|Arena||US Airways Center|
|Team colors||Purple, White, Orange, Silver
|General manager||Amber Cox (interim)|
|Head coach||Sandy Brondello|
|Assistant coaches||Earl Cureton
|Championships||2 (2007, 2009)|
|Conference titles||3 (1998, 2007, 2009)|
The Phoenix Mercury is a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona, playing in the Western Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The team was founded before the league's inaugural 1997 season began; it is one of the eight original franchises. The team is owned by Robert Sarver, who also owns the Mercury's NBA counterpart, the Phoenix Suns.
The Mercury has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in six of its fourteen years in Phoenix. The franchise has been home to many high-quality players such as former UConn sharpshooter Diana Taurasi, explosive Rutgers grad Cappie Pondexter, former Temple power forward Candice Dupree, and Australian guard Penny Taylor. In 1998, 2007, and 2009, the Mercury went to the WNBA Finals; they lost to Houston in 1998, but won the title in 2007 and 2009 over Detroit and Indiana, respectively.
- 1 Franchise history
- 2 Season-by-season records
- 3 Players
- 4 Coaches and staff
- 5 Statistics
- 6 Media coverage
- 7 All-time notes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
With a cast that included hall-of-famer Nancy Lieberman, and possible future hall-of-famers Michele Timms of Australia, and Jennifer Gillom, hyper-active star Bridget Pettis, and outspoken coach Cheryl Miller, the Mercury quickly established itself as a major franchise. In the very first WNBA season, the Mercury posted a 16–12 record and reached the first WNBA playoffs. The Mercury lost to the New York Liberty, though, in those playoffs.
In 1998, the Mercury again qualified for the playoffs, posting a 19–11 record. The Mercury defeated the Cleveland Rockers to reach the WNBA Finals for the first time. In a hard fought series, the Mercury fell 2 games to 1 to the defending champion Houston Comets.
In 1999, the Mercury missed the playoffs, posting a 15–17 record. In 2000, the Mercury finished 20–12, but got swept by the Los Angeles Sparks. The team descended into turmoil after the season, as coach Miller left and the original core group of players broke up, via retirement or trades, and the team stopped being a playoff contender.
From 2001–2004, the Mercury were at the bottom of the WNBA. Fielding miserable teams, the Mercury were never competitive. The Mercury went through coach after coach, and nothing worked. During the lean years, the franchise remained in the news as forward Lisa Harrison would become a sex symbol. Playboy Magazine offered her money to pose in their magazine. She would decline the offer.citation needed
After a horrible 2003 season, in which the Mercury posted an 8–26 record, the Mercury won the #1 overall choice in the 2004 WNBA Draft, and select coveted former UConn star Diana Taurasi. Taurasi went on to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award in the 2004 season, as the Mercury posted a better 17–17 record. The Mercury posted a 16–18 record in 2005, missing the playoffs again.
Former NBA coach Paul Westhead became the Mercury's head coach prior to the 2006 season and brought his up-tempo style to Phoenix. Westhead was the first WNBA coach to have won a previous NBA championship (1980 LA Lakers). The Mercury also drafted Cappie Pondexter with the #2 overall selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft. The addition provided Taurasi with a solid #2 player. Westhead's run and gun offense quickly became The Mercury's trademark and the franchise would soon set new league records for points scored.
The 2006 season was a positive one for the Mercury, as they posted a winning record for the first time since 2000, at 18–16. The Mercury competed for the playoffs all year, but fell just short of a postseason berth.
As the 2007 season came, the Mercury were poised and hungry for a deep playoff run. The Mercury would run away with the Western Conference, posting their best record in franchise history at 23–11, as well as clinching the #1 seed. The Mercury set a record by averaging 89.0 points in a season during 2007.1 In their first playoffs since 2000, the Mercury made quick work of the Seattle Storm in the first round, blowing them out in two games (Game 1: 101–84, Game 2: 95–89). In the Western Finals, the Mercury swept the San Antonio Silver Stars in a closer series (Game 1: 102–100, Game 2: 98–92), advancing to the WNBA Finals for the first time in nine years. In the Finals, the Mercury faced the defending 2006 champions Detroit Shock. The two teams split the first two games in Detroit. Coming back home, the Mercury suffered a letdown in game 3, losing 88–83. Down 2–1, the Mercury had to win game 4 or lose. Game 4 came down to the final seconds, but the Mercury edged out the Shock 77–76, with Cappie Pondexter scoring 26 points, and forced a Game 5 in Detroit. In Game 5, Phoenix won by a score of 108–92.1 Penny Taylor scored a game high 30 points in Game 5, and went 18-for-18 from the line.1 The Mercury won the series and their first championship with a 108–92 Game 5 victory, becoming the first WNBA team to win a championship on the road. Cappie Pondexter was named the WNBA Finals MVP, and averaged 22.0 points and 5.6 assists in the series.1 On November 7, 2007, The Mercury announced the hiring of Corey Gaines as head coach to replace the departing Paul Westhead.
In 2008, the Mercury started slowly and never really found a groove, finishing the season with a disappointing record of 16–18, well out of the playoff picture in a tough Western Conference. The Mercury became the first team in WNBA history with the dubious honor of failing to qualify for the playoffs after winning the WNBA Finals the year before.
However, a year later, the Mercury were back to what they were two years before. The Mercury clinched the top spot in the playoffs along with the number one seed in the Western Conference. The Mercury defeated the 2008 conference champion San Antonio Silver Stars in the first round, winning the very exciting series 2–1 after losing the first game on the road. The Mercury then defeated the Los Angeles Sparks in the conference finals, winning 2–1 in a series that ended Lisa Leslie's career. The Mercury then went on to beat the Indiana Fever 3–2 in the best of 5 series to capture the second title in their franchise history. Diana Taurasi captured the WNBA Finals MVP Award. All-star guard Cappie Pondexter was traded to the New York Liberty amid some controversy in the offseason; All-Star Candice Dupree joined the duo of Taurasi and Penny Taylor as the Mercury looked to repeat in 2010.
It was not easy, however, as the Mercury faced a few bad losing streaks throughout the 2010 season. The team managed to finish 15–19, good for second place in the Western Conference. Phoenix swept San Antonio in the first round of the Playoffs, but lost to the eventual champion Seattle Storm in the conference finals.
After a hectic offseason for Diana Taurasi, most of the Mercury team was rested and ready to play. The team started the 2011 season with a surprising 0–3 record, but flew back into playoff contention, entering the All-Star break with a 10–5 record. Ultimately, they recovered to gain the third seed in the 2011 WNBA Playoffs, and upset the Seattle Storm in the opening round, closing an 18-point deficit to win on Seattle's home floor, allowing the Mercury to reach its third straight conference finals. Unfortunately, for the team, they came up short against the top-seeded Minnesota Lynx, losing in two games.
Coming off a disastrous 2012 WNBA season in which the once proud Phoenix Mercury franchise finished with the second worst record in the WNBA, a 7-27 mark, Phoenix got the luck of the draw in the 2013 WNBA draft lottery and secured the top overall pick. Once the 2013 WNBA Draft arrived in April 2013, it was essentially a no brainer that the Mercury would use the top overall pick on the dominant two time Women's College Basketball Wooden award winner Brittney Griner. Griner joins an already stellar cast of players on the 2013, who suddenly look poised to make a return to the playoffs and possibly compete for their third WNBA Championship. However, the Mercury lost to the Lynx in the Conference round of the playoffs.
In June 2009 the Mercury and WNBA announced a sponsorship agreement with identity theft protection service LifeLock to place that company's logo on their jerseys through the 2013 season, making the Mercury among the first non-soccer franchises in the major leagues of North America to place a company logo on their uniforms.2
|Season||Team||Conference||Regular season||Playoff Results||Head coach|
|1997||1997||West||1st||16||12||.571||Lost WNBA Semifinals (New York, 0–1)||Cheryl Miller|
|1998||1998||West||2nd||19||11||.633||Won WNBA Semifinals (Cleveland, 2–1)
Lost WNBA Finals (Houston, 1–2)
|1999||1999||West||4th||15||17||.469||Did not qualify||Cheryl Miller|
|2000||2000||West||4th||20||12||.625||Lost Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles, 0–2)||Cheryl Miller|
|2001||2001||West||5th||13||19||.406||Did not qualify||Cynthia Cooper|
|2002||2002||West||7th||11||21||.344||Did not qualify||C. Cooper (6–4)
L. Sharp (5–17)
|2003||2003||West||7th||8||26||.235||Did not qualify||John Shumate|
|2004||2004||West||5th||17||17||.500||Did not qualify||Carrie Graf|
|2005||2005||West||5th||16||18||.471||Did not qualify||Carrie Graf|
|2006||2006||West||5th||18||16||.529||Did not qualify||Paul Westhead|
|2007||2007||West||1st||23||11||.676||Won Conference Semifinals (Seattle, 2–0)
Won Conference Finals (San Antonio, 2–0)
Won WNBA Finals (Detroit, 3–2)
|2008||2008||West||7th||16||18||.471||Did not qualify||Corey Gaines|
|2009||2009||West||1st||23||11||.676||Won Conference Semifinals (San Antonio, 2–1)
Won Conference Finals (Los Angeles, 2–1)
Won WNBA Finals (Indiana, 3–2)
|2010||2010||West||2nd||15||19||.441||Won Conference Semifinals (San Antonio, 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (Seattle, 0–2)
|2011||2011||West||3rd||19||15||.559||Won Conference Semifinals (Seattle, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (Minnesota, 0–2)
|2012||2012||West||6th||7||27||.206||Did not qualify||Corey Gaines|
|2013||2013||West||3rd||19||15||.559||Won Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (Minnesota, 0–2)
Russ Pennell (9-4)
|Regular season||275||285||.491||3 Conference Championships|
|Playoffs||23||19||.548||2 WNBA Championships|
Phoenix Mercury roster
- Kara Braxton (2010–2011), now a member of the New York Liberty
- Anna DeForge (2003–2005)
- Jennifer Gillom (1997–2002), now an assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun
- Michelle Griffiths (1998–2000)
- Lisa Harrison (1999–2005)
- Temeka Johnson (2009–2011), now a member of the Seattle Storm
- Nancy Lieberman (1997)
- Kelly Mazzante (2007-2009)
- Kelly Miller (2006–2008)
- Bridget Pettis (1997–2001)
- Plenette Pierson (2003–2005), now a member of New York Liberty
- Cappie Pondexter (2006–2009), now a member of the New York Liberty
- Brandy Reed (2000–2002)
- Tangela Smith (2007–2010)
- Belinda Snell (2005–2007)
- Maria Stepanova (1998–2001, 2005)
- Michelle Timms (1997–2001)
- Kamila Vodičková (2005–2006)
- Adrian Williams-Strong (2000–2004)
- Le'coe Willingham (2009), now a member of the Atlanta Dream
- Jerry Colangelo, owner of the Phoenix Suns (1997–2003)
- Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns (2004–present)
|Phoenix Mercury head coaches|
- Cheryl Miller (1997–2000)
- Seth Sulka (2001–2006)
- Ann Meyers-Drysdale (2007–2011)
- Corey Gaines (2012–2013)
- Amber Cox (2013-current)
- Steve Smith (1997)
- Kathy Anderson (1998)
- Carrie Graf (1998–1999, 2001, 2003)
- Howie Landa (1999)
- Tom Lewis (2000)
- Linda Sharp (2000–2002)
- Vonn Read (2000)
- Eric Cooper (2001–2002)
- Gary Kloppenburg (2003)
- Brian Agler (2004)
- Lisa Harrison (2004)
- Cedric Ceballos (2004)
- Michele Timms (2005)
- Julie Brase (2005–2007)
- Bridget Pettis (2006–2011)
- Corey Gaines (2006–2007)
- Julie Hairgrove (2008–present)
- Earl Cureton (2012–present)
|Phoenix Mercury statistics|
Currently, some Mercury games are broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona (FS-A), which is a local television station for the state of Arizona. More often than not, NBA TV will pick up the feed from the local broadcast, which is shown nationally. The broadcaster for the Mercury games is Kevin Ray.
All games (excluding blackout games, which are available on ESPN3.com) are broadcast to the WNBA LiveAccess game feeds on the league website. Furthermore, some Mercury games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. The WNBA has reached an eight-year agreement with ESPN, which will pay right fees to the Mercury, as well as other teams in the league.4
- A sellout for a basketball game at US Airways Center is 18,422 (capacity from 1997–2002 was 19,023).
|Regular season all-time attendance|
- 1997 Elite: Bridget Pettis (7), Nancy Lieberman-Cline (15)
- 1997: Toni Foster (8), Tia Jackson (9), Umeki Webb (24), Monique Ambers (25)
- 1998: Maria Stepanova (8), Andrea Kuklova (18), Brandy Reed (28), Karen Wilkins (38)
- 1999: Edna Campbell (10), Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil (22), Lisa Harrison (34), Amanda Wilson (46)
- 2000: Adrian Williams (21), Tauja Catchings (37), Shantia Owens (53)
- 2001: Kristen Veal (13), Ilona Korstine (29), Tere Williams (45), Carolyn Moos (53), Megan Franza (61)
- 2002: Tootie Shaw (25), Kayte Christensen (40), Amba Kongolo (56)
- 2003 Miami/Portland Dispersal Draft: Tamicha Jackson (4)
- 2003: Plenette Pierson (4), Petra Ujhelyi (16), Telisha Quarles (31), Marion Jones (33)
- 2004 Cleveland Dispersal Draft: Penny Taylor (1)
- 2004: Diana Taurasi (1), Chandi Jones (8), Ashley Robinson (14), Maria Villarroel (27)
- 2005: Sandora Irvin (3), Angelina Williams (18), Jamie Carey (31)
- 2006: Cappie Pondexter (2), Liz Shimek (18), Mistie Williams (21), Crystal Smith (32)
- 2007 Charlotte Dispersal Draft: selection waived
- 2007: Lindsey Harding (1), Tyresa Smith (18), Leah Rush (28), Chrissy Givens (31), Emily Westerbeg (37)
- 2008: LaToya Pringle (13), Leilani Mitchell (25), Merscilla Packer (41)
- 2009 Houston Dispersal Draft: Sequoia Holmes (5)
- 2009: DeWanna Bonner (5), Sha Brooks (31), Jessica Adair (34)
- 2010 Sacramento Dispersal Draft: selection waived
- 2010: Tyra Grant (24), Nyeshia Stevenson (36)
- 2011: Brittany Spears (19), Tahnee Robinson (31)
- 2012: Samantha Prahalis (6), C'eria Ricketts (24), Christine Flores (30), Amanda Johnson (33)
- July 31, 1997: The Mercury acquired Mikiko Hagiwara from the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for future considerations.
- July 6, 1998: The Mercury traded Pauline Jordan to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Tiffani Johnson.
- October 27, 1999: The Mercury traded Marlies Askamp, Angela Aycock and Kristi Harrower to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Adia Barnes, Tonya Edwards and Trisha Fallon.
- February 18, 2000: The Mercury acquired Brandy Reed from the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for the fifth pick in the 2000 Draft.
- April 25, 2000: The Mercury traded Shantia Owens to the Miami Sol in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2001 Draft.
- May 27, 2001: The Mercury acquired Jaynetta Saunders from the Cleveland Rockers in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
- June 22, 2001: The Mercury traded Tonya Edwards to the Charlotte Sting in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2002 Draft.
- March 4, 2002: The Mercury traded the eighth pick in the 2002 Draft to the Cleveland Rockers in exchange for Pollyana Johns-Kimborough.
- March 4, 2002: The Mercury traded the 15th pick in the 2002 Draft to the Miami Sol in exchange for Tracy Reid and the 13th pick in the 2002 Draft.
- March 4, 2002: The Mercury traded Bridget Pettis and the 13th pick in the 2002 Draft to the Indiana Fever in exchange for Gordana Grubin.
- May 3, 2002: The Mercury traded a fourth-round pick in the 2003 Draft to the Detroit Shock in exchange for Claudia das Neves.
- May 5, 2002: The Mercury traded Claudia das Neves to the Miami Sol in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2003 Draft.
- April 28, 2003: The Mercury traded Petra Ujhelyi and Telisha Quarles to the Detroit Shock in exchange for Edwina Brown and Lenae Williams.
- July 31, 2003: The Mercury traded Stacey Thomas to the Detroit Shock in exchange for Tamara Moore.
- June 29, 2005: The Mercury traded Plenette Pierson to the Detroit Shock in exchange for Andrea Stinson and a second-round pick in the 2006 Draft.
- February 21, 2007: The Mercury traded Sandora Irvin to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2008 Draft.
- April 2, 2007: The Mercury traded a second-round pick in the 2008 Draft to the New York Liberty in exchange for Kelly Schumacher.
- April 4, 2007: The Mercury traded Lindsey Harding to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Tangela Smith.
- May 7, 2008: The Mercury traded Leilani Mitchell to the New York Liberty in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2009 Draft.
- January 30, 2009: The Mercury traded Kelly Miller and LaToya Pringle to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Nicole Ohlde.
- March 20, 2009: The Mercury traded Barbara Farris to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for A'Quonesia Franklin and Kim Smith.
- March 26, 2009: The Mercury traded a first-round pick in the 2010 Draft to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for Temeka Johnson.
- March 30, 2010: The Mercury traded Cappie Pondexter and Kelly Mazzante to the New York Liberty and received Candice Dupree from the Chicago Sky. Chicago received Shameka Christon and Cathrine Kraayeveld from New York as part of this trade.
- July 23, 2010: The Mercury traded Nicole Ohlde and a first-round pick in the 2011 Draft in exchange for Kara Braxton.
- April 11, 2011: The Mercury traded Tahnee Robinson to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2012 Draft.
- August 4, 2011: The Mercury traded Kara Braxton to the New York Liberty in exchange for Sidney Spencer.
- January 12, 2012: The Mercury traded Temeka Johnson to the Tulsa Shock in exchange for Andrea Riley.
- February 2, 2012: The Mercury traded a second-round pick in the 2013 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Alexis Hornbuckle.
- February 28, 2012: The Mercury traded the 18th pick in the 2012 Draft to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for Charde Houston and the 24th pick in the 2012 Draft.
- 1997: No All-Star Game
- 1998: No All-Star Game
- 1999: Michelle Timms
- 2000: Brandy Reed
- 2001: None
- 2002: None
- 2003: Adrian Williams
- 2004: Anna DeForge, Diana Taurasi
- 2005: Diana Taurasi
- 2006: Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi
- 2007: Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor
- 2008: No All-Star Game
- 2009: Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi
- 2010: Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor
- 2011: Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor
- 2012: No All-Star Game
- 2013: Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi
- 2004: Diana Taurasi, Penny Taylor (AUS)
- 2008: Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter
- 2012: Diana Taurasi
- 1997 All-WNBA Second Team: Jennifer Gillom
- 1998 All-WNBA First Team: Jennifer Gillom
- 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award: Jennifer Gillom
- 2004 Rookie of the Year: Diana Taurasi
- 2004 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2005 All-WNBA Second Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2006 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2006 All-Rookie Team: Cappie Pondexter
- 2006 Peak Performer (Scoring): Diana Taurasi
- 2007 Finals MVP: Cappie Pondexter
- 2007 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2007 All-WNBA First Team: Penny Taylor
- 2008 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2008 Peak Performer (Scoring): Diana Taurasi
- 2009 Most Valuable Player: Diana Taurasi
- 2009 Finals MVP: Diana Taurasi
- 2009 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2009 All-WNBA First Team: Cappie Pondexter
- 2009 All-Rookie Team: DeWanna Bonner
- 2009 Sixth Woman of the Year: DeWanna Bonner
- 2009 Peak Performer (Scoring): Diana Taurasi
- 2010 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2010 Sixth Woman of the Year: DeWanna Bonner
- 2010 Peak Performer (Scoring): Diana Taurasi
- 2011 All-WNBA First Team: Diana Taurasi
- 2011 All-WNBA Second Team: Penny Taylor
- 2011 Sixth Woman of the Year: DeWanna Bonner
- 2011 Peak Performer (Scoring): Diana Taurasi
- 2012 All-Rookie Team: Samantha Prahalis
- 2013 All-Rookie Team: Brittney Griner
- Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 67
- "MERCURY: Mercury, LifeLock Break New Ground with Partnership". Wnba.com. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Negley, Cassandra (August 8, 2013). "Phoenix Mercury fire Corey Gaines, hire Russ Pennell as interim coach". Arizona Republic.
- "WNBA Extends TV Rights Deal with ESPN and ABC". Sports Business. June 18, 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
- Phoenix Mercury Official Website
- Gaines announced as Head Coach of the Mercury
- Phoenix Mercury coverage from The Arizona Republic/azcentral.com
2009 (Second title)
San Antonio Silver Stars
|WNBA Western Conference Champions
2009 (Third title)
2007 (First title)
|WNBA Western Conference Champions
2007 (Second title)
San Antonio Silver Stars
|WNBA Western Conference Co-Champions
With Houston Comets
1998 (First title)