A Russian court has sentenced former Baylor Women’s Basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on Thursday, finding her guilty of drug possession and smuggling. The WBNA star was also fined one million rubles, or-the equivalent of $16,200.
Griner, 31, was arrested in February for bringing cannabis into Russia and, according to ESPN, she was prepared for a harsh sentence after pleading guilty on July 7.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, my fans and the city of (Yekaterinburg) for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought on them,” Griner said according to FOX News. “I want to also apologize to my parents, my siblings, the Phoenix Mercury organization back at home, the amazing women of the WNBA, and my amazing spouse back at home.”
Griner still contends that she made an “honest mistake” when she brought vape cartridges containing cannabis oil into a Moscow airport back in February and added that “I hope in your ruling does not end my life.”
The United States is expected to arrange a prisoner swap for Griner, and according to Russian media has speculated that the prisoner to be exchanged would be Viktor Bout, also known as the “Merchant of Death.” Bout is serving a 25-year sentence in the U.S. after being convicted of conspiracy to kill United States citizen and providing aid to a terrorist group.
While at Baylor, Griner scored 3,283 points, recorded 1,305 rebounds and 748 blocks and was the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2011, 2012, and 2013 while leading the Lady Bears to a national championship 2012.