UNCASVILLE, United States (AFP) — The head coach of Brittney Griner’s Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team said the nine-year sentence handed out to its star player by a Russian court on Thursday was devastating — even though it was no surprise.
“We knew this was coming, we’ve been prepared for it,” said Vanessa Nygaard, Phoenix Mercury’s head coach, noting the minuscule acquittal rates in Russian courts where Griner was convicted of smuggling drugs into the country.
“We know we weren’t hanging our hopes on the Russian justice system.”
“But we were literally getting ready to come out for shoot around today when this was going on,” she said. “Players were watching it.”