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Griner blossoming in WNBA after rough 1st year

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By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX (AP) - After a tough first season in the WNBA, Brittney Griner is blossoming into the player everyone thought she would be, all the while embracing her status as a role model for gays.

Last season, Griner was in the spotlight after leaving Baylor, coming out and writing a candid memoir "In My Skin" that was critical of her college coach Kim Mulkey.

Griner says the book wasn't really a distraction, but the media attention "was crazy."

After playing in China during the WNBA offseason, Griner returned to the Phoenix Mercury stronger and more confident. As her Mercury teammate Diana Taurasi says, "She's a totally different player."

The 6-foot-8 Griner had her second dunk of the season in a win on Tuesday night, when Phoenix improved to a league-leading 17-3 record.

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