As a beat writer, you cant help but notice random things when covering a team.
But it is also incredibly fun.
Most things, like the systematic order in which the players make their way to the practice court (which is like clockwork by the way), are entirely irrelevant. But there are some things that are so completely random they just might be interesting to Mercury fans.
Random Observation #1: Trainer Tamara Poole deserves a looooong vacation
We should call Mercury trainer Tamara Poole Flash because thats usually all I see of her as she darts back and forth from the practice court to the training room. Whether shes attending to the Mercurys injured stars by methodically guiding them through physical therapy or just encouraging players to stay hydrated on the practice court, Poole has been insanely busy all year.
To her credit, shes done a phenomenal job of nursing each injured player back to health, most recently evidenced by the successful return of Diana Taurasi and Charde Houston.
Random Observation #2: Diana Taurasis favorite Gatorade flavor is Lemon-Lime
In case you were wondering, DT prefers lemon-lime over any other type of Gatorade.
The rest of the team, however, does not share her affection for the flavor.
Random Observation #3: Alexis Hornbuckle had one of the greatest blocks Ive ever seen in practice
Im not exaggerating.
In a scrimmage against the male practice squad a few weeks back, one of the members was on a breakaway towards the hoop. Buck was trailing the play (similar to what Lebron James is known for) just waiting to go up and swat the ball away. The shot went up, and she did exactly that.
And the ball ricocheted off the opposite wall, probably 30 feet away.
Buck just smiled.
Random Observation #4: Sammy Prahalis loves chicken fingers
What did you have to eat? I ask Sammy.
Chicken fingers, she says. Usually every time.
If thats not random, I dont know what is.
Random Observation #5: DeWanna Bonner is hilarious
I admit, sometimes I cant always hear (or understand) what DB is saying but I know its hilarious based on the teams collective reaction. Bonner is one of those people where you cant help but feel good around. Shes always smiling and keeping the mood light.
Her exchanges with assistant coach Earl Cureton are especially entertaining.
Random Observation #6: The coaching staffs creativity
Anytime a WNBA team has over 20 different players suit up in a span of just five months, finding continuity is obviously difficult. But no matter whos been on the court this season, Corey Gaines and his staff have managed to find ways to motivate and encourage the team to perform. Its a job that is infinitely easier said than done, and one that no other WNBA staff has had to face this year.
As we know, getting comfortable in the Mercurys system usually takes several weeks, but many players have had to adjust in a mere few days. Kudos should go to Gaines, Hairgrove and Cureton for simplifying things and pairing them down enough to maintain hope and consistency.
Random Observation #7: Style AND substance
This year, weve had a unique opportunity to see several Mercury players in their street clothes with over half the team injured.
I might be biased, but I think the Mercury is the best dressed team in the WNBA.
What other fun facts have you noticed about the team this year? Tweet your responses to @PhoenixMercury and @bjyork.