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PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury earned its first All-Star representation of the year, as the Mercury coaching staff today earned coaching duties in the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game on Saturday, July 28, in Minneapolis. Head Coach Sandy Brondello, along with assistant coaches Julie Hairgrove and Todd Troxel, will make their second appearance as a staff at All-Star Weekend (2015), by virtue of guaranteeing to have one of the league’s top two records on July 13.
“We’re really excited to be going to the All-Star game this year,” said Brondello. “It means we’re one of the top-two teams in the league, and that’s right where we want to be at this point in the season. It’ll be a great opportunity for our staff to go and have some fun with some of the best players in the world.”
Coaching staff’s for this year’s All-Star game were selected based on records, with the top-two teams in the league this season earning the nod to coach the WNBA’s 22-best players in the Twin Cities. The Mercury currently rank second in the league with a 14-7 record, trailing only the Seattle Storm (15-6), whose coaching staff led by Dan Hughes will coach the opposing team in the All-Star Game. Brondello, Hairgrove and Troxel also served as coaches in the 2015 WNBA All-Star Game under the league’s old format where the prior year’s conference champions earned the coaching spots.
“It’s pretty amazing to get to go coach against Dan,” added Brondello. “He gave me my first opportunity to coach in the WNBA, which I’m forever grateful for. He’s a great guy and we’ll go out there and have some fun and enjoy the All-Star weekend.”
Brondello has guided the Mercury to its third-best start in franchise history this season, totaling 14 wins in the team’s first 21 games of the season. She was recently named WNBA Coach of the Month after leading Phoenix to a league-best 11-2 record in June, tying the franchise record for most wins in a month (11 in July 2014). Additionally, the team’s eight-game win streak to begin the month of June is the longest win streak of this year’s WNBA season and marks the second-longest win streak in franchise history.
In this year’s new All-Star format, the top-two players with the most votes will be announced as captains on Tuesday, July 17. The captains will select their 11-player teams out of the given player pool, and rosters will be announced on Thursday, July 19 prior to the Washington Mystics at Dallas Wings game on ESPN2. Coaches and captains will select their starting lineups on Friday, July 28 live on ESPN2 at the WNBA All-Star Welcome Reception.
WNBA all-time leading scorer Diana Taurasi and 2017 WNBA scoring champion Brittney Griner return to Phoenix this summer to lead the Mercury in a quest for the franchise’s WNBA-record tying fourth championship. Tickets to the Mercury’s next home game on Thursday, July 19 against Las Vegas and the rest of the Mercury’s 2018 home games are on sale NOW and can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.