The Phoenix Mercury opened the year on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks. While the crowd was impressive at Crypto.com Arena, it was not a sellout as they played in front of about 10,000 fans.
Because it was her return, Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard was expecting a much fuller arena.
“I mean, it was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG? Like, I expected more, you know, to be honest. Right, it was great, it was loud. But how was it not a sellout? How was it not a sellout,” Vanessa Nygaard said after the game.
The arena could fit about 19,068 and about 10,396 people came to the game, according to ESPN.
The Sparks, who finished 13-23 last season, average attendance is more than 5,600.
In Phoenix’s 94-71 loss, Griner had 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and two assists. But it was a momentous moment for the former Baylor standout, who was making her court debut for the first time since 2021.
She was detained in Russia and convicted on drug charges, so she missed the entire season last year. She was repatriated to the United States in December as part of a prisoner exchange for arms dealer Viktor Bout.
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