The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today acquired former WNBA Champion forward Camille Little and the draft rights to highly-regarded rookie forward Jillian Alleyne from the Connecticut Sun in a three-team trade that also included the Indiana Fever. As part of the deal, Phoenix sent forward Candice Dupree and the 17th overall pick (second round) of the 2017 WNBA Draft to Indiana, and the Fever sent forward Lynetta Kizer and the 8th overall pick (first round) of the 2017 draft to Connecticut.
“First and foremost, I want to express the deep appreciation of our entire organization for the contributions on and off the court made by Candice Dupree in her seven years in a Mercury uniform,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “We would not have won a championship in 2014 without Candice, and she has been instrumental in helping to grow our game and our fan base in Phoenix since 2010.”
“Our goal every season is to win a championship. Like our fans, we were disappointed with the results of 2016 and, while that was not the fault of any one or two or three players, we entered this offseason knowing difficult decisions would have to be made to improve the way our roster fit together as a whole. We are excited for what Camille Little brings, especially because advanced stats tell us she’s one of the best defensive post players in the league. This deal also allows us to bring back Jillian Alleyne, who we drafted last year, and whose strength, length and rebounding prowess give her tremendous upside. We were able to turn one power forward into two, and get both veteran experience and great potential.”
Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello said, “It has been a pleasure to coach Candice these past three seasons. She is the ultimate professional who played a large role in our success. We wish her all the best in Indiana.”
“Camille Little brings us a defensive forward who can help us be a great defensive team, and she is a stretch player who will compliment Brittney Griner nicely. In 2007, I coached Camille as a rookie with the San Antonio Stars and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to be reunited with her and to integrate both Camille and Jillian into our team. We drafted Jillian, we believe in her abilities, and we are excited to get her on the court.”
Little won a WNBA title with the 2010 Seattle Storm and has compiled averages of 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in an 11-year career with San Antonio, Atlanta, Seattle and Connecticut. The 6-foot-2 power forward owns a 45.1-percent career field goal percentage, and has added a three-point shot to her game in recent seasons. After attempting 187 threes in her first eight seasons, she has 283 attempts in her last three and has connected on 34 percent. Little appeared in 33 games (29 starts) a season ago and averaged 7.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and a career-best 2.0 assists.
Little is just two seasons removed from a career-high 12.9-point, 4.3-rebound campaign with the Storm, and has averaged double-figure scoring in five of her last eight seasons. Originally the 17th overall pick of the 2007 WNBA Draft by San Antonio, Little was a four-time All-ACC selection at North Carolina where she guided the Tar Heels to a Final Four berth in her senior season after averaging 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds. Little was the 2004 ACC Rookie of the Year and became the first player in UNC women’s history to be named All-ACC First Team as a freshman.
Phoenix reacquires the 6-foot-3 Alleyne, who was selected by the Mercury in the second round (20th overall) of the 2016 WNBA Draft before being included in a midseason trade with Connecticut last year.
Alleyne is a potential difference-maker who averaged 17.9 points and 14.3 rebounds as a senior at the University of Oregon, and finished her college career with the second-most double-doubles in NCAA history (92) and the third-most rebounds (1,712). A physical presence who consistently produces, Alleyne owns the Oregon and Pac-12 single-game, single-season and career rebounding records. She finished her career as only the 10th player in NCAA history with at least 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds. Her senior season was cut short due to an ACL injury, which also kept her out the entire 2016 WNBA season. Widely projected as a first-round pick before the injury, Alleyne had played in 120 consecutive games for the Ducks before her injury, and was named to the AP All-American Third-Team in both her junior and senior seasons.
Dupree was acquired by the Mercury from Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 2010 and averaged 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in her time with the Mercury. An integral part of Phoenix’s 2014 championship run, Dupree averaged better than 16.0 points in the Mercury’s eight-game playoff run that culminated in the team’s third WNBA title. Phoenix reached the WNBA Semifinals (previously the Western Conference Finals) in all but one of Dupree’s seven seasons and she finishes her Mercury career ranked in the top-10 all-time in 19 franchise categories, including points (fourth), rebounds (third) and games played (sixth).
Get a front-row seat for history this summer! Diana Taurasi will open the 2017 regular season just 178 points shy of becoming the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history, as she attempts to lead the Mercury to a WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets for the Fry’s Food Stores Home Opener on Sunday, May 14, and the other 16 regular-season Mercury home games, can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.