Team USA’s 87-72 opening crippled triumph implicit Belgium astatine the Women’s Basketball World Cup was overshadowed by the lack of guardant Brittney Griner, who has been sentenced to 9 years successful Russian jail for possessing cannabis oil.
The USA’s players honored their person and teammate by electing to not deterioration her No. 15 shirt. Traditionally, Team USA wears the numbers 4 to 15 but alternatively is remembering a subordinate who has been specified a large portion of the nationalist broadside since her archetypal engagement successful 2013.
“She’s connected our minds daily, and we’ll grant her,” US caput manager Cheryl Reeve told ESPN. “No 1 volition deterioration 15. So conscionable uncovering ways to proceed to marque definite she knows that she’s being thought of and our players are reasoning of her daily.”
Griner has been cardinal to the US team’s dominance successful the sport. The 2013 WNBA No. 1 draught prime has helped the US triumph 2 Olympic golden medals and 2 golden medals astatine the World Cup.
“She’s a large portion of our sisterhood,” Griner’s Olympic teammate Jewell Lloyd said. “Getting to cognize her implicit the past mates years has been great. She has been thing but astonishing to maine and my family. And it’s conscionable heart-breaking to cognize that she’s inactive implicit determination and she’s not here.”
The tourney commencement comes a week aft Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, met with US President Joe Biden to plead her wife’s lawsuit arsenic the US negotiates the merchandise of the WNBA prima and erstwhile US Marine Paul Whelan.
Griner was detained successful February for carrying vape cartridges containing cannabis lipid successful her luggage and pleaded blameworthy to cause charges, saying she accidentally packed the drugs successful a hurry. Her ineligible squad successful Russia has appealed the nine-year sentence.
Griner’s teammates and different WNBA players person besides shown solidarity with the eight-time All-Star by boycotting playing successful Russia during the offseason.
Many WNBA players supplement their salaries successful the offseason by signing with European teams, including Russian teams that reportedly wage upwards of $1 cardinal per play – overmuch much wealth than the players would marque by staying successful the US.
But this winter, players are refusing to motion with Russian teams, alternatively opting to play for different clubs crossed Europe.
Breanna Stewart, who has played with Griner some for the nationalist squad and connected the aforesaid Russian nine team, Yekaterinburg, admitted that it was not an casual decision.
“Honestly, my clip successful Russia has been wonderful, but particularly with BG inactive wrongfully detained there, nobody’s going to spell determination until she’s home,” the Seattle Storm powerfulness guardant said. “I deliberation we’re going to proceed to talk out, to proceed to amplify her name, enactment unit arsenic overmuch arsenic we tin connected the White House.
“It was astonishing that Cherelle was capable to conscionable with President Biden, and hopefully, that means that things are continuing to determination guardant with getting her home.
“But I deliberation the champion mode to correspond her and grant her is going and winning the golden medal.”