WNBA suspends Mercury's Brittney Griner 3 games, Wings' Kristine Anigwe for 2 after brawl

Cassandra NegleyYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/teams/pho" data-ylk="slk:Phoenix Mercury">Phoenix Mercury</a>'s <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/5057/" data-ylk="slk:Brittney Griner">Brittney Griner</a>, left, and <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/wnba/players/628/" data-ylk="slk:Diana Taurasi">Diana Taurasi</a> were both suspended for roles in a brawl with the Dallas Wings. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Phoenix Mercury's Brittney Griner, left, and Diana Taurasi were both suspended for roles in a brawl with the Dallas Wings. (AP Photo/Matt York)

The WNBA announced suspensions Tuesday for five players involved in the brawl between the Phoenix Mercury and Dallas Wings on Saturday.

The Mercury’s Brittney Griner got the largest suspension at three games. She and the Wings’ Kristine Anigwe were the two key players in the altercation. They were tied up under the basket, resulting in Griner chasing Anigwe down the court near the benches. It looked as if both players threw punches.

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Anigwe received a two-game suspension with teammate Kayla Thornton.

Griner given 3 games for escalation, punch

Griner was given the most games for “throwing punches, escalating the incident, and pushing Thornton’s face with an open hand.” The 28-year-old had to be held back by multiple people as she chased down Anigwe.

Anigwe was given two games for “instigating the initial altercation by holding Griner in the paint and for taking an “open-handed swing” at her. Thornton was given two games for escalating.

Both will begin their suspensions Wednesday.

Taurasi, Davis suspended for leaving bench

Mercury star Diana Taurasi and Wings forward Kaela Davis each left their benches to calm emotions and protect their players. They’ll each be suspended one game and pay a $500 fine for leaving the bench and “directly engaging” with other team.

Taurasi defended the move to the Arizona Republic after the game Saturday.

“Today I went on the court to make sure my teammate didn’t get jumped. (Griner) got punched in the face and then someone ran on her back and threw punches at her face. I would do that 100 times out of 100 times.”

Taurasi is still rehabbing a back injury and will serve her suspension in the first game after she’s medically cleared. Davis will serve hers Sunday against the Connecticut Sun due to a minimum players rule. The Wings are struggling with injuries and players at tournaments across the ocean. Teams must have eight players dressed for all games.

The Mercury’s DeWanna Bonner was fined $500 for escalation.

Griner, Anigwe had history before brawl

Griner and Anigwe have a history, according to The Athletic beat writer Alexis Mansanareaz. They tangled less than two weeks before when the Mercury played Anigwe when she was still with the Sun. Taurasi called it “physical abuse” and players from around the league have spoken about increased physicality going unwhistled by the refs this season.

Griner, a six-time All-star and the league’s current scoring leader, told the Arizona Republic she accepts the consequences but it will impact her willingness to play in the WNBA going forward. She currently plays for UMMC Ekaterinburg in Russia during the offseason.

"I'm not (playing here) for the money because we don't make enough and they want to fine me for every little thing," Griner said, via the Arizona Republic. "I'm getting techs for protecting myself in games and flagrants because they always only see me. They never see anything beforehand. I'm basically not getting paid this summer already (due to fines)."

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