PHOENIX — WNBA star Brittney Griner‘s 10-month imprisonment in Russia on drug charges came to an end on Thursday, spreading relief and joy across the sports world and beyond.
On the court, Griner was a dominant force in leading Baylor to the 2012 NCAA championship, then went onto stardom as a lanky anchor for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and as a two-time Olympic gold medalist with Team USA.
The 6-foot-9 center is known for her ability to dunk, once a rarity in the women’s game. Griner holds the NCAA record with 18 dunks and has 13 since joining the WNBA in 2014. She has five more in WNBA All-Star Games.
Defensively, she‘s arguably the best women’s player ever.
Griner‘s ability to block shots and her agility on the court helped her win the WNBA defensive player of the year in consecutive seasons (2014-15) and earned her a spot on the WNBA’s all-defensive team six times - three each on first and second teams.
The combination of skills has earned Griner six WNBA All-Star Game appearances. She didn’t play in 2017 due to injury, and the games in 2016 and 2020 were not played.
Griner was a key part of the Mercury team that won the 2014 WNBA championship, won a gold medal with the U.S. team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and has been a part of two world championship gold medal teams.
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