The 6-foot-8 Griner can dunk, rebound, block shots and alter games with her imposing presence in the lane. Yet as dominating as she has been in her two seasons for the Baylor Lady Bears, she isn't so sure she has lived up to the billing.
"I don't think I'm as good as what everybody says I am," Griner said. "I think I'm alright."
Forgive her opponents, and even her own teammates, if they disagree.
Baylor has already been to a Final Four with Griner, making it last year when she was a freshman on a team that had lost its top four scorers from the previous season. This year, the Lady Bears were Big 12 regular season and tournament champions and are a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time.
"I think she doesn't realize how good she can be," teammate Melissa Jones said. "I think she has maybe that thought in her mind that people say she has all this potential, and I think maybe that just sticks out to her because she's like I've done this and I can do so much more."
Griner wouldn't mind the chance to make a few 3-pointers now and then, sort of a women's version of Dirk Nowitzki, the 7-foot perennial NBA All-Star for the Dallas Mavericks with a flare for clutch long-range shooting. Or doing anything else that helps her team.
"I want to shoot it better," Griner said, then references herself in third person. "How everybody knows if she gets the ball deep in the paint, she's going to score, or if she doesn't score, she's going to get fouled, I have to be able to have that same reaction if we need that shot from 3, put it in her hands and she'll make it."
The Lady Bears (31-2) play the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament at home, starting Sunday against SWAC champion Prairie View (21-11). If they win both of those games, they advance to play in Dallas, only about 100 miles from campus.
West Virginia (23-9) and Houston (26-5) play in the other first-round NCAA game Sunday at the Ferrell Center, where Baylor is 19-0 this season. The two winners play Tuesday night.
After bursting onto the national scene as a freshman with her dunks and an NCAA single-season record 223 blocked shots, Griner expanded her range this season. She got more comfortable farther from the rim taking mid-range shots, though she had five career dunks before she even attempted a 3-pointer.
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