Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury will attempt once again to win a game in her Texas homecoming when they play the Dallas Wings on Friday in Arlington, Texas, two days after losing there on Wednesday.
Griner, a Houston native who starred at Baylor, had 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field in the 84-79 loss. Phoenix (1-4) has lost both its road games this season against the Los Angeles Sparks and Dallas (4-3).
It was Griner's first game in Texas since her release from a Russian prison six months ago.
"I'm close to home, my AAU team is here, my high school came up, Baylor came down," Griner said. "I was really, really, really, really happy to see the Baylor team. That meant a lot having them here.
"It was just a lot of support. It was just good seeing everybody and just being back in Texas. I miss being here, so it was really cool. When I came out, the love, that meant a lot to me."
The rematch Friday is sold out in Dallas' arena on the Texas-Arlington campus that has a capacity of 7,000.
Dallas forward Satou Sabally finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Wings in Wednesday's win over Phoenix.
The Wings were coming off consecutive losses to the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun.
Sabally welcomed the sight of Griner on the court, although she at times had to defend her.
"Last year, we played without her and it was just weird. Something was missing," Sabally said. "And now everything is back to normal."
Dallas coach Latricia Trammell hugged Griner when Phoenix arrived for the morning shootaround and her team left the court.
"It just was an emotional moment for all of us," Trammell said. "Just honored and blessed that she's on the floor safe, healthy. And like she told me, she goes, 'It's all happiness from here.' "
Despite Griner's return, the Mercury have struggled, ranking last in the WNBA in rebounding with 30.2 a game through Wednesday's games.
Griner is 12th in the league with 7.8 rebounds per game. Sabally ranks second at 10.8 rebounds.
--Field Level Media