With fewer than 100 days until our 20th season, it’s time to start the countdown of the 20 greatest moments in Mercury franchise history.
No. 1: October 30, 1996
WE GOT NEXT
The WNBA announces the eight teams to complete in its inaugural season in 1997 and Phoenix is awarded a franchise. The team is officially named the Mercury on February 14, 1997.
No. 2: September 12, 2014
CHAMPIONSHIP END TO A HISTORIC YEAR
Phoenix completes a 3-0 series sweep of Chicago for the third championship in team history. Diana Taurasi’s running one-hander with 14.3 seconds left in Game 3 secures the championship as she picks up her second career WNBA Finals MVP honor after averaging 20.3 points per game during the Finals.
No. 3: August 17, 2014
BEST TEAM IN HISTORY
The Phoenix Mercury close the 2014 regular season with a 29-5 (.853) marking the most regular season wins by a WNBA team in league history. The Mercury go 16-1 at home (.941) and 13-4 (.765) on the road and do not suffer a losing streak the entire season.
No. 4: October 9, 2009
MERCURY CHAMPS AGAIN!
The Phoenix Mercury defeat the Indiana Fever 3-2 for their second WNBA Championship in franchise history. Phoenix comes back from trailing the series 2-games-to-1 and clinches the title in front of 17,313 fans at U.S. Airways Center with a 94-86 win. Diana Taurasi is named WNBA Finals MVP as she averaged 20.4 points in the five game series.
No. 5: September 16, 2007
MERCURY IN FIVE; WNBA CHAMPS!
The Phoenix Mercury win their first WNBA Championship, defeating the Detroit Shock, 3-2 in the WNBA Finals. Phoenix came back from down 2-games-to-1 in the Finals and clinched the title in Detroit with a 108-92 win thanks to a game-high 30 points from Penny Taylor. Cappie Pondexter is named WNBA Finals MVP after averaging 22.0 points in the five game series.
No. 6: June 15 – July 29, 2014
The Phoenix Mercury heat things up in summer, rattling off 16 consecutive wins—a WNBA record. During the streak, Phoenix outscored opponents by an average of 13.75 points per game and shot 50.3-percent from the field. Phoenix led their opponent for 83.3-percent of game action during the streak.
No. 7: April 17, 2004
START OF A NEW ERA
With the first pick in the WNBA Draft, Phoenix selects Diana Taurasi from the University of Connecticut. Just one day earlier, another new era in Phoenix basketball began as Robert Sarver officially bought the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.
No. 8: July 19, 2014
The Phoenix Mercury host the WNBA All-Star Game in front of 14,685 fans at US Airways Center. The game will go down as one of the greatest All-Star Games in WNBA history as the East edged the West, 125-124 in the first ever All-Star overtime game. The Mercury was represented at home by three players: Candice Dupree, Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi.
No. 9: September 2, 2014
GETTING THE LYNX OFF OUR BACK
After losing to Minnesota in the 2011 and 2013 Western Conference Finals, 2014 was finally the year the Mercury would get by the Lynx. In a deciding Game 3, Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 31 points including a half court buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter that brought an already wild US Airways Center Crowd into a frenzy. Phoenix ran away with the game after that moment and cruised to the WNBA Finals with a 96-78 win.
No. 10: May 27, 2013
BG’s DUNKING DEBUT
Brittney Griner shines in her WNBA debut, becoming the first player in WNBA history to dunk twice in the same game. Griner finishes her debut with 17 points and eight rebounds and a new chapter of Phoenix Mercury begins.
No. 11: September 29, 2009
Diana Taurasi is named WNBA MVP, marking the first time a Phoenix Mercury player has been named MVP of the league. Taurasi finishes the season averaging a league-best 20.4 points per game on 46.1-percent shooting from the field. She also led the league in 3-point field goals made (79).
No. 12: April 15, 2013
With the first pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury select Brittney Griner out of Baylor University.
No. 13: August 10, 2006
DEE’S BIG GAME
Diana Taurasi scores 47 points in triple overtime win in Houston marking the most points ever scored in a game by a Mercury player. The total marked the most points scored by a player in WNBA history as she went 17-of-33 from the field including 8-of-16 from beyond the three-point line. Taurasi added nine assists and six rebounds. The total remained a WNBA record until 2013.
No. 14: August 25, 1998
HEADED TO THE FINALS
The Phoenix Mercury advance to the 1998 WNBA Finals following a 2-1 series with over Cleveland in the WNBA Semifinals marking the first playoff series win in franchise history. Phoenix wins the deciding Game 3 of the semifinal series at Cleveland thanks to 27 points and 11 rebounds from Bridget Pettis. Phoenix goes on to fall to the Houston Comets, 2-1 in the WNBA Finals.
No. 15: January 27, 1997
IT’S MILLER TIME
Cheryl Miller, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, is named the first head coach and general manager in Phoenix Mercury history. Miller goes on to coach the team for four seasons and compiles a record of 70-52 (.574) and three playoff appearances.
No. 16: June 29, 2014
BG’S BLOCK PARTY
Brittney Griner sets a single-game WNBA record for blocked shots in a game with 11 in a, 80-77 win at Tulsa. The previous record of 10 stood for 13 years. Griner added 21 points for the Mercury.
No. 17: August 24, 2014
Brittney Griner becomes the first WNBA player to dunk in a playoff game as she throws one down in a 93-68 win at Los Angeles that sent the Mercury to the WNBA Western Conference Finals.
No. 18: August 22, 2014
The WNBA names Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello WNBA Coach of the Year and Mercury center Brittney Griner WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. It is the first time either award was given to a member of the Phoenix Mercury. Brondello led the team to a WNBA-record 29-5 (.853) record while Griner set the WNBA single-season record for blocked shots with 129.
No. 19: June 22, 1997
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
The Phoenix Mercury play their first game in team history, defeating the Charlotte Sting, 76-59 at America West Arena in Phoenix in front of 16,102 fans. The starting lineup of Tia Jackson, Toni Foster, Jennifer Gillom, Bridget Pettis and Michele Timms takes the floor on opening night and Bridget Pettis scores the first basket in franchise history.
No. 20: September 12, 2006
HALL OF FAMER TAKES OVER
Ann Meyers Drysdale, a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, is named the third general manager in team history. Meyers Drysdale will serve as general manger through the 2011 season when she is named vice president.
She has been with the Mercury organization for all three WNBA Championship teams.