The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today acquired 2012 WNBA Champion, 2014 WNBA All-Star and six-time WNBA All-Defensive team selection Briann January from the Indiana Fever in exchange for the eighth-overall pick (first round) of the 2018 WNBA Draft. January was a four-year standout at Arizona State University and this season joined Charli Turner-Thorne’s coaching staff as an assistant.
“Briann is a difference-maker in our league,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “We’ve seen her have success guarding the best-scoring guards and wings on the biggest stage, and we’ve seen her run a team as an All-Star-caliber point guard. We are excited to add perhaps the best women’s player in the history of Arizona State University to our roster.”
Originally the sixth overall selection in the 2009 WNBA Draft by the Fever, the 5-8, 144-pound January is a WNBA Champion (2012), a six-time WNBA All-Defensive team member (2012-17), a former All-Star (2014) and has reached the WNBA Finals three times in her nine-year career (2009, 2012, 2015). January’s teams have qualified for the playoffs eight times in her nine seasons, including five appearances in the Conference Finals (now the Semifinals) and the three Finals trips. The 5-foot-8 guard has played her best on the biggest stages—while she owns career regular season averages of 9.0 points, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals, she has averaged 10.7 points, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals in 44 career playoff games.
Drafted one spot after the Mercury selected All-Star DeWanna Bonner, January built her reputation on hard-nosed defense, and is the only WNBA player who has been named to either the league’s All-Defensive First or Second team in each of the past six seasons. She has also made herself into an excellent three-point shooter, leading the league in three-point percentage (43.1 percent) in 2015 and shooting a 36.9-percent clip for her career. January’s nine-year tenure with Indiana saw her average of 3.6 assists per game, the highest in franchise history, ninth-best among active WNBA players. She is one of only four active players in the league averaging at least 3.6 assist per game and shooting above 36 percent from three-point range, joining superstars Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Maya Moore.
While a player at Arizona State, January was a two-time Pac 10 (now the Pac 12) Defensive Player of the Year (2008, 2009) and an All-Pac 10 First Team selection (2009). She finished her career as the program’s all-time leader in assists (538) and free throw percentage (83.0), while ranking second in steals (272) and free throws (401), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (39.9) and fifth in three-point field goals (132). She set the school’s single-season record for three-point field goals made (65) during her senior year and is the only player in school history to lead the team in steals and assists four-straight years.
WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi and 2017 WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner return to Phoenix this summer to lead the Mercury in a quest for the franchise’s WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets for Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 18, and Phoenix’s two showdowns with the rival Minnesota Lynx on Friday, June 22 and Saturday, July 21, are on sale NOW and can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.