The Women’s Final Four basketball tournament comes to Denver this weekend, bringing tens of thousands of fans and generating millions in economic impact. As CPR’s Zachary Barr reports, the event is drawing extra attention this spring because of a very big star. 

Griner up in front of everybody! Two handed flush from Brittney Griner, swinging on the rim!

Zachary Barr: Brittney Griner has been slamming her way through the women’s NCAA basketball tournament. The six foot eight center is one of the first women to dunk in a tournament game. And her team, the Baylor Lady Bears, is undefeated going into this weekend: 38 and 0

Sue Baldwin: The fact that Baylor’s in the women’s Final Four is very fortuitous for Denver. 

That’s Sue Baldwin. She leads the Metro Denver Sports Commission, which brought this event to Colorado. Baldwin says Griner’s attracting a lot of attention, and a lot of Baylor fans to this year’s Final Four, which is good for Denver. 

Baldwin: The total economic impact is projected at about 20 million dollars for the city for this weekend. It’s an inbound tourism event, where you’ll have up to 30,000 visitors that will descend upon Denver really starting Thursday and Friday of this week.

Joining Baylor to compete for the national championship are Stanford, Notre Dame and Connecticut. Good seats for the games cost more than $250 a piece, so if that’s too steep, Sue Baldwin says you may want to check out a free event on Saturday. 

Baldwin: You get to go and watch the open practices of all four team, which is amazing because you get to see what they go through on a practice. They have autograph session with the teams, battle of the  bands, and then you’ll have the high school All American game.

Whether you attend that free event, the games themselves, or watch on TV or online -- you don’t want to miss the chance to see Brittney Griner, says ESPN basketball analyst Carolyn Peck. 

Carolyn Peck: She’s the most dominating presence in women’s basketball. 

Peck is a former top player and coach. I asked to explain why Brittney Griner is so good:

<click listen link above for interview with Carolyn Peck>


[photo: Baylor University]