WNBA players say life in Russia was lucrative but lonely

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FILE - United States' Brittney Griner (15) plays during a women's basketball preliminary round game against Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 30, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. Griner went to Russia to earn extra money. But the experience has turned into a prolonged nightmare after she was arrested in February by police who reported finding vape cartridges allegedly containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She is awaiting trial on charges that could bring a prison term.(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

By DOUG FEINBERG, the Associated Press

For WNBA players, spending the offseason by competing in Russia can be lucrative, with some earning more money than they make back home. But they also describe the loneliness of being away from family and friends, of struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, and of living in a place with little sunlight in winter and temperatures well below freezing. Brittney Griner is one of those athletes who went to Russia to earn extra money. But the experience has turned into a prolonged nightmare after she was arrested in February by police who reported finding vape cartridges allegedly containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She is awaiting trial on charges that could bring a prison term.

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