Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner played her first regular-season game at home since 2021 Sunday.

Griner’s Mercury lost to the Chicago Sky, 75-69, at Footprint Center. But Griner, who returned to the United States in December after she was arrested in Russia, won the night.

She led the Mercury with 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Griner also made 8-of-9 attempts at the free-throw line and had four blocks.

Following the game, Brittney Griner was joined in her postgame press conference by United States Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Rodger Carstens, who played a huge role in bringing Griner back home.

Carstens said he was in tears watching the game with U.S. representative Sheila Jackson Lee.

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“When [Griner] came out, I think it was a very emotional moment for both of us,” Carstens said. “But I can tell you from where I sit and the team sits in Washington D.C., we knew that this day was going to come.

“We knew it was going to be hard, it would take some time. But what we saw today is exactly how I pictured it.”

Carstens also talked about Griner’s case, the ‘Bring Our Families Home’ campaign the Mercury have endorsed and hope to bring Griner back to the United States.

Griner’s wife, Cherelle, was in attendance for the game along with her parents, Raymond and Sandra.

Sunday’s game was a celebration even though the Mercury lost. The team, Brittney Griner and everyone around her is excited she is back on the court.

“BG back on the court doing what she does best,” Carstens remarked. “And that’s playing basketball.”