World

Brittney Griner recognized for WNBA’s moment of silence

UNCASVILLE, Conn. –

After Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia on Thursday, WNBA players, coaches and fans locked hands and tried to send strength to the American basketball star in a moment of silence.

Before the Connecticut Sun beat the Phoenix Mercury 77-64, players from both teams met at halftime and bowed in silence for 42 seconds – a nod to Griner’s shirt number to Mercury.

“Nobody wants to play even today,” said Phoenix guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who scored 16 points to lead Mercury. “How can you approach the match and the court with a clear mind? The whole team is crying before the game. You try to honor her and still play hard for her. No matter what she has. here or not. For now, we still have to try and keep her spirit alive. Let’s honor her spirit.”

Mercury watched the verdict together in the morning just before the team’s penalty shootout.

“I mean, it’s like you’re waiting for a bomb to drop when you watch it and see her behind bars,” said Mercury guardian Diamond DeShields.

Diggins added that it was “a feeling of helplessness. It was heavy.”

“Obviously, it’s incredibly destructive,” DeShields said. “You can’t say anything else but that. Personally, I know, I’m really proud to be part of this group and the way they perform, come out and play. We approached tonight’s game with a heavy heart. have every game this season.”

Sun coach Curt Miller wears a “WE ARE BG” t-shirt.

Griner, a two-time US Olympic champion and eight-time WNBA star, was found guilty of drug possession and trafficking by judge Anna Sotnikova.

She was sentenced to nearly a decade in a political case that could lead to a high-priced prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow.

Griner showed little emotion over the verdict, but her lawyers later said she was “very upset, very stressed.”

US President Joe Biden condemned the verdict and the sentence as “unacceptable”, which comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine. Griner told the court she had no intention of breaking the law by carrying a vape canister with cannabis oil when she flew to Moscow to play basketball in the city of Yekaterinburg during the WNBA.

While her short-sleeved WNBA team played without her on the road, Jonquel Jones had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Brionna Jones added 13 points and 9 rebounds for Sun.

Phoenix (13-19) is also without Diana Taurasi, who is out of action with a leg injury, for the first time this season.

Courtney Williams scored 11 points and Alyssa Thomas had nine points, 13 rebounds and six assists for Connecticut (22-10). The Sun also beat Phoenix 87-63 on Tuesday.

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