Once, twice, thrice as Griner goes dunking again
MEMPHIS: Baylor coach Kim Mulkey promised fans turning out for the Memphis regional final Monday night the chance to watch Brittney Griner dunk in pregame warmups.
And the 6-foot-8 freshman did.
Too bad more people didn't get the chance to watch her put on a quick show.
Griner shook the backboard with a quick dunk, and a couple minutes later threw down the ball with her right hand. That seemed to get her going, and Griner jumped up and slammed the ball through with both hands — hanging on the rim for a few seconds to some cheers from the scattered fans. She finished with one more one-handed dunk.
The pregame show is nothing new from the freshman who dunked 52 times in 32 games as a senior at Nimitz High School in Houston. Griner became just the seventh woman to dunk in an NCAA regular-season game on Nov. 24 against Jacksonville State.
Griner has four dunks in her first season at Baylor, trailing only Candace Parker who dunked seven times while at Tennessee. Parker also remains the lone woman to dunk in the NCAA tournament, doing so twice in 2005.
But with Baylor and Griner sending homestate favorite and top-seeded Tennessee home on Saturday, a small crowd got to watch her dunking away. Curtains covering the upper deck helped trim the usual capacity at FedExForum from 18,085 to 9,343, and local organizers had to be happy at least a few in Tennessee orange stuck around with only 29 fans in one end zone.
They wound up with 3,263 in attendance, well below the 6,577 for Saturday's semifinals.
Griner did make a different mark in helping Baylor down Duke 51-48. She blocked nine shots, giving her 36 and the NCAA tournament record. That topped the 30 blocks Alison Bales had for Duke in 2006 through six games.
"I think it'd be kind of funny being 6-8 and not having any blocks at all," Griner said to laughs. "It's kind of like second nature. Just see the shot go up there and try to grab it or throw it out of bounds."