By Ben York, PhoenixMercury.com
Posted: Dec. 13, 2012
As voted by you, the X-Factor, were counting down your top 10 All-Time Favorite Mercury players in franchise history.
Starting December 6, well reveal the results of the
nearly 2,000 votes we received on a weekly basis every Thursday.
No. 9:Samantha Prahalis Years with the Mercury: 2012-present
Total Percentage of Votes: 8.4%
Let me tell you a story about Sammy Prahalis.
Midway through June of 2012, the Mercury lost three tough games in a row to the Sparks, Lynx and Shock. In those losses, Prahalis averaged over five assists per game but was struggling a bit with her perimeter shooting.
Looking to get back into the win column, Phoenix faced the Washington Mystics at home on June 20. Prahalis isnt one to sit idly by and just hope things get better, so she made a point to get to the arena early to focus on her rhythm. When I arrived, Prahalis was working on her shot from multiple angles on the court. She'd shoot a long jumper, and then take a few steps in to work on her touch around the rim.
My release feels good, Prahalis said to me during a quick break. They're just not falling.
They will, I replied. Youre putting in too much work for them not to.
She nodded, and continued her pre-game routine.
I didn't think much of the brief interaction, and we obviously didnt know it then, but Prahalis would end up finding her shooting touch at the absolute perfect time.
Down 74-69 with just over two minutes left in the game, Prahalis jumpstarted an 11-3 run for the Mercury with a long three-pointer as the shot-clock expired.
She then dished to DeWanna Bonner on the break for another three. After the Mystics' Michelle Snow answered with a three-point play of her own, Prahalis split Washington's defense two times in a row capped by a tiebreaking layup with 23 seconds left. The Mercury went on to win the game, 80-77.
Im telling you this story because it was a momentous turning point for Prahalis in her young career. Looking back, scoring seven of her 15 points in the
last two minutes of the game en route to a come-from-behind win against the Mystics was undoubtedly her breakout performance as a player in the WNBA.
Not surprisingly, she was named the leagues Rookie of the Month for June after averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 assists and 1.8 steals in nine games.
Prahalis went on to finish her rookie season by starting 28 games for the Mercury in 2012, playing 31.8 minutes per game, the third-most by a Phoenix
rookie in franchise history. She led all first-year players in assists (4.5 per game) and was ranked second in scoring (11.6) and steals (1.57). She
recorded at least six assists in 10 games, including four consecutive games from May 31-June 8, the longest such streak by a rookie in franchise history.
Needless to say, the numbers Prahalis tallied as a rookie were exemplary. But for Styles P to already be voted as one of the X-Factors top 10 favorite Mercury players of