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This Week in Women’s Basketball: Brittney Griner can communicate with friends back home via email and letters

News on Brittney Griner, expansion and more.

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Syndication: Phoenix Brady Klain/The Republic via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Here’s what happened in the world of women’s basketball the past week:

Brittney Griner is able to email, write letters to friends and family

Brittney Griner has been allowed to receive emails and letters from her friends in the WNBA while detained in Russia. Griner’s agent set up an email account that has been used by hundreds of WNBA players, who have sent messages of hope to the Phoenix Mercury center.

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, told ESPN that the letters have helped Griner immensely, a sentiment that was echoed by Los Angeles Sparks center Amanda Zahui B., who said, “She jokes in her letters. I don’t know how she does it with what she’s going through. She’s an amazing soul. She brings light in a situation like this. I don’t think a lot of people could manage to do that.”

The WNBA looks to expand to two cities by 2024

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert recently told The Athletic that the league plans to expand to two new cities by 2024. Possible cities include Nashville, Oakland, and Philadelphia.

Engelbert explains, “There’s no crisp or clear formula, but you see cities that rise to the top pretty quickly. And we’re also looking at our current franchise cities and comparing what lessons we’ve learned and what’s worked and not worked over the last 25 years. We really want to set up new owners for success.”

Indiana Fever hires veteran WNBA coach Gary Kloppenburg as assistant

The Indiana Fever has announced that a familiar face will be returning to the team. Coach Gary Kloppenburg, who most recently served as head coach in Seattle, will be back with the Fever as their assistant coach for the rest of the 2022 season. Kloppenburg previously worked with the Fever as their assistant coach in 2008-11 and 2015-16.

Fever interim general manager Lin Dunn commented, “Gary Kloppenburg is a proven winner at a championship level and he brings extensive experience coaching in the WNBA and the NBA. He is an excellent addition to our Fever coaching staff.”

WNBA Finals - Game Three
Gary Kloppenburg
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Rae Burrell is expected to return during the 2022 season

Los Angeles Sparks guard Rae Burrell underwent successful knee surgery this week, and the team has announced she’s expected to return to the court for the 2022 season. The official date of play has not been announced, and Burrell is set to be reevaluated in 6 to 8 weeks.

Betnijah Laney will miss six weeks following knee surgery

The New York Liberty have announced that guard/forward Betnijah Laney will be out of action for up to eight weeks following knee surgery. Laney tore her ACL back in 2016 and previously underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in 2021.