Diggins-Smith asks how Mercury were supposed to play after Griner trial

Aug 4, 2022, 7:52 PM
Skylar Diggins-Smith #4 of the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA game at Footprint Center on July 07,...
Skylar Diggins-Smith #4 of the Phoenix Mercury during the WNBA game at Footprint Center on July 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mercury defeated the Liberty 84-81. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“Nobody wanted to even play today.”

Phoenix Mercury star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith was very honest with reporters after a “heavy” Thursday. The Mercury fell 77-64 against the Connecticut Sun hours after center Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges in a Russian court.

“This is our real-life friend, real-life sister,” Diggins-Smith said. “Imagine if your real-life friend or real-life sister is out here. I don’t expect everybody to give a damn, but we really do. And we come out here and we’re still supposed to play this game.

“How are you supposed to approach the game with a clear mind when the whole group is crying before the game?”

Head coach Vanessa Nygaard had a similar sentiment before Thursday’s action began, asking how her players were supposed to focus on “such an emotional day” for the team.

Nygaard noted that hopefully some voices could be heard as a result of the game taking place.

The Mercury and Sun shared a 42-second moment of silence at center court to honor Griner before the opening tip.

Diggins-Smith tweeted after the game that she was proud of her team. She said postgame that the Mercury need to continue playing hard to honor their teammate.

“You try to come out and still play hard for her, regardless if she’s here or not,” Diggins-Smith said. “We still got to try to keep her spirit alive, to honor her spirit and try to get some momentum for the team, something to feed off of.”

Griner has been detained since Feb. 17.

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Diggins-Smith asks how Mercury were supposed to play after Griner trial