Mercury to open 2018 season at home vs. Dallas on May 18
PHOENIX –– The Phoenix Mercury will tip off their 22nd season on Friday, May 18, hosting the Dallas Wings at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
The Mercury’s schedule, announced Thursday, features nine of the team’s final 11 games at home – including the final five. The season will conclude on Aug. 19 – a compressed schedule to accommodate the 2018 World Championships.
The 17-game home schedule features five games on Friday, three on Sunday and Wednesday, two apiece on Saturday, Thursday and Tuesday.
The Mercury will have two home games apiece against Chicago, Connecticut, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington and Las Vegas (formerly San Antonio), and one home game against Atlanta, Dallas, Indiana, Los Angeles and New York. They will be away for nine of 13 games in the month of June.
Two Mercury games have been selected for ESPN2 – June 1 at Minnesota and Aug. 12 vs. Los Angeles. The local television schedule will be announced at a later date.
The Mercury will again be led by All-Stars Diana Taurasi, the league’s all-time scoring leader, and center Brittney Griner. They have re-signed forwards Camille Little and Emma Cannon and guard Yvonne Turner and bolstered the front court by signing free agent forward Sancho Lyttle.
The 6-foot-2 Little started all 34 games for the Mercury last season, averaging 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. Turner averaged 5.1 points per game, and Cannon contributed 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 Lyttle, 34, has played for the Atlanta Dream for the past nine seasons and is a six-time selection on the WNBA All-Defensive team. She averaged 8.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season, in line with her career averaged of 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
“Sancho was our top free-agent target outside our own roster and we are truly excited that she chose Phoenix,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “The last two WNBA MVPs have been elite frontcourt players from Western Conference teams and their clubs have won championships. It takes elite defensive frontcourt players to compete with that, and to pair Sancho with Brittney Griner is ideal for us. Sancho has won everywhere she has played, our goal is to win a championship, and we are confident this move gets us closer.”
Lyttle was a first-team All-Defensive selection in 2012 and 2014 and a second-team selection in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015. She was a teammate of Taurasi and Griner for the UMMC Ekaterinburg team in Russia.
“I was fortunate to coach Sancho in Russia for several years, and she is a true pro,” said Mercury Head Coach Sandy Brondello. “She knows where to be on both ends, she has championship experience all over the world, and she makes her teammates better. I’ve seen her play with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, and I know how well she will fit in with our team and how much better she will make us.”
The Mercury traded forward Cayla George to the Connecticut Sun for a 2018 second-round draft pick and dealt forward Kelsey Bone, who sat out the 2017 season, to the Las Vegas Aces for a 2018 third-round draft pick and a 2019 second-round pick. Phoenix holds four picks in the 2018 draft: Phoenix now holds four picks in the 2018 WNBA Draft: 8th (first round), 20th and 21st (second) and 26th (third).
2018 PHOENIX MERCURY SCHEDULE
Friday, May 18 – Dallas, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 20 – at Seattle, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, May 23 – Seattle, 7 p.m.
Sunday, May 27 – at Los Angeles, 2 p.m.
Wednesday, May 30 – Washington, 7 p.m.
Friday, June 1 – at Minnesota, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sunday, June 3 – at Atlanta, noon
Tuesday, June 5 – at New York, 8 a.m.
Friday, June 8 – Chicago, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 10 – Las Vegas, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, June 12 – at Dallas, 5 p.m.
Saturday, June 16 – Connecticut, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 17 – at Las Vegas, 5 p.m.
Friday, June 22 – Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Sunday, June 24 – at Chicago, 3 p.m.
Tuesday, June 26 – at New York, 4 p.m.
Friday, June 29 – at Indiana, 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 30 – at Washington, 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 5 – Connecticut, 7 p.m.
Sunday, July 8 – at Atlanta, noon
Tuesday, July 10 – at Dallas, 5 p.m.
Friday, July 13 – at Connecticut, 4 p.m.
Sunday, July 15 – at Indiana, 2 p.m.
Thursday, July 19 – Las Vegas, 7 pm.
Saturday, July 21 – Minnesota, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, July 25 – Chicago, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 31 – Seattle, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 1 – at Las Vegas, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 5 – at Los Angeles, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 7 – Washington, 7 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 10 – Indiana, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 12 – Los Angeles, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Friday, Aug. 17 – Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 19 – New York, 3 p.m.