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If there’s one knock on Griner it’s that she’s not a great rebounder. But that should come as she adapts to the faster and more physical pro game, both in the WNBA and overseas during the offseason.

“She’s young and going to get better,” Drysdale said. “She will get stronger, her footwork will get better and her shot selection will change as she understands the game better.”

For someone who didn’t play organized ball until ninth grade, Griner has already shown remarkable improvement. On senior night against Kansas State earlier this month she scored a Big 12 record 50 points on 21-28 shooting, had an in-your-face dunk, and pretty much looked like she was a grown woman playing among girls.

Yes, she makes the highlight reels because she can dunk. But she’s so dominant that opponents shoot more 3-pointers against Baylor than ever before for fear of tangling in the paint, where Baylor averages 44.3 points compared to just 18.6 for its opponents.

Ask her about her big games, though, and Griner remembers the ones that weren’t so good. With only four losses in the last three years _ including one this year to Stanford _ they stick out.

“The games where you lose, that sits on you, you always remember that _ 15 years from now I’ll be able to tell you about the (Texas) A&M loss, the Stanford loss, the Connecticut loss,” Griner said. “I’ll be able to tell you about those, about what I did wrong. You ask me about a 40-point game, and I’m like, huh? You have to remind me.”

Others simply remember the dunks. She’s had 14 of them in her career and, if she isn’t the greatest women collegiate player ever, she’s certainly the greatest dunker and inside presence ever.

That will sell some tickets in the WNBA, a league desperate to get people in seats. Last year the WNBA had its lowest average regular-season attendance, 7,457 fans a game, since its inception in 1997.

As Drysdale is quick to point out, though, it took decades for the NBA to really catch on. She and others believe the market is still there to grow, in Phoenix and elsewhere.

With Griner playing the starring role, it could be a slam dunk.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at) or