Brittney Griner is back on the floor and producing like a seven-time All-Star, but it hasn’t prevented the Phoenix Mercury from losing their first two games of the season.
Griner and the Mercury will attempt to get in the victory column when they host the Minnesota Lynx, also 0-2, on Thursday night.
Griner averaged 22.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in her first two games after spending nearly 10 months in a Russian prison and missing last season.
She looked in top form in Sunday’s 75-69 loss to the Chicago Sky by contributing 27 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. She also was bombarded with emotions while being greeted warmly in her first home game since the 2021 season.
“It was really good,” Griner said afterward. “Part of the process of healing is just kind of letting it out. So, yeah, I got choked up a little bit.”
Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard is amazed with how Griner is dealing with everything after her well-publicized ordeal.
“I just continue to be impressed with B.G.,” Nygaard said. “B.G. is somebody that can handle so many things, clearly, that many people could not handle. So, I was just really happy to have her back on the court and just to feel the love from all of our fans.”
Griner has made 16 of 22 field-goal attempts in two games, but 10-time All-Star Diana Taurasi is just 9-of-32 shooting, including 3 of 18 from long range. Taurasi, who turns 41 next month, is averaging 15.5 points.
Minnesota opens a three-game road trip after dropping an 83-77 home decision to the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday.
The Lynx led by 19 points in the third quarter before Atlanta rallied and recorded the victory.
“We should have won this game,” Minnesota star forward Napheesa Collier said. “They saw we were struggling and took advantage of that. … We’re losing games instead of having the other teams beat us.”
Collier, a two-time All-Star, is averaging 18.5 points. She played in just four games last season due to giving birth to her daughter.
“I think with each game I feel a lot better getting back into that rhythm,” Collier said. “The game is really fast and I haven’t played in a long time. With each game, I feel like I’ve been more comfortable.”
Diamond Miller, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, is just 6-of-19 shooting while averaging 8.5 points.
–Field Level Media
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