Griner’s Coach Baffled Over No Sellout Crowd For Her WNBA Return

FILE - Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots over Indiana Fever forward Teaira McCowan (15) in the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 6, 2021. The United States stepped up its push Friday, March 18, 2022, for consular access to Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who is detained in Russia on allegations of drug smuggling, as a member of a Russian state-backed prison monitoring group said Griner was faring well behind bars. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
  • Phoenix Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard expressed disappointment Saturday night after star Brittney Griner’s return to the WBNA play, after being jailed last year in Russia on a drug conviction, expressed disappointment that the road game in Los Angeles’ Arena didn’t bring a sellout crowd.
  • “It was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG?” she said. “I expected more, you know, to be honest. Right? It was great, it was loud. But how was it not a sellout? How was it not a sellout?”
  • Griner had 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks and two assists in Phoenix’s 94-71 loss.
  • The former U.S. olympian returned to the court for the first time since  2021. She returned to the U.S. in December 2022 as part of a prisoner swap for arms dealer Viktor Bout.
  • In 2020, Griner said she didn’t think the anthem should be played during the WNBA season and that would not be on the court for the anthem if it were to continue to be played before games.