The Phoenix Mercury reunited the trio that led them to the 2007 WNBA championship by re-signing forward Penny Taylor on Friday.
Taylor, who sat out all of the 2008 season in order to train with the Australian National Team in preparation for the Beijing Olympics, hopes to return to the Mercury lineup after the All-Star game on July 25. Taylor, who underwent reconstructive surgery on her left ankle this spring, will practice and train with the team until she gets back in playing shape.
In 2007, Taylor combined with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter to form the most prolific scoring trio in the WNBA and lead the Mercury to their first WNBA title.
“We’re extremely excited to bring back such a world-class player in Penny, who we know can contribute down the stretch to contend for another championship,” said Mercury general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale. “Penny is a versatile player who not only has the ability to be effective at multiple positions, but also understands our system offensively and defensively. We become an even better team with her on our roster.”
Taurasi (20.7 ppg) and Pondexter (19.9 ppg) currently lead the league in scoring, but Taylor provides a third dimension to the team. The eight-year veteran posted a career-high 17.8 points, career-best 6.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 29.7 minutes per game during the 2007 season. She also led the highest-scoring team in league history in field goal percentage, shooting 49.9 percent from the floor.
During the playoffs, Taylor averaged 19.3 points, a team-best 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists in a team-high 34.6 minutes per game. She started all nine postseason games for the Mercury, helping to lead Phoenix to a 7-2 record en route to the WNBA championship.
“It’s great to have Penny back. She’s proven that she can be a dominating presence in our system,” Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. “She’s an undeniable scoring threat and defensively makes our team better in the post.”
During Taylor's one-year WNBA hiatus, she led Australia to a 7-1 record in the Olympics and an appearance in the championship game against the U.S. team featuring Mercury teammates Taurasi and Pondexter.
Originally selected 11th overall by the Cleveland Rockers in the first round of the 2001 WNBA Draft, Taylor joined the Mercury with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 dispersal draft. The seven-year WNBA veteran owns career averages of 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 212 games.