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Sophie Cunningham discusses impact of Brittney Griner’s return on Mercury

Sophie Cunningham #9 of the Phoenix Mercury celebrates with Brittney Griner #42 during the final moments of the first round WNBA playoffs against the New York Liberty at Grand Canyon University Arena on September 23, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sophie Cunningham and Shey Peddy are glad to have Brittney Griner back with the Phoenix Mercury.

“It is so amazing. Like it’s night and day, for real,” Cunningham said on Friday during a media call. “I know everyone is excited to see her on the court, but just to have her around the facilities. To get dinner, hang out at her house, play games. Just to have your sister and friend back with you, it feels amazing. 

“For me, I just want her to have so much fun and if she balls out, she balls out.”

She added that having Griner’s “jokes, her smile” and most of all “her love” in the locker room is the best part.

Peddy called it “strange, a little bit” to have Griner back and added that the team has had to bring her up to speed on how last season went down and what all has changed under head coach Vanessa Nygaard. 

“It’s a new system for her, some new coaches,” said Peddy. “She’s just a great overall human being. Just to see her smiling and happy after all that she’s went through is just the best part of everything.”