Brittney Griner Oct 13, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (42) shoots against the Chicago Sky during the first half of game two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Brittney Griner and the Pheonix Mercury dropped their season opener against the Los Angeles Sparks, 94-71, on Friday night.

Griner, in her first WNBA action since her 11-month ordeal in Russian custody, dropped 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and two assists in the road loss at Arena.

After the game, however, multiple participants were shocked that the game wasn’t in front of a sellout crowd given Griner’s historic return.

“I mean, it was great. But like honestly, c’mon now LA. We didn’t sell out the arena for BG?” Phoenix Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said, according to the Arizona Republic. “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?”

Griner, for her part, said it was nice to be back on the court despite the game’s outcome.

“It was nice to be back on the court and in a real game and everything. The love from the fans who came out was amazing and the players. I definitely felt it and I felt it when I was there (Russia),” she said, via the Arizona Republic. “It was nice, but performance-wise, it wasn’t good enough because I couldn’t help the team with a dub.”

The Mercury are next in action Sunday afternoon when they host the Chicago Sky in their home opener of the 2023 season.

[Arizona Republic]