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Griner, Mulkey Named Naismith Award Finalists

WACO (March 22, 2013) -- Baylor’s Brittney Griner is one of four finalists for the Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced today. Joining Griner as a 2013 finalist for the award are Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins and Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford.

Griner is the defending Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year.

The finalists were chosen by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which determined that their performances throughout the 2013 regular season stood out among a host of great women’s basketball players. The 2013 Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year presented by AT&T will be awarded to one of these four finalists on April 8, 2013, in New Orleans, La.

For the ninth consecutive year, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice and help determine the 2013 Naismith Trophy winner. Beginning March 25 through April 6 fans can cast their vote by calling **VOTE (**8683).* Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year Trophy presenting sponsor AT&T is making the voting open to customers of other wireless carriers, enabling even more fans to participate.

“These four finalists have risen above their peers in the women’s college basketball landscape, driving their teams toward victory by achieving not only individual statistics, but making those around them better,” said Eric Oberman, Executive Director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “We’re even more pleased that we know with this group, one of these great players will earn a second Naismith Trophy.”

Should Griner win her second consecutive Naismith Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year Trophy presented by AT&T, she would become the sixth women’s player to achieve the honor in back-to-back seasons (the first since LSU’s Seimone Augustus in 2005-2006) and the seventh overall multiple-time winner of the award.

“Week-in and week-out, these student-athletes delighted fans with impressive performances, memorable highlights and plenty of reasons to cheer,” said Jamie Kerr, Director, AT&T Corporate Sponsorships. “Every one of these competitors deserves careful consideration for this year’s Trophy. We’re excited to offer fans the chance to help with the selection process and bring their favorite players a reason to celebrate.”

Griner, the defending Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year, was named the Big 12 Player of the Year for the third straight season and was the league's Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth straight year. The 6-8 Houston, Texas, native has led the top-ranked Lady Bears to a 32-1 record, both the Big 12 Conference regular season and postseason tournament crowns and an undefeated league record at 18-0. In addition, Griner, the reigning consensus national player of the year, was named the Big 12 Championships' most outstanding player for the third straight year and is a finalists for all major player of the year awards.

Griner is averaging 23.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game while shooting a nation’s-leading 60.4 percent from the floor and 71.0 percent from the free throw line.

Throughout her four-year career, Griner has registered an NCAA and Big 12 record 736 career blocked shots and ranks No. 2 on the NCAA Division I career scoring list with 3,203 points.

Notable past Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year winners include Chamique Holdsclaw, Lisa Leslie, Rebecca Lobo and Maya Moore.

For the second straight season Baylor Lady Bear head coach Kim Mulkey is a finalist for the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Thursday. Mulkey is joined by University of California coach Lindsay Gottlieb, University of Dayton coach Jim Jabir and Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw. The Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year Award will be announced during the NCAA Women’s Final Four in New Orleans.

Mulkey received the 2012 Naismith award after piloting the Lady Bears to the 2012 NCAA championship and posting a perfect 40-0 record.

So far this season, the top-ranked Lady Bears are 32-1 and finished a perfect 18-0 in the Big 12 conference, going undefeated for the second straight season, and captured their fourth Big 12 regular season title. In addition, Baylor won a Big 12-record third straight conference tournament championship.

In just 13 seasons as a head coach, Mulkey has attained 370 career victories and ranks No. 2 among the winningest active Division I head coaches (.822) and No. 5 all-time by percentage.

The Lady Bears, which finished the season ranked No. 1 in the polls, are the NCAA Championships’ overall No. 1 seed and will take on Prairie View A&M in first-round action in Waco’s Ferrell Center on Sunday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m.. Mulkey, who was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, seeks to repeat as the Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year.

The four finalists were selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s National Voting Academy, which based its criteria on the coaches’ performances to this point in the 2013 women’s college basketball season.

“It has been another remarkable season for women’s basketball and these four finalists deserve the distinction of being called the best coaches in the country,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Whether we have a repeat winner or a first-timer, we look forward to adding another chapter to our award history.”


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