Men's Basketball

Griner is unanimous AP pick for 2nd time

New Morehead men's coach Sean Woods told the media Tuesday: "We have a lot of talent and depth ... which should make for an enjoyable year."
New Morehead men's coach Sean Woods told the media Tuesday: "We have a lot of talent and depth ... which should make for an enjoyable year." The Herald-Leader

Brittney Griner, the 6-foot-8 Baylor senior, became only the third player to be a two-time unanimous choice on The Associated Press' women's basketball pre-season All-America team, receiving all 40 votes from a national media panel Tuesday.

Griner joined former UConn star Maya Moore and Duke great Alana Beard in that select club. "I'm humbled by it, to be a part of that group," Griner said. "That's just awesome."

Griner wasn't the only unanimous choice. Delaware senior Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame senior Skylar Diggins also were on all 40 ballots. Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike (23 votes), Maryland's Alyssa Thomas (19) and Baylor's Odyssey Sims (19) rounded out the squad. It's the first time there's been a tie for the final spot since the team began in 1995-96.

Only five other players have been unanimous picks — Courtney Paris, Chamique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi, Seimone Augustus and Candace Parker.

Griner and Sims are the sixth set of teammates to be on the pre-season team. They helped Baylor go undefeated last season en route to the school's second national championship. The pair have the Lady Bears back at No. 1 in the pre-season AP Top 25 poll.

"Winning the championship validated without question Griner's impact on the women's game," Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey said. "Did she need that championship to be considered the best player to ever play? I don't think so, but a lot of people do. So now she has that championship; she's still hungry."

Griner averaged 23.2 points, shot nearly 61 percent from the field and blocked five shots a game.

Sims also had a strong year, averaging 14.9 points and 4.4 assists to go along with three steals.

The All-America duo helped Baylor knock off Diggins and Notre Dame in the title game in April. Diggins led the Irish to the past two NCAA championship games and last season helped them to their first regular-season Big East title. She averaged 16.8 points and 5.7 assists while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Delle Donne became the first player from a non-BCS conference to earn pre-season All-America honors since Amanda Wilson (Louisiana Tech) in 1998-99. She led the nation in scoring last season, averaging 28.1 points and helped the Blue Hens to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Kentucky senior guard A'dia Mathies was among the players also receiving votes for the team.

Others were Jerica Coley, Florida International; Angel Goodrich, Kansas; Bria Hartley, Connecticut; Tayler Hill, Ohio State; Jordan Hooper, Nebraska; Maggie Lucas, Penn State; Kevi Luper, Oral Roberts; Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut; Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown; Elizabeth Williams, Duke.