Brittney Griner: Team USA gamers ‘honor’ teammate at FIBA Women’s World Cup


Team USA’s 87-72 opening sport victory over Belgium on the Ladies’s Basketball World Cup was overshadowed by the absence of ahead Brittney Griner, who has been sentenced to 9 years in Russian jail for possessing hashish oil.

The USA’s gamers honored their buddy and teammate by electing to not put on her No. 15 shirt. Historically, Team USA wears the numbers 4 to fifteen however as an alternative is remembering a participant who has been such an enormous a part of the nationwide facet since her first involvement in 2013.

“She’s on our minds daily, and we’ll honor her,” US head coach Cheryl Reeve instructed ESPN. “No one will wear 15. So just finding ways to continue to make sure she knows that she’s being thought of and our players are thinking of her daily.”

Griner has been central to the US group’s dominance within the sport. The 2013 WNBA No. 1 draft choose has helped the US win two Olympic gold medals and two gold medals on the World Cup.

“She’s a big part of our sisterhood,” Griner’s Olympic teammate Jewell Lloyd mentioned. “Getting to know her over the past couple years has been great. She has been nothing but amazing to me and my family. And it’s just heart-breaking to know that she’s still over there and she’s not here.”

The match begin comes per week after Griner’s spouse, Cherelle Griner, met with US President Joe Biden to plead her spouse’s case because the US negotiates the discharge of the WNBA star and former US Marine Paul Whelan.

Griner was detained in February for carrying vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her baggage and pleaded responsible to drug prices, saying she by chance packed the medicine in a rush. Her authorized group in Russia has appealed the nine-year sentence.

Griner’s teammates and different WNBA gamers have additionally proven solidarity with the eight-time All-Star by boycotting enjoying in Russia throughout the offseason.

Many WNBA gamers complement their salaries within the offseason by signing with European groups, together with Russian groups that reportedly pay upwards of $1 million per season – way more cash than the gamers would make by staying within the US.

WNBA players so far have signed for clubs in Turkey, Italy, Hungary but have avoided Russian teams.

However this winter, gamers are refusing to signal with Russian groups, as an alternative opting to play for different golf equipment throughout Europe.

Breanna Stewart, who has performed with Griner each for the nationwide group and on the identical Russian membership group, Yekaterinburg, admitted that it was not a simple choice.

“Honestly, my time in Russia has been wonderful, but especially with BG still wrongfully detained there, nobody’s going to go there until she’s home,” the Seattle Storm energy ahead mentioned. “I feel we’re going to proceed to talk out, to proceed to amplify her title, put stress as a lot as we will on the White Home.

“It was superb that Cherelle was in a position to meet with President Biden, and hopefully, that signifies that issues are persevering with to maneuver ahead with getting her residence.

“But I think the best way to represent her and honor her is going and winning the gold medal.”