Interview with Brittney Griner

Lorie ShaullCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons 

Written by: Keith "Grizz" Crear | SFL Photographer/Sports Blogger

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk with and interview Brittney Griner about her career, community efforts and progression of the league.

In July, she was named Western Conference Player of the week, started in the 2019 WNBA All-Star game for the West and gained 3 highlight dunks that sent the crowd nuts. I asked BG on how her game has changed since being drafted in 2013. Griner said, "The first year was an eye-opener on how much I needed to work on my game in the off-season". Griner stated that her first year was tough but has grown into the new system and has evolved into working on new moves and gaining more comfort with taking more shots from the perimeter.

Griner is the league's leading scorer, averaging 19.7 points per game. In the game against Los Angeles on Thursday night, despite the loss, BG had 27 points. I asked what could have changed or shifted the momentum in favor of the Mercury winning versus the Sparks and she stated, "I dont think we came out with the mentality needed at the beginning of the game". "We really didn't defend the 3 (3point shot) too well and I really didn't do too well on the job in the paint". "We got to get better in the game coming out with games on the road".

While losing to the Spark, the Mercury were #5 in the league and #8 in the Western conference at the time of this interview. On the road to the Finals, it seems the toughest team and biggest competitor are the Seattle Storm due to last year's 2018 playoffs and the Minnesota Lynx. The Mercury seem to have close games when it comes these 2 opponents. I asked who does she likes being matched up against one-on-one that makes her step her game up, and Griner stated Liz Cambage and Natasha Howard.

Griner and I talked about a positive outlook of league progression with the crowning of the new commissioner, Cathy Engelbert. Currently the WNBA only has 12 teams and gaining a roster spot is VERY limited. The Mercury dealt with some injuries and had to be granted a hardship to sign 7 Game contracts for a couple of players. These contracts allow teams to sign temporary players to fill roster spots when a team doesn't have enough players. One of the possible progressive points we discussed was team expansions. We both agreed that it would be pretty dope for the league to bring a team back to Houston. The Comets was Houston's WNBA team and held 4 championships and 4 conference titles but the team was later dissolved in 2008.

On Saturday, the Mercury lost by 3 points to the Dallas Wings. Despite the on-court altercation between Griner and Anigwe, Saturday's game had more value that shined past the game of basketball. Before the game Brittney held her 4th Annual “BG’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive" in collaboration with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. The goal of the shoe drive is help te homeless in the city of Phoenix with shoes and basic essentials such as water, food and deodorant. BG explained that she receives a massive amount of shoes from her sponsors that she doesn't wear, so she donates them. In her efforts, fans were asked to bring new or gently used shoes to the game to help with Brittney's mission.

Brittney is a force in the league. Many underestimate her passion for the game. Currently the Mercury are 11-12. With her being #1 scorer in the league, #2 with 2.1 blocks per game and
#3 with 54.4% field goal percentage, she will continue to be dominant in the WNBA.

Image Credit: Lorie Shaull, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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