A tie-up under the basket sparked a fight with punches thrown and five players ejected in a wild WNBA contest between the Phoenix Mercury and Dallas Wings on Saturday.
It all started when Allisha Gray hit a three for the Wings to make it 71-68 Phoenix with less than seven minutes to play. Phoenix star Brittney Griner and Kristine Anigwe were battling for position under the hoop and got tied up, and it looked like Anigwe threw a punch at Griner. She then started to chase Anigwe with her fist in the air, and the Wings player starts to run away.
Griner actually chased Anigwe down the court while she was restrained by other players, which only escalated the fight as both teams pushed and shoved. A referee actually held Griner back from a number of players on the sideline as the scuffle continued around her. As pointed out during the broadcast of the fight, the incident happened on what was also Griner’s bottlehead night.
According to ESPN, Taurasi had no regrets about leaving the bench to defend her teammate, but she was one of five players ejected despite not playing on Saturday.
After about a 10-minute review, the officials ejected Griner, Diana Taurasi and Briann January from Phoenix. Taurasi was inactive for the game but was tossed for leaving the bench area. Anigwe, Kayla Thornton and Kaela Davis were ejected for Dallas.
“Today I went on the court to make sure my teammate didn’t get jumped,” Taurasi said. “She 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.”
Aerial Powers, who plays for the Washington Mystics, had perhaps the best tweet about the scuffle.
The correct way to approach Brittney Griner 😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/OlimPM8LQ5
— Aerial Powers (@aerial_powers23) August 11, 2019
There’s no word on suspensions just yet, but it’s certainly something that will be addressed by the league. Without Griner, Phoenix fell to the Wings, 80-77.