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ATLANTA - Baylor University's Brittney Griner is the 2011 WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced today.

The WBCA Defensive Player of the Year award honors the best defensive collegiate Division I women's basketball player. All Division I Conference Defensive Player's of the Year are eligible to be nominated for the award and the selection committee makes the final decision on the winner. If a conference does not select a defensive player of the year, the conference representative can select one player to be considered.

"It is a pleasure and honor for me to congratulate Brittney Griner on being named the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Defense wins championships, and clearly Brittney's defensive abilities have helped Baylor win a Big 12 Championship and have it on the cusp of a berth in the NCAA® Women's Final Four®."

Griner, coming off a career-high 40-point performance against Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Dallas Regional Semifinals, leads the Lady Bears (34-2) into the Dallas Regional Final tonight against Big12 Conference rival Texas A&M. The 6-foot-8 sophomore center is averaging a team-leading 23.1 points and 7.8 rebounds a game this season. In addition, she has blocked a nation-best 168 shots (an average of 4.7 blocks per game). Her career total currently stands at 391 blocked shots.

Griner's presence in the paint and her ability to block shots has forced opponents to take an increased number of 3-point shots since her arrival. In 2008-09, the season before Griner arrived at Baylor, BU opponents took 570 shots from beyond the arc. In 2009-10, Griner's freshman season, opponents attempted 740 3-pointers. They have taken 733 3-point shots so far this season.

Griner was recently named Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Championship, All-Big 12 first team, Big 12 Player of the Year, Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and to the league's All-Defensive team. In addition, she is a finalist for the State Farm® Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy.

The Houston, Texas, native is undecided on a major.

Griner will be formally recognized during the WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 6 p.m. EDT Monday, April 4, in the Indiana Convention Center's Sagamore Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®.

About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game in all of its aspects as a sport for women and girls. For more information about the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.