Penny Taylor calls for Brittney Griner’s release at Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame presentation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Penny Taylor used her introduction to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to call for her ex’s release. Phoenix Mercury teammate Brittney Grinernote that it has been 114 days since the seven-time WNBA All-Star team was detained in Russia.

“BG is our family,” Taylor said Saturday when asking for President Joe Biden’s help to free Griner. “She’s yours too. The entire global sports community needs to come together to assert that she’s the priority.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been detained since February 17, after a vape box containing cannabis oil was allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow. .

Taylor, 41, also wished his wife, Diana Taurasihappy 40th birthday after playing Friday night in a win over Mercury, then traveled to Tennessee to escort her to the rollout.

Taylor helped Australia win Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008. She also won the WNBA title in 2007, 2009 and 2014 and was an All-Star three times.

“If you keep working hard, you might as well be up here,” Taylor told Taurasi.

DeLisha Milton-Jones finished his acceptance speech, calling to take Griner home.

DePaul’s coach Doug Bruno noted that Griner played a big part in the US Basketball’s Olympic success.

“Brittney is a wonderful human being,” said Bruno. “No one deserves what Britney has to go through. More than enough is absolute enough. Time for authority to bring Brittney home.”

Other referred people include Becky Hammon; Debbie Antonelli; Wayland Baptist star Alice “Cookie” Barron, as a veteran player; Paul Sandersford, who coached Western Kentucky to three Finals; and coach Bob Schneider, who is third of all time with 634 Division II championships.

The hall also honored Title IX as the recipient of the “Leader of the Game” award at its 50th anniversary celebration. Barron — who flew to games from 1954 to 1957 with the Flying Queens, literally flying to far games while the men traveled by bus — urged people to listen.

“I would urge all of us to keep a close eye on Title IX,” Barron said. “The doors are open. We must never let them close.”

Milton-Jones, currently head coach at Old Dominionslimited her four-year career to Florida as player of the year at the 1997 Southeast Conference and all-around American. She led the Gators to four consecutive NCAA tournament stops, including an Elite Eight appearance in 1997.

The fourth overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft played 17 seasons in the league. When Milton-Jones retired in 2016, she held the league record for most games played with 499 for Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Washington and San Antonio. She helped Spark won consecutive WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002.

Milton-Jones also helped the US win Olympic gold in 2000 and 2008, missed the 2004 Athens Olympics due to injury. She has played in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Korea, Czech Republic and Russia. In 2005, she was the interim coach of the Los Angeles Stars in the American Basketball Association, becoming the second woman to coach a men’s professional team.

Her family sewed t-shirts and visors to help her remember the moment, and Milton-Jones said it helped put her hometown of Riceboro, Georgia on the map.

Hammon couldn’t attend, given her WNBA lead Las Vegas Aces against the Sparks on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Bruno coached 36 seasons at DePaul with 24 NCAA stops. He also helped win six gold medals with USA Basketball.

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