Griner not chosen for USA roster at Olympic qualifier


WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner was jailed in Russia for 10 months in 2022 before being released in a prison exchange. (AP pic)

NEW YORK: US women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, jailed in Russia for 10 months in 2022 before being released in a prison exchange, was not among the 12 players named Sunday to a US national team squad.

Griner, a 33-year-old star centre for the Women’s NBA’s Phoenix Mercury, was among 18 players invited to a three-day training camp in New York that ended on Sunday.

She was not, however, listed among the 12 players who will represent the US at the Fiba Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament starting Thursday in Antwerp, Belgium.

Griner was reportedly unavailable to play in the coming week but was able to gain valuable training time with the US squad.

The Americans, as defending champions, have already qualified for the field at the Paris Olympics later this year but participate in the quadrennial qualifying tournament to help prepare for the Olympics.

The US women, who will select a final Paris roster later this year, will try to capture an eighth consecutive Olympic gold medal in France.

After missing the entire 2022 WNBA season while incarcerated in Russia on drug charges, Griner returned in 2023 and averaged 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for Phoenix last season.

The US women’s roster for the Belgium tournament features seven Olympians, including five-time Olympic champion Diana Taurasi.

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