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.
2. 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.
3. JUNE 22, 1997 – A HISTORIC NIGHT
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. OCTOBER 11, 2005 – MERCURY TAB PAUL WESTHEAD AS HEAD COACH
Known for his run-and-gun style of offense, the Mercury hired Paul Westhead as the sixth head coach in the franchise’s history. After an 18-16 record in his first season, the Mercury won its first-ever WNBA championship in 2007 with Westhead at the helm. Westhead became the first coach to win a title in both the NBA and the WNBA.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 – MV-DEE
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).
11. 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.
12. MAY 27, 2013 – BG’s DUNKING DEBUT
After being selected by the Mercury with the first pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft on April 15, 2013, 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.
13. JUNE 29, 2014 – BRITTNEY’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.
14. JULY 19, 2014 – ALL-STAR SATURDAY
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.
15. JUNE 15 – July 29, 2014 – SWEET SIXTEEN
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.
16. AUGUST 22, 2014 – AWARDS NIGHT
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. The Mercury’s 29 wins marked the most regular season wins by a WNBA team in league history. Phoenix never suffered a losing stream the entire season, finishing 16-1 at home and 13-4 on the road.
17. AUGUST 24, 2014 – WNBA JAM – PLAYOFF EDITION
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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. JUNE 1, 2017 – DIANA TAURASI BECOMES WNBA’S ALL-TIME LEADER IN THREE-POINT MAKES
Playing on the road in Chicago, Diana Taurasi became the WNBA’s all-time leader in three-point makes in the Mercury’s 99-91 win against the Sky. Taurasi finished with 37 points in the win and matched her own WNBA record for three-point makes in a regular season game with eight.
21. JUNE 18, 2017 – ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER, DIANA TAURASI
Diana Taurasi scores her 7,489th career point to pass Tina Thompson as the WNBA’s all-time scoring leader. The basket came with 45.3 seconds remaining in the second quarter while playing on the road against the Los Angeles Sparks inside Staples Center.
22. JULY 23, 2017 – PENNY TAYLOR’S NO.13 TO THE RAFTERS
One of only two players to play on all three of the Mercury’s championship teams, Penny Taylor spent 10 of her 13 WNBA years with Phoenix. A three-time WNBA All-Star and two-time All-WNB First Team member, Taylor finished her career having played in the third-most games (259) in franchise history, ranked third in points (3,597), second in both assists (861) and steals (370) and fourth in rebounding (1,141). Her number became the fourth in franchise history to be retired.
23. FEBRUARY 12, 2020 – FOUR-TIME WNBA ALL-STAR SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH HEADS WEST
In a blockbuster trade with the Dallas Wings, the Mercury acquired four-time WNBA All-Star and four-time All-WNBA Team member, Skylar Diggins-Smith. One of the WNBA’s most prolific guards, Diggins-Smith went on to team with Diana Taurasi as the only two players to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and assists during the 2020 season. The former Notre Dame standout scored her 3,000th-career on September 5, 2020, becoming the fastest player to reach 3,000 career points, 900 assists and 500 rebounds (187 career games), the only player in league history to do it in fewer than 200 games.
24. AUGUST 23, 2020 – MAMBA MENTALITY
In memory of the late Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi wore a No. 8 ‘BRYANT’ jersey in the Mercury’s game on August 23, Kobe’s birthday, against the Washington Mystics. Deemed the ‘White Mamba’ by Kobe himself, Taurasi channeled her inner mamba mentality, knocking down seven three-pointers and scoring a season-high 34 points in the Mercury’s 88-87 win.
25. SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 – ‘PLAYOFF P’
The Mercury faced-off with the Washington Mystics in Round 1 of the WNBA Playoffs and absolutely no one could have envisioned what this game would bring. Signed 11 games into the season by Phoenix, Shey Peddy became the hero of the night in the closing seconds of the game. After two free throws by Leilani Mitchell to give the Mystics a two-point lead, the Mercury called a timeout, advancing the ball to the frontcourt. On the in-bound, Skylar Diggins-Smith drove left before a cross-court pass to Peddy in the corner. After a pump fake to send Mitchell by her, Peddy let it fly from behind the arc right as time expired and drained the shot. Phoenix won 85-84 to advance to the second round of the playoffs, while Peddy sent home the team who had cut her earlier in the season.