The Mercury continued an aggressive offseason of roster improvements with a draft-night trade, plus two additional picks, in tonight’s 2020 WNBA Draft, conducted remotely both by teams and the league for the first time ever. In this unique year and unprecedented set-up, General Manager Jim Pitman and Head Coach Sandy Brondello worked from Pitman’s dining room table in Phoenix and dealt the 10th overall pick (first round) to the New York Liberty in exchange for three-year veteran guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough.
Walker-Kimbrough, who had been acquired by the Liberty earlier in the week in the Tina Charles trade, won the 2019 WNBA Championship with the Washington Mystics. She joins the Mercury along with Baylor’s Te’a Cooper, selected 18th overall by Phoenix, and Rider’s Stella Johnson, picked 29th overall (third round) tonight.
A 5-9 guard, Walker-Kimbrough has spent her career with Washington after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 WNBA Draft. On a guard-heavy roster with the Mystics, she posted career averages of 5.2 points and 1.2 rebounds, and is a career 31.5-percent three-point shooter. Walker-Kimbrough has made 90.9 percent of her career free-throw attempts, one of only two players in WNBA history to hold a career free throw percentage of at least 90 percent (min. 100 attempts), joining Elena Delle Donne.
After being named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team in 2017, Walker-Kimbrough has continued to improve over the last two seasons, most recently averaging career highs in points (5.2), rebounds (1.6) and assists (1.2) in 34 games during the 2019 season. She knocked down a career-best 22 three-pointers and shot 93 percent (53-for-57) from the charity stripe.
Prior to her WNBA career, Walker-Kimbrough was a three-year standout at the University of Maryland. There, she was a two-time AP All-America Third Team selection (2016, 2017), three-time All-Big Ten First Team member (2015, 2016, 2017) and a Top 20 finalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award in 2015.
A 5-8 guard, Cooper is coming of a senior campaign at Baylor in which she averaged a career-high 13.6 points, 4.6 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 30 games for the Lady Bears. She knocked down a career-best 56 three-pointer on the season at a 41.5-percent clip and was named to the All-Big 12 First Team, was the Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year and earned All-America Honorable Mention honors during her lone season in Waco. Prior to Baylor, Cooper spent the 2018-19 season with South Carolina where she started in 28 of the 30 games she appeared in for the Gamecocks. She was named to the All-SEC Second Team after averaging 11.9 points and a career-best 2.5 rebounds per game. The former co-MVP of the 2015 McDonald’s All-American game began her collegiate at career Tennessee where she appeared in 36 games during her freshman season.
Johnson, a 5-10 guard out of Rider, is coming off one of the most impressive seasons in the country after leading the NCAA in scoring at 24.8 points per game this year. The New Jersey native grabbed a career-best 7.6 rebounds per game and shot 47 percent (261-for-555) from the field. Johnson was named a 2020 All-American Honorable Mention and was one of five finalists for the 2020 Lieberman Award as the nation’s top point guard. She finished her collegiate career as the only active D-I player with at least 2,000 career points, 700 rebounds, 400 assists and 300 steals with four-year averages of 17.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.7 steals per game.
Professional basketball returns to The Madhouse, 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 Tickets can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.