Brittney Griner’s Stirring and Commanding Comeback in Record-breaking WNBA All-Star Game

by Lucas Garcia
Brittney Griner's Return

Brittney Griner made a powerful and emotionally charged return to the mid-season highlight of the WNBA.

She netted 18 points, starting her team off with the first six and impressively executed two dunks during Saturday night’s All-Star Game.

The full-house audience erupted in cheers as Griner was introduced, visibly touched by the applause, she affectionately touched her heart with her right hand. A year after a forced absence from this event, Griner unquestionably stole the spotlight.

“Experiencing that applause and the small moments I can now treasure, it means everything,” Griner expressed. “There was no doubt that I would return and play. The support has been unwavering.”

Griner was instrumental in leading Team Stewart, spearheaded by New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart, to a 143-127 victory over Team Wilson, led by the Aces’ A’ja Wilson. The 143 and the total 270 points set new records for the All-Star Game.

Jewell Loyd from Seattle Storm of Team Stewart shattered the All-Star Game scoring record with 31 points, the record-breaking pass coming from Griner. Previously, Maya Moore and Kelsey Plum held the record with 30 points each. Loyd was awarded the MVP of the match.

“I played intensely because of my parents, I didn’t manage to get them an anniversary present,” Loyd quipped. “So I think this suffices. I hope they think so too.”

Kelsey Plum equaled her own record with 30 points, representing one of the four Aces competing for Team Wilson, who were cheered loudly by the home crowd during the pre-game presentations. Plum, who also provided five assists, confirmed that for each basket and assist, sponsors would donate $1,000 to a Las Vegas charity.

“So I was aiming,” Plum joked. “I mean, 17 shots in 21 minutes is quite extraordinary.”

She raised a total of $16,000.

Last year at this time, Griner was detained in Russia on drug charges, sparking global indignation that she was being held unjustly. The WNBA bestowed upon her the honorary title of starter, with every player wearing her No. 42 jersey in the second half of the previous year’s game.

This time, Griner was truly in the starting lineup — the sole player with that jersey number — outshining almost everything else on the court.

From the start, Team Stewart made Griner the central figure. She pulled off a dunk with 3:50 left in the first quarter on a pass from Stewart. Another dunk followed just 25 seconds into the second half.

“I had a little pep talk with my knees,” the 32-year-old Griner humorously commented about her dunks.

She demonstrated that same leaping capability later on, jumping onto the riser for the post-game press conference.

During the first quarter, Griner challenged Team Wilson’s point guard Chelsea Gray of the Aces, but Gray skillfully evaded the nine-time All-Star from the Phoenix Mercury and scored with a high-off-the-glass reverse layup. It was one of the rare plays that didn’t go Griner’s way.

The first media timeout saw Griner featured on the video board as she sat on the bench. The words “WELCOME BACK BRITTNEY GRINER” were displayed below her.

Among the novelties of the game were microphones worn by players including Griner, who joked that she “got something in my eye” after missing a 3-pointer.

The game was played with a 20-second shot clock, shorter than the typical 24, with two additional four-point spots on each side of the court and no free throws. The teams collectively scored 12 four-point shots.

Team Stewart’s Sabrina Ionescu from New York, renowned for her exceptional shooting skills, hit all three of her four-point attempts in the first half. She finished with 18 points.

Ex-WNBA players such as Sue Bird, Seimone Augustus, and Sylvia Fowles were present, with Fowles donning Napheesa Collier’s Minnesota Lynx jersey.

NBA stars like Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Dwyane Wade were among the spectators. Wade is in the process of acquiring an ownership stake in the Chicago Sky.

AP Sports: https://bigbignews.net/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Brittney Griner’s Return

How many points did Brittney Griner score in her return game?

Brittney Griner scored 18 points during her return game at the WNBA All-Star match.

Who led Team Stewart and Team Wilson in the WNBA All-Star Game?

Team Stewart was led by New York Liberty’s Breanna Stewart, with a key role played by Brittney Griner. Team Wilson was led by the Aces’ A’ja Wilson.

Who broke the All-Star Game scoring record and how many points did they score?

Jewell Loyd from Seattle Storm of Team Stewart broke the All-Star Game scoring record by netting 31 points.

Why was Griner’s jersey number significant during the game?

Griner’s No. 42 jersey was significant as last year, when she was absent due to being detained in Russia, all players wore her number in the second half of the game in solidarity. This year, she was the only player with that jersey number in the starting lineup.

How did Kelsey Plum contribute to charity during the game?

Kelsey Plum raised $16,000 for a Las Vegas charity during the game. Sponsors pledged that for each of her baskets and assists, $1,000 would be donated.

More about Brittney Griner’s Return

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PhoenixFan42 July 16, 2023 - 9:47 am

Proud to have Griner represent Phoenix Mercury!! Such a strong player, she truly owned the game today.

SammyJ July 16, 2023 - 1:16 pm

Wow, Brittney Griner is a beast!! Glad to see her back on the court. What an emotional return!

CharityChamp July 16, 2023 - 7:40 pm

Great job Kelsey Plum. $16,000 raised for charity. That’s real sportsmanship.

HoopsLover27 July 16, 2023 - 9:41 pm

Its like she never left!! 18 points and 2 dunks, griner’s still got it. Amazing game!!

AllStarWatcher July 17, 2023 - 12:23 am

Records were shattered tonight! Congrats to Jewell Loyd on her 31 points. What a game.


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