In attendance for Griner’s return to Texas? Baylor women’s basketball coach Nicki Collen and her team.
In an interview at the arena, Collen—who took over at Baylor in 2021, eight years after the end of Griner’s college career—said that she plans to have Baylor retire Griner’s jersey when the school opens its new basketball arena next year.
“That’s the goal,” Collen said, via ESPN. “We’re opening a new arena. There’s no doubt that I want to see her jersey in the rafters.”
Baylor is aiming for a January 2024 opening of the school’s new Foster Pavilion. It will replace the Ferrell Center as the home of Baylor’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.
Griner, who scored 24 points in the loss to the Wings, was appreciative of Baylor’s women’s team making the 97 mile trek from Waco to watch her play.
“I played some of my best basketball there, met some amazing people there, met my wife there,” Griner said. “I can’t wait to get back. It’s safe to say I’m never going overseas to play basketball again, so in the offseason, I’ll be able to actually go and see games. Just walk the same halls that I walked before. It was amazing to have them here. I was really, really, really, really, really happy to see the Baylor team. That meant a lot having them here.”
It also meant a lot to Griner to be back in her home state playing basketball.
“Just a lot of support. It was good seeing everybody and just being back in Texas. I miss being here. When I came out and they announced my name, the love meant a lot to me.”
Griner and the Mercury take on the Wings again on Friday, as the Mercury look to avenge Wednesday night’s loss and tab their second win of the season after a 1–4 start.