WACO, Texas -- Under the basket with no one around her, Baylor freshman sensation Brittney Griner finally did in college what she routinely did in high school.
The 6-foot-8 Griner became only the seventh woman to dunk in a college game with her one-handed slam Tuesday night, taking a lob pass from Kelli Griffin on the right and dunking with her right hand in what is expected to become a common occurrence for the eighth-ranked Lady Bears.
"Oh yeah, it's real good in college to now have it under my belt," Griner said. "I can look back on it and grow on it."
After missing one-handed dunk attempts in each of her previous two games, there was no doubt about the third try -- on a set play about 5 minutes into Baylor's 104-45 victory over Jacksonville State. Griner was in the right side of the lane under the basket when she got the pass. A defender didn't get near her until she was already slamming it home.
"It must have been that play I hadn't been calling," coach Kim Mulkey said. "Let me say this, so we can correct it. Coaches don't really call plays for a dunk. The defense dictates if a dunk ever happens. She had an opportunity to dunk it."
Well, the play worked as designed, leaving Griner wide open. She did the rest after a near-perfect pass from Griffin, one of her AAU teammates in Houston who had assisted on a few dunks in the past, and put the Lady Bears (3-1) up 17-3.
"I was at Trinity in San Antonio for 13 years, we ran that same play, not of course for a dunk, that overhead play," Jacksonville State coach Becky Geyer said. "Good for her. Unfortunately, it was against us."
Griner finished with 20 points, six rebounds and eight blocked shots in 21 minutes. There were no more dunk attempts, though it appeared Griner could have had a couple of more chances.
Morghan Medlock, the lone Baylor senior, had 18 points and seven rebounds, while Ashley Field had 17 points. Zenobia Pitts led Jacksonville State (0-4) with 11 points.
The last collegiate female to dunk was Tennessee's Candace Parker on Feb. 3, 2008, against Kentucky. Parker had a record seven dunks in her college career, and is the only woman with two in a game.
Griner became a YouTube sensation with her dunks at Houston's Nimitz High, where in 32 games as a senior last season she had 52 dunks and averaged nearly 12 blocks a game. She had seven dunks in one game.
Though it took her three tries in college before getting the first one, Griner was pretty nonchalant when it happened. Remember, dunking is nothing new for her.
"Sometimes I'll dunk, I get pumped up. Sometimes I really don't feel the dunk. I'm real particular on my dunks," Griner said. "If I slammed it two-handed, I probably would have gotten more riled up. ... I got more excited on the blocks."
Before coming out of the game for good with 10 minutes left, Griner had blocks on consecutive shots by Jacksonville State and was in position for a third on the same possession when the shot clock expired. Her last basket came with 11:52 left when she had a putback on her own miss.
Following an extended break after her dunk, Griner came back with two quick baskets. The first was a breakaway layup out of the timeout when Jacksonville State wasn't set and Griner took a pass from Lindsay Palmer, but opted for the short shot rather than take an extra step and dunk it home.
A minute into the second half, Griner appeared to be trying to go up for another slam, but was fouled by 11-inch shorter Danielle Beneby. A couple of minutes later, Griner was inside when she bobbled a pass from Griffin, and had to settle for a layup.
With Baylor playing three games in three days in a tournament this weekend, Griner and the rest of the starters didn't play the final 10 minutes. Plus, the Lady Bears didn't get home until after early Monday after an overnight trip home from their 69-49 victory at California on Sunday.
The six college women who dunk before had only a total of 15, and the 25th anniversary of the first is next month. Georgeann Wells of West Virginia had the first one Dec. 21, 1984.
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