Brittney Griner is spending her 32nd birthday in a Russian prison

Brittney Griner spent her 32nd birthday in a Russian prison awaiting an appeal against her nine-year sentence for drug possession, which is set for next week.

According to her attorneys, the WNBA star has been particularly down recently. They were with her for part of her birthday on Tuesday.

Maria Blagovolina, partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin, said it wasn’t a big celebration but Griner’s lawyers conveyed congratulations from family and friends.

“She smiled, it was really nice to see her smile,” Blagovolina wrote in an email to The Associated Press.

Griner later released a statement about her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas.

“Thank you to everyone who fought so hard to bring me home. All the support and love is definitely helping me,” Griner said.

Griner’s appeal hearing is scheduled for October 25. While it’s unlikely that appeal will overturn her conviction, her attorneys are hoping she could ease the sentence.

“We hope that the sentence will be reduced,” said Blagovolina.

Griner was convicted in an unusually quick verdict on Aug. 4, receiving a longer sentence than most Russian recipients for similar offenses. The 6-foot-9 center, who played professionally in Russia during the WNBA offseason, was arrested Feb. 17, a week before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Police said they found vape canisters containing cannabis oil in Griner’s luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Her lawyers said she was prescribed cannabis for pain, and Griner said she accidentally bagged them and had no criminal intent.

Griner is also awaiting a possible prisoner swap between Russia, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the unusual step of publicly revealing in July that Washington had made a “substantive proposal” to bring Griner home with Paul Whelan, an American is serving a 16-year prison sentence in Russia for espionage.

Blinken didn’t elaborate, but The AP and other news organizations have reported that Washington has offered to trade Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who is serving a 25-year sentence in the US and once used the nickname “The Merchant of Death.”

The White House said it has not yet received a productive response from Russia to the offer.

Her friends and family are trying to keep Griner’s name on people’s minds amid delicate US-Russia negotiations that seem to have stalled.

“I pray for her sanity and sanity and that we do what we can to get her name known,” said South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, who coached Griner at the Tokyo Olympics last year. “To take her home. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. She’s one of us in an incredible situation. It will take positive synergy, prayers and some powerful people doing business to bring them home.”

Golden state guard Stephen Curry took time out Tuesday night during the Warriors’ championship ring ceremony to make an impassioned plea for Griner’s support.

“We want to continue leveraging our platform and opportunity to highlight a very special member of the basketball community. Today is Brittney Griner’s birthday, she’s 32,” Curry told the crowd before the defending NBA champion defeated the Los Angeles Lakers. “We want to continue to make her name known and we pray… it has been 243 days since she was unjustly imprisoned in Russia. We hope she comes home soon, that everyone does their part to bring her home.”

The US women’s team won their fourth straight world title earlier this month and captain Breanna Stewart said the medal was dedicated to Griner, who would have been on the team had she not been in prison.

Griner was honored to hear this from her attorneys.