealed that Johnson had become pregnant through IVF treatment using her eggs and a sperm donation.[73][74] The divorce was finalized in June 2016.[75]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader
Denotes seasons in which Griner won a WNBA championship
double-dagger WNBA record

WNBA regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2013 Phoenix 27 27 25.9 .556 .000 .724 6.3 1.0 0.4 3.0 1.7 14.5
2014 Phoenix 34 34 30.7 .578 .000 .802 8.0 1.6 0.6 3.7 1.9 15.6
2015 Phoenix 26 26 30.7 .565 .000 .773 8.1 1.3 0.3 4.0double-dagger 2.1 15.1
2016 Phoenix 34 34 29.2 .548 .000 .831 6.5 1.0 0.3 3.1 2.0 14.5
2017 Phoenix 26 26 31.5 .577 .000 .812 7.6 1.9 0.6 2.5 2.4 21.9
2018 Phoenix 34 34 32.6 .544 .250 .800 7.7 2.1 0.5 2.6 2.3 20.5
Career 181 181 30.2 .561 .250 .797 7.4 1.5 0.5 3.2double-dagger 2.1 16.7

WNBA Postseason[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2013 Phoenix 5 5 26.6 .533 .000 .556 6.4 0.2 0.2 0.8 1.6 10.6
2014 Phoenix 7 7 31.0 .627 .000 .920 6.0 1.6 0.4 3.4 1.8 16.7
2015 Phoenix 4 4 29.7 .583 .000 .885 8.0 1.3 0.7 4.5 2.0 16.3
2016 Phoenix 5 5 31.2 .643 .000 .813 6.0 1.6 0.6 2.2 2.2 13.4
2017 Phoenix 5 5 36.8 .407 .000 .795 7.0 2.0 0.6 1.6 2.4 20.2
2018 Phoenix 7 7 36.4 .631 .000 .750 8.0 3.1 0.7 2.2 1.7 21.6
Career 33 33 32.2 .566 .000 .811 6.9 1.7 0.6 2.5 1.9 16.8

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Houston rocket: Nimitz 6–6 sophomore "Brittney Griner is taking off", SI.com, January 16, 2007.
  2. ^  Brittney Griner. "Baylor Women's Basketball Player Bio". Baylorbears.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  3. ^ Longman, Jeré (March 19, 2013). "Brittney Griner's Final Season Draws Applause and Crowds". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Jeff Fedotin, Griner named nation's no. 1 player Archived March 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Yahoo Sports. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "Could 6'8" Brittney Griner play in the NBA?", Yahoo! Sports, February 12, 2008.
  6. ^ "McDonald's Girls All-American Teams Announced". Maxpreps.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  7. ^ Brittney Griner Signs Endorsement Deal with Nike
  8. ^ "Brittney Griner". USA Basketball. April 24, 2017. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  9. ^ Nelson, Glenn (June 24, 2008). "Greatness and Griner go hand in hand". ESPNHS HoopGurlz. ESPN. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  10. ^ Britney [sic Griner: High School Girl Dunker] on YouTube
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  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ McLaughlin, Elliot L. (April 4, 2012). "Baylor star center Brittney Griner leads team to 40–0 season, championship". CNN. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
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  28. ^ John Altavilla, Herald-Mail Archived April 7, 2012, at Archive.is Baylor women top Notre Dame to complete 40–0 season, April 3, 2012.
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  30. ^ Game's biggest upset stuns Baylor ESPN. March 31, 2013.
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  32. ^ "Slow Start, Long Season". Wnba.com. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  33. ^ Brittney Griner out of WNBA All-Star Game with injury
  34. ^ Mercury rout Shock behind Brittney Griner's block party
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  36. ^ Hersh, Philip (September 12, 2014). "Diana Taurasi and Mercury sweep to WNBA title over Sky". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  37. ^ Brittney Griner had a record-setting 11 blocks in the opening game of the WNBA playoffs
  38. ^ Griner’s Triple-Double Helps Mercury Beat Dream 95–87
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  40. ^ Brittney Griner scores career-high 38 points to lift Mercury to win over Fever
  41. ^ Griner, Taurasi lead Mercury over Dream 104–95
  42. ^ ESPN broadcast of UConn v. Baylor, originally aired December 18, 2011.
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  46. ^ Brittney Griner Makes 12 Times More Playing In China Than In The United States
  47. ^ http://www.wnba.com/wnba-players-playing-overseas/
  48. ^ Unlikely comrades Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner play overseas for the money. As it turns out, they also simplify their lives.
  49. ^ 2016–2017 WNBA Overseas Signings
  50. ^ WNBA Players Playing Overseas
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  63. ^ a b Galehouse, Maggie (April 4, 2014). "Brittney Griner: independent at last". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  64. ^ Griner, Brittney; Hovey, Sue (April 8, 2014). In My Skin: My Life On and Off the Basketball Court. Dey Street Books (HarperCollins). ISBN 9780062309341. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  65. ^ Nichols, James (August 15, 2014). "Brittney Griner Proposes To Girlfriend Glory Johnson". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  66. ^ Silver, Jake (August 15, 2014). "WNBA's Brittney Griner Gets Engaged to Former Tennessee Vols Star Glory Johnson". Bleacher Report. Retrieved August 15, 2014.
  67. ^ "WNBA star Brittney Griner arrested on assault and disorderly conduct". Sports Illustrated. April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015.
  68. ^ "Mercury's Brittney Griner arrested on assault allegations". Azcentral.com. April 23, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  69. ^ "Former Lady Vol Glory Johnson, WNBA Star Brittney Griner wed on Phoenix mountaintop". Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  70. ^ "WNBA Wedding! Brittney Griner Marries Glory Johnson". Us Weekly. Retrieved March 10, 2017.
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  72. ^ a b azcentral sports staff (June 6, 2015). "Report: Mercury's Brittney Griner files for annulment". azcentral. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
  73. ^ Brittney Griner’s ex-wife is dating a man
  74. ^ WNBA’s Glory Johnson FINDS LOVE In 30 Year Old Man Who Still Lives With PARENTS After Divorcing Brittney Griner
  75. ^ Brittney Griner finalizes divorce from Glory Johnson over a YEAR after ending their one-month marriage

External links[edit]