Before Rio in 2016, or even getting started in the pros next summer, there is still the senior season with the Lady Bears for the fun-loving All-American who can dunk and broke her right wrist in a longboarding accident this summer. Baylor is coming off the NCAA’s first 40-win season and returns every starter from its undefeated national championship team.
The accident on the elongated skateboard came after Griner had already removed herself from consideration for the 12th and final spot on the U.S. women’s basketball team that won gold at the London Olympics. She almost certainly would have been part of the team, but didn’t participate because of summer school classes she had to take and the ill health of her mother.
“She’s OK. Ups and downs, but she’s all right,” Griner said, but not wanting to elaborate on her mother’s health during an interview with The Associated Press.
Griner said she made the right choice to bypass the Olympics, even though she wished while watching the games that she was playing. The 6-foot-8 Griner was with USA Basketball in Europe last fall, when she averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
“It was exciting just watching them,” Griner said. “It’s a great team, basically all my role models are on that team. It was just amazing knowing that I was with them for a little bit overseas. … Just to see them out there playing hard, playing strong, and bringing the gold home, it was good.”
When the WNBA draft lottery was held last month, the Phoenix Mercury won the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to select the dominating post player next spring before Chicago chooses second and Tulsa third.
Griner watched the draft lottery with some friends, and she described them more excited than she was about her potential future destination.
“I’ve still got a year here and I’m looking forward to my year here,” said Griner, who told her friends one other thing that night: “They didn’t say they were picking me. They just got the No. 1 pick.”
The Lady Bears are the overwhelming favorite to win their third consecutive Big 12 title. They open the season Nov. 9 at home against Lamar.
Through her first three seasons at Baylor, Griner has averaged 21.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game with a Big 12-record 594 blocked shots. She is the first NCAA player with 2,000 career points and 500 blocked shots.
In the NCAA tournament last season, Griner dunked twice. That matched Candace Parker for most dunks by a woman in NCAA tournament play and during a college career (seven).
After having to wear a cast this summer because of the broken radius bone, Griner’s wrist was fully healed before the Lady Bears started practicing this month. Griner worked to get stronger and faster this summer, and also to take on coach Kim Mulkey’s challenge for her to be a better offensive rebounder.
Griner didn’t fall off the longboard, but rather jumped off it when she was going down a ramp and realized she wouldn’t be able to make a turn. She got hurt after jumping off, then reaching out to catch herself against the wall.
“I was trying to save myself from falling off, but I still broke my arm,” Griner said.View Entire Story
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