Mercury Add Jessica Breland and Nia Coffey to Phoenix Family

Breland, Coffey acquired from Atlanta in exchange for Briann January

The Mercury’s ambitious roster overhaul this offseason to add youth, athleticism and positional versatility continued today, acquiring former All-Star Jessica Breland and young wing Nia Coffey via a three-team trade with the Atlanta Dream and Connecticut Sun.  As part of the deal, Phoenix sent Briann January and the team’s 2021 second-round pick to Connecticut, while the Mercury’s 2020 second-round pick (17th overall) was sent to Atlanta.

“We’re excited to add two highly skilled, high character players in Jessica and Nia,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. We know they will make individual contributions this year, but we are even more excited about what their addition means for our overall roster. Adding Jessica, one of the league’s best rebounders, to our frontcourt, which already includes the league’s best center, Brittney Griner, and All-Rookie Team selection Brianna Turner is big for us. Adding a player like Nia, who can play multiple positions and shot 38 percent from three last year, after already adding Skylar Diggins-Smith and Bria Hartley, made this deal very appealing.”

– GM Jim Pitman


Pitman added: “On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank Briann January for giving everything she had each day for the Phoenix Mercury.  Playing whatever role her coaches asked, she was a true professional every step of the way and we wish her the best as she moves forward in her career.”

A 2014 WNBA All-Star for the game hosted by the Mercury, Breland is an eight-year veteran with career averages of 7.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 243 games.  The 6-2 forward is one of only seven current WNBA players with at least 1,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocks (Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Candace Parker, Tina Charles, Candice Dupree, Elena Delle Donne) and is no stranger to the postseason.  In 20 career playoff games, Breland owns averages of 6.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.  She was a member of Chicago’s 2014 WNBA Finals team that finished runner-up to the Mercury, and reached the WNBA Semifinals in 2016 with the Sky and 2018 with Atlanta.

Breland is coming off a 2019 season in which she started in all 33 games she played in for the Dream, averaging 7.5 points, a team-high 7.3 rebounds and shooting a career-best 87.9 percent from the free throw line. She posted a team-high four double-doubles on the year, led the team in rebounding 13 times, notching 10+ rebounds in seven games and eight or more in 14 of them.  Her 12.5-rebound average per 40 minutes was fifth-best in the WNBA.


Originally the 13th overall pick in the 2011 WNBA Draft by Minnesota, Breland was a standout at North Carolina.  There, she played in 140 career games for the Tar Heels, averaging 10.8 points and 6.7 rebounds during her collegiate career.  After missing the 2009-10 season to recover from receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Breland went on to lead the ACC in double-doubles with 16 and became just the third player in program history to record at least 100 blocks in a single season.

Coffey is a 6-1 forward who can play wing or post positions.  Entering her fourth WNBA season, Coffey was the fifth overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft by San Antonio, a pick acquired by the Stars from the Mercury in the trade for Danielle Robinson.  After appearing in 27 games her rookie season, Coffey averaged a career-best 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Aces in 2018 following the franchise’s move to Las Vegas.  The Minnesota native has played in 83 career games during her three WNBA seasons, with averages of 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.  In her most recent season, Coffey averaged 5.0 points and a career-best 2.8 rebounds in 28 games for the Dream, shooting 37.9 percent from three-point range.

Prior to the WNBA, Coffey was a standout at Northwestern where she finished her career as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds and free throws made, and ranked second in career points and blocks.  She became the fifth player in Big Ten women’s basketball history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career and was a First Team All-Big Ten selection in each of her four seasons.

Professional basketball returns to The Madhouse May 2020 as the Phoenix Mercury bring their quest for a record-tying fourth WNBA Championship to Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the original home of the Phoenix Suns.  Join superstars Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith and the X-Factor at one of basketball’s loudest venues.  Tickets for Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Sunday, May 17, can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting Ticketmaster.