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Article updated: 3/29/2013 8:20 PM

Griner would be slam dunk for Sky

By Patricia Babcock

Is it possible that the Phoenix Mercury will have a ginormous brain cramp on draft day, which is April 15? Do you think that maybe having to file its taxes on time will be enough of a distraction?

Come on, Chicago. We need to find a way before WNBA draft day to cross up the Mercury, which edged out the Chicago Sky last fall and received the No. 1 pick in the WNBA's draft lottery.

The Sky will have the No. 2 pick on draft day, which means that unless the Mercury falls asleep at the wheel or pulls a Portland and goes for Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan, Phoenix will end up with Baylor 6-foot-8 superstar center Brittney Griner. And the Sky will not.

Sure, the Sky will get a very, very good player at No. 2. It'll be either Delaware 6-foot-5 forward Elena Delle Donne or Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins. (My bet, by the way, is on Delle Donne.) Both are all-Americans, both are special, both will be difference-makers in the WNBA. But neither are Griner, darn it.

I admit it. I have a bad case of Griner-itis, and it has gotten worse during the NCAA tournament as she puts up one game-of-a-lifetime after another. (I'm expecting nothing less, of course, when Griner and the defending national champion Bears take on Louisville on Sunday in a Sweet 16 game in Oklahoma City.)

Griner-itis, in case you weren't aware, involves depression-like symptoms caused by visions of Griner in anything but a Sky uniform this summer.

I thought I would be OK with Griner going to Phoenix. But I realize now that it's really going to gnaw at me, having watched her most recent games and knowing how close the Sky was to getting her.

I really, really, really want Griner to play in Chicago alongside all-star center Sylvia Fowles. Not in Phoenix.

Griner has always impressed me, of course. I mean, what hasn't been to like about her entire college career. From her first day on campus at Baylor, Griner, has been a slam-dunking, shot-blocking force of nature that has single-handedly shifted the balance of power in women's college basketball. She's scored more than 3,000 career points (3,269) and is the NCAA's all-time leading shot-blocker.

But I have been wowed by her more so than usual during this year's NCAA tournament.

Griner is playing with such ease and grace right now. And her normal physical prowess seems to be magnified a couple ten-fold. Griner looks faster than normal as she gallops up and down the court. She almost floats when she jumps. She dunks these days like it's an afterthought.

Against Florida State on Tuesday, Griner threw down three dunks in the post that any guy her age would be proud of. She now has 18 dunks in her college career, 11 of which have come this season.

I know the dunk isn't the be all, end all, but it does get people excited, and women's basketball needs that kind of excitement.

Women's basketball needs Brittney Griner. The WNBA needs Brittney Griner. She will get people excited to watch WNBA games this summer.

It's just too bad that the majority of the time that won't happen in Chicago.

Rats. So close.


Think, Chicago, think. How can we get the Phoenix Mercury to drop the ball? Send me your ideas. It's not too late. Right?


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