Brittney Griner has had no equal in her stellar career at Baylor. Now she's part of a very select group.
The 6-foot-8 senior star earned The Associated Press player of the year award for the second straight season Saturday. Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw was selected coach of the year.
Griner is just the third player to earn the award in consecutive years, joining Seimone Augustus of LSU and Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee. Connecticut's Maya Moore won it twice in a three-year span.
A three-time All-American, Griner got 37 votes from the 40-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Stanford's Chiney Ogwumike received two votes, and Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins earned the other.
Griner helped hand McGraw's team its only loss of the season, in early December. The Irish haven't lost since, winning a school record 30 straight games. Not bad for a team that graduated three starters from last season.
McGraw, who also won the award in 2001, received 24 votes. Last year's winner, Baylor's Kim Mulkey, was second with seven votes. Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb was third.
McGraw became the second coach to win it multiple times. She joined UConn's Geno Auriemma -- a seven-time recipient.
Griner averaged 23.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.1 blocks this season. She shot 61 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free-throw line. Her play has drawn the praise of LeBron James, and Griner said she's open to an NBA tryout after the WNBA season ends.
Asked about Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's offer to draft her, Griner said: "The WNBA is where I'm at. That's where I'm going. After that, if I get a shot, why turn down something like that? That's big, even if you don't make it. Hey, at least you tried. Somebody pushed the envelope."
Besides drafting her, Cuban mentioned Griner playing in the NBA summer league. Griner shot down that idea, saying she was focused on playing in the WNBA. She's expected to be the first overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA draft April 15.
Notre Dame vs. Connecticut: These two teams have had the best rivalry in the sport over the past few years, and Sunday night's meeting in the Final Four might be the last chapter with Notre Dame heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Two years ago, the Huskies had won the first three meetings before Notre Dame shocked them in the national semifinals. That started an unprecedented run in which the Irish have won seven of the last eight meetings.
In three games this season, Notre Dame won by margins of one point, two points and in triple overtime.
"We came out of each game with 'Wow, we didn't play well,' " Notre Dame's McGraw said. "We can do a lot better. We learned a lot from each game since they were so close. We don't have that feeling of we've beaten them so easily."
Auriemma wasn't concerned about the Irish's recent run of success.
"If we would have won the other three and then lose tomorrow, then winning those other three would mean nothing," he said. "I guess the short answer is: What happened in those other three doesn't mean anything. The only thing that matters now is what happens tomorrow night. That's it."