Brittney Griner deserved more from Los Angeles fans on WNBA return, says her coach


Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard slammed Los Angeles fans for failing to sell out Arena in Brittney Griner’s first WNBA game since her release from Russian custody. (Check out the video below.)

Griner and the Mercury made their season debut away against the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday in front of 10,396 fans – slightly more than half the capacitybut well above the visitor average of 2022 from about 5,700 in WNBA games. Vice President Kamala Harris was there to greet the star, and the crowd gave Griner a rousing ovation.

“I mean it was great. But honestly, come on LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG? To be honest I expected more. Right, it was great, it was loud. But why didn’t it sell out? How come it wasn’t a sellout?” Nygaard said after the Mercury lost to the Sparks 94-71.

Griner, a six-time All-Star The 2014 WNBA championship winner with the Mercury amassed 18 points and six rebounds in her first regular-season outing since her nearly 10-month incarceration in Russia. She was released in December in a high-profile prisoner swap after being arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2022. Russian officials said their luggage contained e-cigarette cartridges containing cannabis oil.

Griner scored 27 points in a Mercury home loss to Chicago on Sunday. A lot 14,040 people were present. said Nygaard she had “burst into tears” at the reception for Griner’s first game at Phoenix’s Footprint Center since October 2021.

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