PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury have re-signed wing Kia Nurse, the team announced today.
Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman: “In 2021, Kia Nurse brought the exact toughness, shooting and high basketball IQ we hoped for when acquiring her via trade. Losing her to injury last October certainly hampered our efforts in the Finals, and we know it hurt Kia not to be able to help her team, but the way she has worked and rehabbed this offseason solidifies for us that she is the kind of person and player we want to continue as a part of the Mercury family, and we are excited to welcome her back for 2022.”
Nurse is coming off a 2021 campaign with the Mercury in which she averaged 9.5 points and a career-best 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 35.3 percent from three-point range, matching her career high for a season (2019). Acquired in a preseason trade with the New York Liberty for her shooting ability, Nurse made a team-high 59 threes last season, 10th-most in the WNBA. Starting in all 32 regular season games for the Mercury, Nurse scored a season-high 28 points in the team’s final game before the Olympic break in Seattle, knocking down a career-high seven triples and adding six rebounds and five assists. Her season was highlighted by a 40-foot buzzer beater in Chicago on June 1 to give the Mercury an 84-83 win.
The UCONN product suffered a postseason-ending knee injury, which turned out to be a torn right ACL, less than a minute into Game 4 of the WNBA Semifinals against Las Vegas on October 6. Nurse continues to rehab the knee both in Phoenix and her native Toronto and is expected to return to action during this upcoming season.
A four-year WNBA performer, Nurse has averaged 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists while playing 121 of a possible 122 career regular season games. Selected 10th overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft, her career scoring average is fifth in her class behind only the top three picks, All-Star and WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Mitchell, new Mercury teammate, All-Star Diamond DeShields, and seventh-overall pick Ariel Atkins. Nurse, named a 2019 All-Star starter, is one of only three players from her draft class to make an All-Star appearance already in her young career (Wilson, DeShields, Atkins). Nurse earned that berth thanks to a phenomenal sophomore season in which she averaged a career-high 13.7 points and made a career-best 65 three-pointers (6th-WNBA) on a career-best 35.3 percent shooting from long range.
One of the league’s best shooters from any distance, the 6-foot Nurse is one of only seven WNBA players who has made 30 or more threes in each of the last four seasons (Quigley, Vandersloot, Loyd, R. Williams, Atkins, K. Mitchell). Nurse and WNBA legend Cynthia Cooper are the only players in the history of the league to make at least 30 threes in each of her first three seasons while shooting 85 percent or better from the three-throw line.
Nurse has enjoyed tremendous success at both the collegiate and international levels, winning two NCAA Championships (2015, 2016) at UCONN and two WNBL Championships (2019, 2020) with the UC Capitals in Australia during her WNBA offseasons. The sharpshooter was named the 2020 WNBL MVP after leading the league in scoring (20.9), finishing just ahead of Mercury teammate Brianna Turner, and becoming the WNBL’s first import player to win the award. A member of the Canadian National Team, Nurse also helped guide the Canadians to an Olympic berth during FIBA Olympic qualifiers in Belgium last year and represented Canada at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (played in 2021).
Led by the 2021 Olympic gold-medal winning quartet of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Tina Charles and coming off the club’s fifth WNBA Finals appearance in franchise history, the three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury return to Footprint Center this summer, tipping off the season with Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 6, against the Las Vegas Aces.