How could a team with players by the name of Odyssey and Destiny lose the national championship? Moreover, how could Baylor lose the big game with BRITTANY GRINER on their side? It just couldn't be, but the storylines abound, way beyond just another Women's NCAA title.
Yes, it has been an ODYSSEY, since BRITTANY first entered the scene ignamoniously by punching another woman in the face in a game as a freshman. She was a raw, undeveloped talent, but 6-8" nonetheless. She gained coordination, and sportsmanship in her first two seasons with Baylor, but could not win the big game, losing in the elite 8 last year, and in the final four the year before.
GRINER as a junior was a force to be reckoned with, leading her team to an undefeated 39-0 coming into the final game. She came in averaging 23+ points per game, to go with 9+ rebounds and 5+ blocks. BRITTANY dunked twice during the championship tournament. So it was no fluke that she scored 26, pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked 5 shots in the title game, all while being triple-teamed and sandwiched nearly every time she touched the ball.
It was DESTINY. GRINER was a "man" among girls. Her talent separated her from the filed, much the way LEW ALCINDOR, or BILL WALTON dominated the game in their day. It was DESTINY that Baylor would finish 40-0, the first team ever, men's or women's to achieve that fete. LARRY BIRD'S Indiana State was the last men's team to finish undefeated(31-0) atop college hoops back in 1979, that's how good BRITTANY GRINER was. Women's teams have fared better, with Texas(1986), Tennessee(1998) and Connecticut(1995, 2002, 2009 and 2010) having perfect seasons, but none 40-0.
It was history, plain and simple. But it could not be done without the contributions of others, namely ODYSSEY and DESTINY, and a coach with Bell's palsy.
ODYSSEY SIMS scored 19 points while playing point to perfection. DESTINY WILLIAMS finished with 12. Coach KIM MULKEY kept this journey together with a tenacious game plan for the season, and steady control over a program that could have come up short on the promise of it's budding superstar. No game demonstrated this more than the elite 8 victory over legendary program Tennessee, coached by the goddess of women's college basketball, PAT SUMMIT.
MULKEY played for SUMMIT on the Olympic team. SUMMIT has coached the Lady Vols for 38 years, with a career record 1098-208. That's winning 84% of her games. She coached to 16 SEC titles, and 8 NCAA titles. SUMMIT, suffering from early onset dementia- Alzheimers disease, was stern-faced as she congratulated MULKEY on her way to the final four. GRINER was ejected from that game for leaving the bench late in the game when a fight nearly broke out on the floor. It was that kind of year for MULKEY.
Talk about an odyssey. Talk about destiny. Talk about history. You're talking BRITTANY GRINER. Look for her to bolt college basketball and go pro this summer. I mean, what else could she possibly do on the college level. This story just can't be topped.