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News roundup: Brittney Griner’s detention extended 18 days

Brittney Griner’s wrongful detention in Russia has been extended until at least July 2. Plus much more news from around the world of women’s basketball.

Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns - Game Five Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Russian media outlet TASS reported Tuesday that Brittney Griner’s detention in Russia has been extended 18 days (at least through July 2).

On Monday, during their trip to Washington, D.C. to play the Washington Mystics, members of Griner’s Phoenix Mercury were able to meet with State Department officials to learn more about what is being done in the efforts to bring the wrongfully detained superstar home. Griner has been wrongfully detained for 117 days.

Diana Taurasi found the meeting helpful, saying:

There is a lot involved in getting her back home and safe, they’re working relentlessly. ... We’re here to do whatever we can to amplify and keep BG at the forefront, which is more important than any basketball game and anything else that’s going on in our lives. We want BG to come home as soon as possible, it’s number one on our list. ... Knowing the State Department at the highest level, from U.S. President Joe Biden to the team that is working on bringing back all Americans who are wrongfully detained, gives us a lot of confidence that they’re working on it.”

Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard offered the following:

We are on day 116 since BG has been wrongfully detained. It was great to hear from the State Department that we should continue to amplify that message and that we should continue to press all those who have any influence or power to help bring BG home. ... She’s our teammate, she’s an American and we want her back home.

Other news

Celtics BG

On June 4, the NBA Finals-participating Boston Celtics wore shirts that said “WE ARE BG.”

First returns for ASG voting

This past Friday, the WNBA announced that A’ja Wilson led All-Star Game fan voting with 21,688 votes after first returns. Breanna Stewart was second with 20,866 and the ever-popular Candace Parker of the defending champion Chicago Sky was third. Early MVP candidates who have never made the All-Star Game before, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young of the Las Vegas Aces, were fourth and seventh, respectively.

Here is the list of the top vote getters, per a WNBA press release:

Fans can continue to vote for starters through June 20 and their vote will count 50 percent toward the final decision. The media vote will count 25 percent and the vote of current WNBA players will also count 25 percent. The top six frontcourt players and the top six backcourt players will be All-Star Game starters. The WNBA coaches will vote for the reserves.

Women’s HOF inductees

ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli, 50s player Alice “Cookie” Barron, DePaul head coach Doug Bruno, WNBA legend Becky Hammon, WNBA legend DeLisha Milton-Jones, former Western Kentucky head coach Paul Sanderford, former West Texas A&M coach Bob Schneider and WNBA legend Penny Taylor were inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday.

Sabrina triple-double

Sabrina Ionescu reached her second WNBA triple-double quicker than anyone (she is now tied for the all-time lead) and got there in just three quarters on Sunday, which had never been done before.

Pro-choice protesters

Last Tuesday, pro-choice protesters made it onto the Barclays Center court during a New York Liberty/Minnesota Lynx game. The protesters were shirtless, had their chests covered, didn’t go near any players and were escorted off the court by security.

The Liberty’s Rebecca Allen said:

I’m all for the message. And I’m happy that we were able to log back into the game and continue playing.

AD trade

Last Wednesday, the New York Liberty traded AD Durr to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for Raquel Carrera and Megan Walker. Walker was then waived and the Liberty signed Marine Johannès.

Sylvia Fowles injury

Last Thursday, the Lynx announced that Sylvia Fowles is out indefinitely due to a cartilage injury in her right knee.

Shaylee Gonzales transferring

On June 3, ESPN reported that Shaylee Gonzales is leaving the BYU Cougars and entering the transfer portal. Gonzales is the two-time reigning WCC Player of the Year and is eligible for two more years.

Arike ejected

After kicking a ball into the stands, Arike Ogunbowale was ejected at halftime on Sunday and her Dallas Wings went on to lose to the Seattle Storm, 84-79.

Sophie Cunningham injury

Last Wednesday, the Mercury announced that Sophie Cunningham will miss a few weeks because of an elbow ligament sprain suffered on June 5.

New Big 12 members

This past Friday, it was announced that Cincinnati, Houston and UCF can officially join the Big 12 on July 1, 2023.

Plenette Pierson to Texas Tech

On June 6, it was announced that former Texas Tech player Plenette Pierson will be leaving her position as an assistant coach with the Lynx and returning to Texas Tech in the same capacity.

Togethxr sues XFL

Togethxr, founded by Sue Bird and others, sued the XFL the week of May 30 for revealing a logo too similar to theirs.