Brittney Griner makes season debut for Mercury vs. Lynx

Nine-time WNBA All-Star star Brittney Griner made her season debut for the Phoenix Mercury on Friday night against the Minnesota Lynx.

Griner fractured her toe in the preseason, which sidelined her for the past month.

Mercury coach Nate Tibbetts told reporters this week that after going through return-to-play protocols over the past 7 to 10 days, Griner practiced for the first time Thursday. She was on a minutes restriction vs. the Lynx.

With Rebecca Allen (concussion) also back on the floor for Phoenix after missing the past few weeks, Friday marked the first time the Mercury will be at full strength this season.

The Mercury, 4-6 under first-year coach Tibbetts, have taken more 3-pointers than any other team in the league (29.7 per game). Griner, a 6-foot-9 center, has been a force in the paint during her career, averaging 17.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. But Tibbetts sees Griner’s post presence as something that will bolster Phoenix’s interior defense and diversify its offensive options.

“She’s going to be willing to space the floor and try to move around the way that we’ve been trying to play, but also we need to let BG be BG,” Tibbetts told reporters pregame. “I think all great offenses have different options, and we have to take advantage of her strength at times and that’s throw it in the post. Now Minnesota and the rest of the league have to make a decision: Are they going to double her or play her one-on-one?

“You’re going to see some consistency of how we’ve played, but you’re going to also see sometimes where we throw it down in the post, what we haven’t been doing much of through the first 10 games.”


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