brittany_griner_web.jpgLOS ANGELES — Brittney Griner, who electrified basketball audiences with her two-handed dunks and formidable shot blocking, was named Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and presented with the Honda Cup recently in a live telecast from the ESPN Studios in downtown Los Angeles.

The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 36th year, tapped Giner, a Baylor University junior, from a trio of finalists who included soccer midfielder Teresa Noyola of Stanford University and softball pitcher Keilani Ricketts of the University of Oklahoma.

Griner received the Honda Cup at the live ceremony that also featured Honda Inspiration Award recipient Elena Delle Donne of the University of Delaware, top Division II athlete Kari Daugherty of Ashland University and Division III athlete Stacey Hagensen of Pacific Lutheran University.

“I’m honored to even be here, even to be in the room with these athletes,” said Griner. “I’m at a loss for words. When I look at myself, it is definitely humbling. My mom and my dad, they’ve been there through everything for me. My mom hasn’t made a lot of my games, due to illness, but she’s always calling me before and after my games. “My dad comes to every game. He drives three hours even though he has to be at work at 7 in the morning. He took me everywhere to play when I was younger, he would always take time off and come to my games. This is an honor for my entire family. It’s amazing.”

Griner, who counts 2008 Honda Cup winner Candace Parker as her favorite player, drew national attention for her dunking ability at Nimitz High School in Houston, Texas.

She led Baylor to a perfect season and the Division I women’s basketball championship, averaging a record 23.2 points per game.

Photo: Brittany Griner