By Doug Feinberg
Brittney Griner has dominated women’s basketball all season.
Now the 6-foot-8 junior phenom is a unanimous selection to The Associated Press’ All-America team Tuesday, a day after leading the unbeaten Lady Bears to their second Final Four in three seasons.
She was joined on the squad by Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas.
“That would be a very strong team,” Griner said. “I feel sorry for anyone who would have to play us.”
Griner, who was on the first team for the second straight year, hasn’t taken pity on her opponents. She has the Lady Bears two wins away from becoming the first team in NCAA history to go 40-0.
“I would never have thought it would be like this. It’s amazing,” Griner said. “Sometimes you forget what you’ve done. You don’t sit back and enjoy it as you’re so focused on a goal. It definitely has been a great year so far. I hope it finishes the right way, too.”
Griner has been incredible all season, but raised her game over the past month. She’s averaging 23.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocks this season. Throw in two prominent dunks in the NCAA tournament and she’s been unstoppable.
Griner and Ogwumike received 200 points and were unanimous choices by the 40-member national media panel that votes in the weekly Top 25. It’s the fifth straight season that there has been at least one unanimous choice. Voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
Ogwumike, who averaged 22.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, had been on the second team the past two seasons and was thrilled to make the first team this year. She was more excited, however, that her sister Chiney earned second team honors.
“Not a lot of people can say they play with their sister and win an award,” the Stanford senior forward said. “I’m really proud of Chiney. She even has more to grow on as she’s only a sophomore. For her to be one of the top players in the country as a sophomore is remarkable.”
The Ogwumikes became the first sisters to be All-Americans in the same season.
Diggins became the first Notre Dame player to make the first team since Ruth Riley did it in consecutive years in 2000 and 2001.
“I’d love to be the floor general for that team,” Diggins said. “I’d probably average 20 assists. I can tell you right now, we’d be undefeated, we’d win every game by double digits.”
Delle Donne carried Delaware to unprecedented heights this season.
Now she’s the school’s initial first team All-American.
Thomas guided Maryland to the ACC tournament championship and was the conference’s player of the year as a sophomore. She also has helped the Terrapins reach the NCAA tournament regional final.
Joining Chiney Ogwumike on the second team were Baylor sophomore Odyssey Sims, Miami senior Shenise Johnnson, Ohio State senior Samantha Prahalis and Wisconsin-Green Bay senior Julie Wojta.
The preseason All-America team was Griner, Diggins, Ogwumike, Johnson and Stricklen.