Brittney Griner’s season may have ended in the Sweet 16, but the Baylor senior is still capping off her career with more awards.
Griner, who finished her career as the all-time leader in men’s or women’s Division I college basketball history in career blocks (748), won her second consecutive Naismith Women’s Player of the Year Award, according to a release Monday afternoon.
On the season, Griner averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks for the 34-2 Bears, who were upset by Louisville in Oklahoma City.
Griner beat out Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike for the honor. She also became the seventh repeat winner of the award.
Griner may go down as the greatest women’s college basketball player ever, and she’s definitely up there in terms of being the most dominant forward/center ever. The Bears were 74-2 over the last two seasons with Griner in the post, including a 40-0 record and the NCAA Women’s National Championship last season.
Griner exits college as the second all-time leading scorer in women’s Division I college basketball history, finishing with 3,269 points, and is the first player in history to amass over 2,000 points and 500 blocks in their career.
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)