Brittney Griner highlights reveal how she has become one of the most dominant players in basketball history. So today, we’re going to rank her top career highlights, and break down each move step by step, revealing just how she works her magic. It’s not just her 6’8″ size that makes her so dominant!
Brittney has achieved every award and accomplishment imaginable in her eight-year (and counting!) WNBA career. Including WNBA champion (2014) and back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year (2014/15). She’s also made six WNBA All-Star appearances, and has spent four seasons in the top ten for field goals, foul shots, and defensive rebounds. She’s also a walking block party, having led the WNBA in blocks for seven straight seasons from 2013-2019.
So check out some of our favorite moments, spanning across her WNBA career, her overseas play, her college years, and USA basketball appearances. Brittney’s career highlights are ranked here in order and demonstrate what makes her such a special player offensively, defensively, and an advocate for social justice off the court. Let’s dig into some of the greatest plays in women’s basketball history!
Get ready for some slam dunks, epic blocks, and championship moments. Here some of the most memorable moments in Brittney’s career so far. Each highlight features a video, as well as a breakdown into exactly how Brittney is able to dominate on the court.
When we think of highlights from a player’s career we usually think of the offensive side of the ball. However, defense matters just as much if not more. Brittney has always been just as much of a defensive force as she is an offensive force. She’s led the WNBA in blocks seven years straight and has won two back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2014 and 2015.
Her blocks are a demonstration of her defensive genius and phenomenal athletic ability. At 6 feet 9 inches, Brittney is the currently the tallest WNBA player. And she uses her height masterfully to protect the rim. Here is a monstrous block from Brittney on an inbound play from her 2014 DPOTY season.
Lindsay Whalen receives an inbound pass and drives towards the basket. Brittney greets her with her right foot planted, leading Lindsay towards the basket, closing off the option to change direction.
Lindsay goes under the basket for a layup, treating the rim like an extra defender. Brittney takes an extra step to close out, staying planted on the ground, with her arms up and her body straight.
At the last second she pushes off both feet, still keeping her body straight up in order to avoid fouling, and contests the shot – knocking it off the court.
Representing your country at the Olympics is one of the greatest honors an athlete could have. In 2016 Brittney was able to do just that. She played for USA Basketball in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The USA Women’s team is about as dominant as one can be. They have won six straight Olympic Gold Medals and are currently one away from tying the Men’s record of seven gold medals in a row.
Brittney started in the gold medal match, scoring 4 points and grabbing 7 rebounds in 13 minutes of play. Being on such a talented team and earning a gold medal is absolutely a highlight of any career. Here is a great team play that led to a Brittney Griner and-one play.
The trip down the court begins with Sue Bird and Brittney on the same side of the court. Brittney fronts her man, but doesn’t have the arm up – so she’s not calling for the ball. There’s not really a good look, so Sue reverses the ball to the other side. As it swings around the three, Brittney runs her defender towards that side on the block.
Sylvia Fowles sets a pick, while Brittney sprints back to the other side of the court to clear space. She’s tiring her defender out!
Both defenders stay with Maya Moore, so she passes to Sylvia. Sylvia receives the pass while Brittney’s defender helps. Brittney keeps her arms up above her head providing a target for Sylvia, who immediately passes to an open Brittney.
Brittney wisely keeps the ball above her head when she catches it, going straight up to make the bucket. She’s also fouled by a defender from behind, so it’s a good thing she uses the backboard and plays through the contact.
Brittney isn’t just a WNBA Champion, she’s also a EuroLeague champion. With UMMC she won the EuroLeague title three times. She’s been a starting Center for UMMC since 2014.
UMMC is arguably the greatest women’s team currently playing. Their team is absolutely stacked with WNBA and European talent and is virtually unbeatable. Brittney is a large reason why the team has had domestic and international success.
Here is a great example of Brittney fighting for a rebound and playing through contact to make a basket in EuroLeague competition.
Evgeniia Beliakova shoots a three, while Brittney fights for position under the basket. Since it’s a corner shot, Brittney knows it’s likely to fly off the back of the rim.
At first she tips it, just to keep it out of reach of the other players because she didn’t box out and clear the area. Then, she grabs the board, and to secure it she actually brings it down low, because she knows she has an equally tall big behind her just waiting to punch it out.
Then she extends and puts the shot up, using the backboard, anticipating the contact, and scores. Notice how she shoves the defender in the gut with her left arm to create a little space to go up.
Dunking is a constant talking point for women’s basketball. Some care about WNBA dunking a lot and some, not so much. Regardless of how you feel about the dunk it is still a rare and exciting play. It hasn’t been a rare play in Brittney’s career though. As she has been dunking in games since college and doing so with ease.
Her WNBA debut was nothing short of historic. She had the WNBA and the sports world captivated to see if her NCAA dominance would translate to the WNBA. In her debut game she scored 17 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dunked twice. Here is a video of that iconic debut and her first WNBA dunk.
Brittney sets a screen and plants her legs wide taking up as much space as possible. Even though Charde Houston doesn’t hit the screen as well as she could, this move by Brittney effectively takes the defender out of the play.
All of the Chicago Sky players collapse on Charde Houston, leaving Brittney wide open. Brittney rolls off the pick through the lane, and keeps her arms up as a target, should her teammate need her.
Brittney receives the ball and gets ready to take flight. Notice Charde holding back the nearest defender. Brittney dunks with power and ease, seizing the opportunity to send a message.
Brittney had a lot of historic NCAA performances and her 50-point night against Kansas State was one for the history books. She was dominant in every way. She shot 21-28 from the field, had two rebounds, two assists, and her first home game dunk. Below you can watch the historic dunk along with some highlights from the game.
First, Brittney gets in position, with the defense on her back. She puts her arm up to call for the ball. In this case, Brittney gets the ball in the post and has an obvious mis-match.
She feels for the defender’s elbow, and spins that way. She is spinning towards the baseline which can sometimes be a dead end, but since she has the defender beat on size it’s an OK bet to place. Her spin is fast enough, that she leaves the defender in the dust.
Then she brings it home with a dunk at home for the first time! This was the best shot because of the angle she had. There really wasn’t an opportunity to use the backboard.
Brittney Griner’s career and national spotlight really began to shine in college. She was a Big 12 player of the year three times in a row, Big 12 leader in blocks, and, in 2012, went undefeated all season going 40-0 and winning the NCAA title. It’s hard to truly grasp how dominant these Baylor Bears were, you just have to see it to believe it.
The Baylor Bears were able to easily beat Notre Dame in the NCAA title game 80-61. Brittney led her team with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Her dominance was on full display and was a representation of her dominance as a college athlete.
Brittney gains position, planting her feet. And asks for the ball with her right arm. Notice how she doesn’t let the defender push her too far up out of the paint.
She catches the ball and feels two defenders on her. Then she spins, pushing off on the defender closest to her sending her away.
She takes only one dribble towards the basket. Then cuts back up and under and dunks over the incoming defender, extending Baylor’s lead.
Brittney has been an absolutely dominant player on both sides of the floor. In 2017, she took her offense to another level and became the scoring champ. With her intelligence, speed, and strength, Brittney was always a tough player to defend. In 2017 she was virtually impossible to defend. Check out this highlight from her career high, 38 point game during her 2017 campaign.
Brittney is wide open and on the inside of her defender, close to the basket. So she smartly puts up her arm calling for the ball. Her teammate reads the opening and sends the ball in.
Brittney catches the ball with two hands, securing it and brings it down. As she’s immediately greeted by a double team. This is no easy thing to deal with – and is instantly mentally and physically overwhelming. But Brittney handles it like a seasoned pro.
She reads that her defenders are overcommitted. So she spins right, opening up towards the basket, and gets the easy bucket off the backboard, scoring two of her career-high 38 points.
So far we’ve only discussed Brittney’s play on the court. Yet one could make the argument that the things she’s spoken about and stood up for might be her biggest contributions to society – and thus her biggest highlights. Her ability to stand up for herself and for others who cannot has been inspiring.
She did just that on February 11, 2013 when she came out as lesbian during an interview. She did this unprompted, unapologetically, and during the height of her hype as a rising star in the sports world. 2013 might not seem long ago, but the world was even less welcoming than it is today and talking openly about such things was still a rarity.
Thanks to people like Brittney Griner sharing their story the WNBA has become more welcoming and inclusive to all people. Here is her speech at the Glaad Awards where she talks about coming out.
When Breonna Taylor was murdered by police while sleeping in her home, Brittney spoke out about it. In the past few years police brutality and racial injustice have been at the forefront of America’s mind. The work Brittney has done in this aspect of her life cannot be understated.
“We don’t get asked enough what’s going on in our communities, and I think that’s a shame,” Brittney Griner, a six-time All-Star, told The Undefeated. “Yeah, we’re here to play basketball. But basketball doesn’t mean anything in a world where we can’t just live. We can’t wake up and do whatever we want to do. Go for a run, go to the store to buy some candy, drive your car without the fear of being wrongfully pulled over.”
“I just want to challenge everybody to do more. Write the story that might be tough. Take a chance. Ask a question that’s tough. Don’t let it be silent.”
She elaborated further on what it meant for her to wear Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of her jersey during the season, “I remember they asked if we wanted it to be a one-time game thing or a whole season, and I was like, I’m wearing mine on the back of my jersey the whole season. Every step I take, every time there is a camera on my back – someone who is living under a rock who doesn’t see or doesn’t know they’re going to see it, they’re going to Google it, they’re going to look into it.”
Here is a video of WNBA players speaking out on the death of Breonna Taylor and discussing the social justice movement as a whole.
So far, we’ve gone through virtually every significant accomplishment Brittney has accomplished in her career. Except for the biggest one: becoming a WNBA champion. In 2014 she did just that with the Phoenix Mercury, beating the Chicago Sky in a three game sweep.
Brittney had a dominant performance in game two leading her team with 19 points 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Unfortunately, this performance caused her an eye injury, a chipped tooth, and a bloody lip. She ended up missing game three and had to watch her team win it all from the bench. Despite missing the last game, her contribution and impact can’t be ignored. Here is a video of that great game two performance Brittney had.
Brittney gets the ball in the post. She reads the defender’s elbow is on the left side of her back. So she stunts to her right, with a little show and go action to throw her off.
But the defender is lunch money! Brittney reverses, hitting her with a quick spin to the left. She pushes off her defender with her left arm and takes one dribble to the basket.
She gets inside the defender and the basket, planting her left leg and rises, using the backboard to ensure the shot goes in, even through contact. The defense tries to contest, but ultimately they’re out of position.
That’s it! Now you know the top ten highlights in Brittney Griner’s career. We hope you enjoyed looking back at some of the most memorable moments.
Up next, check out our deep dive into Natasha Howard’s ability as a lockdown defender.
Don’t let WNBA stories go untold. Would you be willing to send a $5 tip to our Venmo tip jar because it helps support our reporting? @megsterr.
Or our Paypal: