February 7, 2023
Brianna Turner discusses Griner’s looming return to Mercury, new role with WNBPA
Brianna Turner discusses Brittney Griner saying 'she is going to play for the Phoenix Mercury' and her new role with WNBPA
Phoenix Mercury forward Brianna Turner spoke to the media for the first time Tuesday since her frontcourt mate, Brittney Griner, announced her plan to return to play for the Mercury after almost 10-month detainment in Russia.
Turner joined the media via Zoom from Minneapolis, where she is training with Team USA, and discussed her initial reaction to Griner’s December announcement.
“When I heard she wanted to play, it honestly didn’t even surprise me,” Turner said. “BG’s such a competitor and she loves the game of basketball. So, I think it might have been hard for her to just walk away from it. So I’m excited that she’s going to give it a try. And I’m sure she’s going to (be) really successful again.”
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If Griner does sign with the Mercury, Turner can slide back to power forward from the middle, which she played for much of last season due to Griner’s absence. Playing alongside Griner in 2021, Turner averaged career-highs with 7.8 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game. In 2022 without Griner, Turner was down to 4.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG despite playing more minutes per game.
Turner also spoke on Griner’s involvement with Team USA, saying she is certain USA Basketball will embrace Griner returning to the team if she so chooses. Griner has had a storied career with the squad, winning gold medals at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.
Turner discusses new role with Players Association and working to improve
In December, Turner was picked as one of the three vice presidents of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association along with Breanna Stewart and Satou Sabally.
She discussed how the opportunity came about and what the new role means to her.
“I’ve always been interested in a leadership position with the players association and this past offseason, they had re-elections and I applied for one of the vice presidents’ positions,” Turner said. “And yeah, I got elected, which is really exciting. So I’m really excited to be working under (WNBPA President) Nneka (Ogwumike). Kelsey Plum is our new first vice president. … Really excited for what we can bring to the players association this season and improve the players’ lives.”
As for on the court, Turner talked about what she has been doing on the court this offseason to improve her game.
“This offseason, since I got back from Turkey, I’ve been really training hard back in Houston, Texas,” Turner said. “I got a really great group of trainers. T.J. Ford – he’s a local Houston guy. I’ve been … working out with him. It’s really great.”
“Breezy Bri” has been a class act on and off the court since I’ve been following her from Notre Dame to her current position. Congrats on her new position in the players’ association and being selected to attend the U.S.A. National Team Training Camp in Minneapolis.