- Michelle Smith, Contributor, espnW.com
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Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw issued a statement Tuesday night, clarifying comments she made about Baylor center Brittney Griner in her postgame news conference following the Fighting Irish's 80-61 loss in the national title game.
McGraw was asked by a newspaper reporter whether she has ever seen a player who can impact the game down low as Griner does.
She responded, "No, I think she's one of a kind. I think she's like a guy playing with women.
"It's just there's so many things she can do that I've not seen a lot of women -- well, really, you know, there's been some guards that had some skill like that. But as a post player, she's the best I've ever seen."
Griner was later asked in the media session whether she considered McGraw's comments, which were aired on ESPN, a compliment. "Definitely, I take it as a compliment," Griner said amid pauses. "Take it as a compliment."
Less than an hour later, McGraw issued a statement through team sports information director Chris Masters.
"I am disappointed that ESPN would so clearly take my comment about Brittney out of context," the statement read. "I would hope that it was clear to those in attendance at Tuesday's press conference that my comments were meant to be complimentary, and in reference to her style of play and her dominance in our game, nothing more. Any attempt by others to read anything more into that comment is wrong, malicious and incredibly insulting to Brittney, Kim [Mulkey] and the Baylor women's basketball program, and it's a poor attempt by some to try and take away from what was a well-played national championship game. I have held, and continue to hold Brittney and the Baylor women's basketball in the highest regard and I congratulate them on winning the title this evening."
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz issued a statement in response to McGraw's criticism on Wednesday.
"We aired Coach McGraw's comments from the post-game press conference in proper context," Krulewitz said. "Many outlets were present and reported the story. Most importantly, none of this should take away from the tremendous seasons by Notre Dame and Baylor or the incredible championship performance by Brittney Griner."
18dBonnie D. Ford