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“I’m back!” Brittney Griner shines in first Mercury home game in nearly two years

After spending 10 months imprisoned in Russia, Brittney Griner drops a game high 27 points in Mercury home opener.

PHOENIX, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY-TV ) - Brittney Griner couldn't completely hide the tears after she was introduced to over 14,000 fans at Footprint Center on Sunday afternoon.

"You know, there may have been a little dust in my eye," Griner said. "It was a little dusty, um, but no, it was, yeah, it was emotional in the back just hearing and seeing some of the clips and then coming out.

Sunday marked the first WNBA regular season home game for Griner in a Mercury uniform in 610 days.

During that time Griner spent 10 months imprisoned in Russia.

Back on the home basketball court, Griner didn't disappoint in front of the home crowd, scoring a game high 27 points with 10 rebounds in a 75-69 loss to the Chicago Sky. Her return was highlighted by a rare three pointer with 39 seconds remaining in the third quarter cutting the Mercury deficit to 58-53. Griner exclaimed, "I'm back" after the shot that gave her 20 points in the contest.

"That moment was very special," Griner said. "Honestly it took me back to my last season playing. It just felt really good honestly. It was a crazy moment."

The Footprint Center dished out more surprises with Brittney's wife Cherelle was honored during the game and also in attendance, Roger Carstens, the Biden administration's top hostage negotiator who helped bring Griner back to U.S. soil, was also honored.

"On a personal level, I was sitting there crying with Sheila Jackson-Lee, congresswoman from Texas," Carstens said. "When BG came out I think it was a very emotional for both of us. I can tell you from where I sit and where the team sits in Washington D.C. we knew that this day was going to come. We knew it was going to be hard, it would take some time but what we saw today was exactly how I pictured it."

^^^Watch the complete post game press conference with Brittney Griner and Roger Carstens here ^^^.

The emotional return in front of over 14,000 fans known as the X-factor didn't produce a win. The Mercury fell for the second straight time to begin the 2023 season. Griner and the Mercury will look to secure their first win on the season on Thursday, May 25th, against the Minnesota Lynx. Both teams enter the contest 0-2 on the season.

Article Topic Follows: Regional Sports

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Scott Gross

Scott Gross joins the KYMA team as the Anchor, CBS Sports Director, and Executive Producer.

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