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Collegiate Women Sports Awards Presents 2012 Honda Cup to Baylor University's Brittney Griner
Brittney Griner, who electrified basketball audiences with her two-handed dunks and formidable shot blocking, is the 2012 Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and recipient of the Honda Cup. Griner was presented the prestigious award Saturday in a live telecast from the ESPN Studios in downtown Los Angeles.
"On the 40th anniversary of Title IX, it's a great day in the history of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards to look back on 36 years of our own history and honor such a game-changing athlete as Baylor University's Brittney Griner," said Jean Lenti Ponsetto, CWSA Chairwoman of the Board and Athletics Director at DePaul University. "This is a great day for the intercollegiate athletics community as we showcase the nation's best of the best in women's collegiate athletics live on ESPNU."
The Baylor University junior was selected by the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 36th year, from a trio of finalists that 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 seven 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, led Baylor to a perfect season and the Division I women's basketball championship. She averaged 23.2 points per game, a Big 12 scoring record, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.2 shot blocks, the highest in the nation. So far in her career at Baylor, the 6-foot-8 center has scored 2,425 points and 599 shot blocks and is the first collegiate player to reach 2,000 points and 500 blocks. She received the John R. Wooden Award and was named the 2012 AP Player of the Year. She has said she will forgo entering the WNBA to return to Baylor. As a player at Nimitz High School in Houston, Texas, she drew national attention for her dunking ability.
Griner, Noyola and Ricketts emerged as the CWSA's "Best of the Best" on the Road to the 2012 Honda Cup that included Honda Sports Award Winners in 12-NCAA sanctioned sports. The Collegiate Women Sports Awards has honored the nation's top NCAA women athletes for 36 years, recognizing not only superior athletics skills, but also leadership, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service. Honda has been a sponsor of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards for the past 26 years. Since commencing its sponsorship in 1986, Honda has provided more than $2.5 million in institutional grants to the universities of the award winners and nominees to support women's athletics programs at the institutions. The 2011-2012 Honda Sports Award winners are Sheila Reid of Villanova University (cross country), Megan Frazer of the University of Maryland (field hockey), Teresa Noyola of Stanford University (soccer), Alex Jupiter of the University of Southern California (volleyball), Caitlin Leverenz of the University of California, Berkeley (swimming & diving), Brittney Griner of Baylor University (basketball), Kytra Hunter of the University of Florida (gymnastics), Brooke Pancake of the University of Alabama (golf), Nicole Gibbs of Stanford University (tennis), Taylor Thornton of Northwestern University (lacrosse), Keilani Ricketts of the University of Oklahoma (softball), Honda Division II Athlete of the Year, Kari Daugherty of Ashland University, Honda Division III Athlete of Year (basketball), Stacey Hagensen of Pacific Lutheran University (softball), and the 2012 Honda Inspiration Award Winner, Elena Delle Donne of the University of Delaware (basketball). Previous Honda Cup winners include Ann Meyers Drysdale, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Mia Hamm, Lisa Fernandez, Misty May-Treanor, Courtney Kupets, Maya Moore, and Candace Parker.