A Russian court on Thursday sentenced US basketball star Brittney Griner to 9 years in prison on drug smuggling charges.

The court convicted her of trafficking & drug possession, & gave him close to the maximum sentence suggested by prosecutors.

Griner was detained in February at an airport near Moscow when vape cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage.

Griner had come to Russia to play club basketball during  the US off-season, a BBC  report said.

Her defence team said they would appeal against Thursday's verdict by the court in Khimki, near Moscow.

The presiding judge said while reading the verdict that the athlete had already spent a considerable time in detention.

But the basketball player said she didn't receive any explanation of her rights or access to a lawyer in the initial hours of her detention.

"I made an honest mistake," Griner said in closing arguments in court.

She also admitted that she has to use a translation app on her phone to communicate.

Griner is a double Olympic gold medallist & is considered one of the best players in the world.