Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 4/15/13
The Phoenix Mercury selected Brittney Griner with the first overall pick in Monday night's WNBA Draft. Griner joins Diana Taurasi (2004) and Lindsey Harding (2007, traded on draft day for Tangela Smith) as the third player selected by the Mercury with the first pick. Taurasi and Smith were integral pieces in leading the Mercury to its first two championships in franchise history (2007 and 2009). The Mercury will hold an introductory press conference for Griner on Saturday, April 20 at 11:30 a.m. at US Airways Center. We are very excited to welcome Brittney to our team and to Arizona, said Phoenix Mercury managing partner Robert Sarver. She embodies a level of talent and energy that will not only positively impact our game on the court, but elevate womens basketball around the world. Griner enters the professional ranks after one of the most celebrated collegiate careers in the history of womens college basketball. A three-time All-American, two-time Naismith Trophy winner and two-time Wade Trophy winner, Griner led Baylor to a 106-5 (.955) mark over her final three seasons, including a perfect 40-0 mark in 2011-12, the first of its kind in NCAA history. She was named The Associated Press Player of the Year as a junior and senior, joining Seimone Augustus and Chamique Holdsclaw as the only players to ever win the award in consecutive years. Brittney is a game-changer, head coach and general manager Corey Gaines said. She can defend, rebound, score, pass and run the floor. She has the whole package. She creates a world of problems for opponents and will open up new opportunities for our already-talented roster of playmakers. Griner is the first NCAA player to record 2,000 points and 500 blocks in a career, finishing second on the NCAA career scoring list with 3,283 points, and shattering both the mens and womens collegiate records for career blocked shots with 748. She was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year four times and the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year three times. Griner was also a three-time Big 12 Player of the Year. Brittney headlines the next generation of great womens basketball players that will take our league to another level, president and chief operating officer Amber Cox said. Her combination of size, skill, athleticism and charisma is unlike anything weve ever seen in our game. Adding her to a group of dynamic stars like Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor, Candice Dupree and DeWanna Bonner will create an excitement about this franchise and this league that will be must-see basketball. Griner captured the attention of mainstream sports fans by throwing down 18 dunks during her college career, three more than all other college female athletes combined. She had an NCAA-record three dunks in her final home game at Baylor on her way to 33 points and a career-high 22 rebounds against Florida State in the second round of the NCAA National Tournament. For Senior Night on March 4, Griner went out on a high note, scoring a Big 12-record 50 points on 21-of-28 shooting. Griner will make her WNBA regular season debut on May 27 at US Airways Center when the Mercury hosts the Chicago Sky. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2. A special Griner Pack ticket package is available by visiting www.phxmerc.comgrinerpack. Fans who purchase the pack will receive a ticket to three of Griners first games and a special meet-and-greet with the No. 1 overall pick. Exclusive Brittney Griner merchandise is also available at www.shopmercury.com.
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