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WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner Sentenced to 9 Years in Russian Prison

Griner was arrested by Russian in February after being found in possession of illegal cannabis oil.

WNBA Superstar and Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner was found guilty in a Russian court on Thursday and has been convicted of smuggling drugs into the country with criminal intent, per multiple reports.

Griner has now been sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison.

Griner was been detained in February for allegedly possessing cannabis oil at the Moscow airport. The offense can net her up to 10 years in a Russian federal prison.

Griner issued a guilty plea to a Russian court on July 7 and also included an ask for mercy from the judge. Griner claimed that, while she did commit the crime, she did so inadvertently.

She made another statement Thursday ahead of her verdict.

"I never meant to hurt anybody, I never meant to put in jeopardy the Russian population, I never meant to break any laws here," Griner said, via CNN. "I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling that it doesn't end my life here. I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that that is far from this courtroom.

"I want to say again that I had no intent on breaking any Russian laws," she said. "I had no intent. I did not conspire or plan to commit this crime."

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More than 150 days into her Russian detention, the United States Government offered a deal with the Kremlin in exchange for Griner on July 27, as well as fellow American detainee Paul Whelan, per U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The news came on the heels of Griner testifying at her trial on Wednesday, where, while she re-confirmed her guilty plea.

Earlier this summer, Griner sent a letter to President Joe Biden, received at the White House on Monday’s July 4 holiday.

"Please do all you can to bring us home,” she wrote.

It remains to be seen in the U.S government will follow through with potential prisoner swap in order to get Griner released.

The former Baylor star was the No. 1 overall pick in 2013. As a WNBA Champion, eight-time All-Star, and Olympic gold medalist, she's started all 254 games in her WNBA career while averaging 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 2.8 blocks on 56 percent shooting.

In four seasons in Waco, Griner's performance made her become one of the best college basketball players of all time. She led Baylor to an overall record of 106-5 during her final three years, which included a 40-0 finish in 2011-12. She averaged 22 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and an astounding 5.1 blocks per game during her collegiate career.