Baylor's Brittney Griner "a generation changer"

Brittney Griner in April, 2012 Getty Images

(CBS News) What a year for Baylor University.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III won the Heisman Trophy and the women's basketball team has done what no NCAA team - male or female - has ever done before. They won 40 games in one season, including the national championship last night.

CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports that's thanks in large measure to a player who is in a league of her own.

In a state where football is king, there's a new queen. Baylor's Lady Bears returned home to Waco Wednesday afternoon, led by their center and MVP: Brittney Griner. She's considered by many to be the best women's college basketball player ever.

"This is what our team wanted, and this is what we promised coach when we got here. It had nothing to with validating what kind of player I am," Griner said.

Forget the modesty. The 6-foot, 8-inch junior with the 7-foot arm span has been a basketball phenom since high school in Houston.

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"I hope I can live up to everyone's expectations. I know that's one of my goals," Griner said.

She became a YouTube sensation for her dunks, and throwing a punch in a game against Texas Tech.

"She plays like a man. And that's a compliment. That's not a slap in the face to women," said former WNBA player and coach Nancy Lieberman, a Basketball Hall of Famer and Baylor fan. "She's a generation changer, because she's doing things that nobody has ever done in our game."

At Baylor and beyond, Griner and her team have cast a spell on fans who never considered following women's basketball.

Dave Campbell is a Texas sports legend. The Waco sportswriter has his own room in the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.

"Watching that team last night was just, just an unforgettable experience," Campbell said. "They given me a life time of thrills."

And the thrills are likely to continue. Griner and all but one of Baylor's championship team are underclassmen, so they'll all be on the court next year hoping to somehow improve.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.

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