Women’s basketball has made huge strides all over the world. The game has elevated from the days when my former coach, Kay Yow, who’s gone but not forgotten, used to tell me about the old days. The days when a coach was lucky to get 1 athletic player and blessed to have 2. The days when a center was 5′ 11 or 6’0 and you were just lucky if the center was 6’3.
The center’s average height in today’s game is 6’4 and above and if your lucky like Baylor and company you will be graced with the tall lanky, athletic, shot-blocker, board getter, lady dunkster, triple-double getter Britttttttttttttttttttney Griner!
So who does the 6’8 Griner remind me of? Griner compares to centers I’ve played with overseas that were her height. She reminds me of someone in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Yeah I had to go there I had to go back way back back into time.
I went further back to the lady that Coach Yow spoke of that made her coaching job easy in the Olympics. That lady was none other than the 6’8 center Anne Donovan. She says the same things about Annie D, that many coaches say about Griner today. They both change the game with their shot-blocking abilities, domination on the glass and the soft touch they have around the basket. Even more is there uncanny ability to be agile at 6’8 makes them almost impossible to stop.
The recent 41point output that Griner had is nine points shy of the 50pt performance that Annie D had almost 25years ago. She averaged 20.1 points and 14.5 rebounds a double double her entire career. While Griner is averaging 23pts and 7.7 rebounds a game she hasn’t consistently gotten a double double.
Anne Donovan won a national championship her freshman and sophomore seasons. Brittney has yet to win one but that could all change soon. Brittney does have one up on Anne Donovan as far as athleticism goes. She has the ability to spin baseline and dunk one handed or drop step in the paint and dunk the ball with two-hands. So there is no comparison there.
Griner has been named one of the top 20th finalist for the USA Basketball National Team. Anne Donovan has two gold medals as a player and Griner may have more than one opportunity to even or beat her in that category if she makes the final cut. If she makes the final team she will have to prove herself as Anne Donovan did in her Olympic battles against the 7’2 Russian Center of the world at the time.
Anne Donovan has set the standard for the 6’8 women’s agile mobile center and if it gets any better than this only Griner can raise the bar. She will have a chance to prove just how dominant she is if given the chance to go against the 6’8 centers of Australia’s Elizabeth Liz Cambage and Russia’s 6’8 Maria Stepanova and Ekaterina Lisina.
Griner is a junior with the undefeated Baylor team and could go for a huge run in the NCAA’s and possibly win an NCAA championship. She could also be a part of a gold medal team in London and if Griner gets the ring, the gold medal, another triple double, another 40pt plus performance. This kid is not on the brink of becoming great but more like legendary.
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