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National Sports

Griner named Women’s NBA All-Star Game starter

(AFP)

Brittney Griner, who missed all of last season while imprisoned in Russia, was named Sunday as a starter for the Women’s NBA All-Star Game on July 15 in Las Vegas.

It was Griner’s ninth career All-Star selection, including last year, when she was named an honorary All-Star by WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

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Griner was arrested last year in Russia for having cannabis oil in her luggage and sentenced to prison but freed last December in a prisoner exchange.

Griner has averaged 19.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, a league-best 2.4 blocked shots and 1.7 assists a game for the Phoenix Mercury, which has the WNBA’s worst record at 2-10.

The Mercury fired head coach Vanessa Nygaard on Sunday and named assistant coach Nikki Blue the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Griner had missed three games with a hip injury before returning on Saturday in a 97-74 loss to Seattle.

Griner, 32, is in her 10th WNBA season. She helped Phoenix to the 2014 league title and has played for two US Olympic gold medal teams.

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