Brittney Griner fueled NBA speculation and padded her resume for the greatest women’s basketball player of all time with a 50-point outburst against Kansas State on Monday.
Griner, who also dunked in the contest, looked unstoppable as she scored on 21-for-28 from the field and led Baylor to the 90-68 victory. The Baylor star moved into second place on the all-time Division I scoring list with 3,123 points.
While many of Brittney Griner’s accomplishments — her personal marks and her leading Baylor to a championship last year — have come on neutral grounds, her 50-point game came before a raucous home crowd. Baylor attracted a record-tying home crowd of 10,627 for Griner’s final home game.
As Kyle Ringo of Yahoo! Sports points out, the performance helps cement Brittney Griner among the all-time greats in women’s basketball:
“Baylor has enjoyed unprecedented success with Griner on the court, which is a big component of the argument for her being the best ever. Baylor completed a second-straight undefeated conference season tonight and has won 46 consecutive Big 12 games. The Conference has been widely regarded as one of the two best leagues in the women’s game throughout Griner’s career.”
Before dropping 50 points on Kansas State, Brittney Griner’s previous career high was 45 points. Though Kansas State is an undersized team poorly equipped to handle the 6-foot-8 Griner, the Wildcats are still a scrappy squad known for hitting 3-pointers. In the game Kansas State actually hit 15 threes and scored 68 points, 15 more than Baylor has been giving up on average.
The performance was enough for Brittney Griner to restart questions of whether she could enter the NBA Draft. While it would admittedly be close to impossible for a 6-foot-8 center to make it in the NBA, Griner is the first women’s player to legitimately enter the conversation of crossing over into the men’s game (which was largely discussed during last year’s undefeated season for Baylor).
Bleacher Report columnist Alex Kay wrote last year that Griner should declare for the NBA Draft, becoming the first player to try for the NBA since the Indiana Pacers inked Ann Meyers to a $50,000 dollar contract to try out for the team in 1979.
Griner’s 50-point game certainly got the attention of NBA players who congratulated her on Twitter.
Just saw Brittney Griner did a spin move off the post and dunked 2nite…Seriously??? #GameChanger
— Chris Paul (@CP3) March 5, 2013
Brittney Griner did not get 50 smh! And a dunk??
— Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) March 5, 2013
Though she may not be playing another regular season game in Baylor, Griner will still stay close to home in the postseason. The team has a short drive north on Interstate 35 for the Big 12 tournament in Dallas, and there’s still a chance Britney Griner could play an NCAA game on her home court, ESPN pointed out. Baylor is a host site for the tournament.