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WNBA commissioner vows league 'working very hard' to bring Brittney Griner back from Russia

“This is an unimaginable situation for BG to be in,” Cathy Engelbert said. “She continues to have our full support. Certainly, we’re trying everything we can... "

NEW YORK — WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said the league is working very hard to help bring Houston native Brittney Griner back to the United States from Russia where she's being held.

“I want to take a moment to reiterate the WNBA’s support for Phoenix Mercury star Brittney Griner,” Engelbert said before the league's draft started Monday night. “Please know that getting her home safely continues to be our top priority and while we are facing an extraordinarily complex challenge, there is strength in community, especially the WNBA.”

The video above originally aired on March 18.

Griner, one of the league’s biggest stars, has been detained in Russia since arriving at a Moscow airport in mid-February. Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges that allegedly contained oil derived from cannabis, which could carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Engelbert said there will be a league-wide charity initiative spearheaded by the Mercury to support Griner’s philanthropic project, called BG’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive. The drive has gathered new or gently used shoes for homeless people in the Phoenix area.

“This is an unimaginable situation for BG to be in,” Engelbert said. “She continues to have our full support. Certainly, we’re trying everything we can, every angle, working with her legal representation, her agent, elected leaders, the administration. Just everybody in our ecosystem to try and find ways to get her home safely and as quickly as we can.”

In March, a U.S. official was granted access to Griner and found her to be in "good condition," the State Department said Wednesday. 

"We were able to check on her condition, we will continue to work very closely with her legal team, with her broader network, to see to it that she is treated fairly," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told CNN.

Russia state media reports Griner's detention in a Russian jail has been extended through mid-May, according to state media reports in the country.

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