Mercury Overseas December Blog: Coach Sandy Brondello

HI X-Factor! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and are getting excited about the holidays.

The month of November flew by quickly for us. We had a two week break in our season due to the European qualification games being played. These games decide which countries qualify for next year’s EuroBasket in the Czech Republic. All of our players who participated in it had great success. Nike Baric led Slovenia to their very first Eurobasket, while Emma Meesseman and Belgium are back in competition for the first time in a decade. Our Russian players dominated their group and will be going back as well.

The best part was that we were given 12 days off, which meant time back in Phoenix for Olaf and I 🙂 The weather at this time of the year is amazing, and being back in our own house/bed and enjoying some R and R with our children was great. A highlight of the trip was being able to go to the Adele concert at the arena. If you didn’t know, I absolutely love, love ADELE! Even with her unbelievable success, she is the most down-to-earth entertainer, and her concert did not disappoint. I took my daughter to her first concert and she had a blast even though sleep beckoned half way through the concert 🙂

The next big thing for the month of November was the return of Dee. The break was great for her and she picked up just where she left off in the W season. For the first time this season, we played with our full roster of players (Sancho Lyttle was cleared to come back from her injury as well). We have a team of very good players and even though talent will never win championships, I do think this is the best team we have had in all of our five season here. I hope this holds true at the end of the season when the trophies are given out 🙂

Our team is comprised of players from six different countries (Russia, USA, Spain, Slovenia, Belgium and Slovakia – Kristi Toliver has this passport). The rules for international basketball varies between countries. In EuroLeague, we are able to play with our entire roster (2 x Americans & 5 Europeans). In the Russian League, we are only allowed to play with four foreign players, while in Russian Cup, this league is only for Russian players. The hardest thing for the coaches is keeping everyone in good rhythm with some of them not playing regularly, but it certainly does allow our practices to be competitive.

Now something that Russia is famous for is the cold winters. Being from Australia I am not a big fan of the cold so Russian winters are no joke! November meant the beginning of winter for us (especially where we live) with the first snow falling at the end of October. Now we’re bracing for five months of snow and freezing temperatures. The temperatures have been as low as -15, which will only get colder in the coming months. At least for the most part we have sunny days!

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Christmas. The Mercury players, coaches and staff appreciate your continue support and look forward to seeing you again in 2017!