The WNBA has always struggled with attracting big crowds to its games. Not even the first home game of Brittney Griner after getting released from a Russian prison was enough to sell out the contest between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky on Sunday at Footprint Center.
Mercury head coach Vanessa Nygaard was not too happy about the crowd turnout in Phoenix's season opener either last Friday versus the Los Angeles Sparks at Crypto.com Arena, and she made sure to get that point across.
“I mean, it was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG?” Nygaard said about the turnout during the first home game back of Brittney Griner (h/t Ryan Gaydos of Fox News). “Like, I expected more, you know, to be honest. Right, it was great, it was loud. But how was it not a sellout? How was it not a sellout?”
The Crypto.com Arena has a capacity of 19,068, while the official attendance at the Mercury-Lakers game was only 10,396. Still, that was nearly doubled Phoenix's season average of 5,6753 in 2022, per Statista.
As for the game itself, Brittney Griner showed she's still got it, finishing with 18 points while shooting 7-for-9 from the field to go with six rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes of action, albeit in a 94-71 loss. Diana Taurasi added 15 points on 4-for-15 shooting.
Brittney Griner and the Mercury are winless through two games so far in the 2023 WNBA regular season and they will look to finally end their slump on Thursday with another home game versus the Minnesota Lynx.