Baylor women’s basketball retires Brittney Griner’s jersey

Feb 18, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm

Former Baylor Bears player Brittney Griner reacts during ceremony to retire her jersey before the g...

Former Baylor Bears player Brittney Griner reacts during ceremony to retire her jersey before the game between the Baylor Bears and the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Foster Pavilion on February 18, 2024 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Baylor women’s basketball retired long-time Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner’s No. 42 ahead of Sunday’s game against Texas Tech.

A tribute video showing Griner highlights played on the jumbotron at Foster Pavillion before Griner’s jersey was sent up into the rafters. Sunday marked the first occasion Griner attended a Baylor home game since finishing her college career in 2013.

In January, Baylor announced it would honor Griner by retiring her jersey. Former Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said a player needed to have graduated in order to have her jersey retired. After Griner got her degree in 2019, Baylor coach Nicki Collen said she wanted to have Griner’s jersey retired when she became head coach in 2021, but Griner’s 11-month Russian detainment delayed proceedings.

In 2012 during her junior season, Griner led the Bears to a 40-0 record en route to winning the NCAA Championship. She went on to be named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player and the AP Player of the Year. Griner averaged 23.2 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game. Her 206 blocks were more than any other Division I women’s team that season.

She ended her college career with 3,283 points, 1,305 rebounds and 748 blocks (an NCAA record) over 148 games played. Over four seasons at Baylor, the Bears posted a 135-15 record.

The Mercury selected her with the first overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft. A nine-time All-Star, she went on to win a WNBA championship in 2014 and has spent her entire career in Phoenix. As a member of the Mercury, she is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-WNBA six times.

Before Sunday’s game, each fan in attendance at Foster Pavillion received a free Griner T-shirt.

During halftime, Baylor students took part in a contest to dunk like Griner before the center came onto the court herself and dunked.

Collen was sporting a custom-made blazer during Baylor’s 61-32 win over Texas Tech.

Griner is the seventh Baylor player to have her jersey retired after Odyssey Sims, Melissa Jones, Nina Davis, Suzie Snider Eppers, Shelia Lambert and Sophia Young. Griner is a free agent but said in September, “Come on now, Phoenix is home. This is where I’ve been. Me and my wife literally just got a place. This is it.”

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