NEW YORK (AP) — New WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said that the league is looking into a fight in the Dallas-Phoenix game on Saturday that resulted in the ejection of Brittney Griner and five other players.
“We are already following and activated our usual protocol around events like this,” Engelbert told The Associated Press at halftime of the New York Liberty game on Sunday. “It’s an emotional game and these women are elite athletes trying their hardest to win. Now that we’re at the back half of the year, we’re getting to that time where really every game counts from here on in. There’s a lot of parity in the league this year when you look at 1-12. We’ll deal with that protocol and deal with it tonight into tomorrow and hopefully have something to conclude upon.”
With 6:23 left in the final period, Griner and Wings forward Kristine Anigwe got tangled up in the lane and a scuffle ensued. The Mercury’s 6-foot-8 center had to be restrained by an official at midcourt, where she was still trying to get at Dallas players. 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.
“We’re looking at all the video and talking to all the folks. We have people on planes today. We’re all here. We’re on it,” Engelbert said.
The league carries a minimum one-game suspension if a player attempts to throw a punch or if a player leaves the bench area during an altercation.
There haven’t been too many fights in WNBA history. The biggest was a brawl between Los Angeles and Detroit in 2008 when 10 players were suspended for their actions, as well as an assistant coach for the Shock. Plenette Pierson, who was deemed to have initiated the altercation, got a four-game suspension — the most of anyone in that fight.