Baylor's Brittney Griner named Honda Cup winner
Courtesy: Wendell Barnhouse, Big 12 Insider
          Release: 06/24/2012
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Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 24 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Baylor's Brittney Griner was awarded the Honda Cup as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year Saturday. The announcement and the ceremony was aired live on ESPNU on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

Griner is the first Baylor student-athlete to receive the prestigious Honda Cup.  Oklahoma junior pitcher Keilani Ricketts was one of the three finalists for the award. The Honda Sports Award is presented annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports.

"I have learned [by being on a team] how to work with people. I have been blessed with great teammates and coaches and my family is behind me," said Griner at the award ceremony.

As a junior Griner led Baylor to the 2012 NCAA national championship and the first 40-0 season in either the men's or women's college game. She won the Wade Trophy, the Naismith Trophy, The Associated Press national player of the year honor and was the WBCA defensive player of the year.

"I am so proud of Brittney and all that she and her teammates achieved this season,"  Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. "Winning the Honda Cup as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year over all of the other impressive sport nominees puts the cap on an unbelievable year for Brittney and Baylor University.

"When she committed to Baylor, we knew Brittney would become the face of women's basketball and she has certainly fulfilled that, but to be recognized as the best player in the nation among all of the collegiate sports, that is truly an impressive accomplishment."

Griner, a 6-foot-8 post from Houston, averaged 23.3 points, 9.5 rebounds and a nation's-best 5.2 blocks per game this season, setting a Big 12 women's scoring record.

The junior also became the first women's collegiate player to score more than 2,000 points and block more than 500 shots and needs just 65 blocks to become the all-time block shot leader. In Baylor's 80-61 NCAA title victory over Notre Dame, Griner had 26 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.

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