Cheryl Reeve, the head coach of the United States women’s national basketball team, acknowledged on Wednesday that the plight of American player Brittney Griner, who was found guilty of drug trafficking in Russia and sentenced to prison for her actions there, has a significant impact on the morale of the team as they prepare to compete in the world championships in Sydney.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, who is widely regarded as one of the best basketball players in the world, would normally be with her teammates getting ready for Thursday’s match against Belgium. This will be the first meeting of a competition in which the United States has won all three previous editions (11 times in total).
However, the woman, who is now 31 years old, is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia for possessing a vape that contained cannabis liquid when she was detained in Moscow in February. This led to her imprisonment.
Reeve predicted that the player, who filed an appeal against her sentence at the beginning of August, would be “concern number one» throughout the competition: «the mindset is just trying to stay strong for her and do what we can» Reeve continued by describing Brittney Riner as a “sweet soul, simply full of love.”
“They constantly think about it in their brains. It weighs a much. It’s a monstrous burden to bear “, the head coach also mentioned that the squad members had been able to send “messages of love, support, and encouragement” to Griner via e-mail. The coach went on to say that this was possible thanks to the fact that the players had access to the coach’s account.
“No one will wear the number 15, which is Brittney’s, to honor her. As Reeve mentioned, this will be the first step in paying tribute to her and ensuring that she is always in our minds.