‘I Expected More’: Phoenix Mercury Head Coach Vanessa Nygaardh Livid At Crowd Size For Brittney Griner’s Return

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Andrew Powell Contributor
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I’m trying to embrace women’s basketball more nowadays, but I can’t help but to laugh at this story.

To kick off the 2023 WNBA season, the Phoenix Mercury took to the road for their season opener as they played the Los Angeles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena. But not only would it be the official start to the new campaign for both teams, it would also be the official return of Brittney Griner to the court.

In the Mercury’s 94-71 defeat, Griner had a stat line of 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and two assists, marking her first actual basketball game since 2021. As we all know, Griner was forced to miss the entirety of the 2022 season because of being in a Russian prison due to a drug conviction. She eventually returned home to the United States in December, being a part of a prisoner swap that saw arms dealer Viktor Bout head back to Russia.

Well, with the game being the return of Griner to the game of basketball, Phoenix head coach Vanessa Nygaard was expecting LA to pack the arena, but uh … that didn’t happen. And Nygaard wasn’t happy about it.

“I mean, it was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG?” said Nygaard. “Like, I expected more, you know, to be honest. Right, it was great, it was loud. But how was it not a sellout? How was it not a sellout?”

With the arena able to fit 19,068, the game had an attendance of 10,396, according to ESPN.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why so many people pick on women’s basketball. (RELATED: Brittney Griner Decides To Stand For National Anthem After Being Freed From Russian Prison)