On Friday, the WNBA announced that Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello was named the 2014 WNBA Coach of the year. Brondello just finished her first year in Phoenix, where she led the Mercury to a 29-5 season, where the team won more regular season games than any other in league history. In addition, this is a 10 win improvement over the 2013 team, which had nearly the same core.
In addition, the Mercury was first in team offensive and defensive ratings for the 2014 season, both improvements from 2013, where Phoenix was fourth and tenth, respectively.
Voting for the Coach of the Year award was a landslide in Brondello's favor:
|33||Sandy Brondello||Phoenix Mercury|
|2||Cheryl Reeve||Minnesota Lynx|
|2||Mike Thibault||Washington Mystics|
|1||Michael Cooper||Atlanta Dream|
Since Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve and Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault were tied for second place, albeit with two points each, here are some possible reasons why they have a case.
In Reeve's case, she was missing a number of her top players, as Rebekkah Brunson, Seimone Augustus, Monica Wright, and Devereaux Peters all missed a considerable number of games during the 2014 season. Despite those injuries, Minnesota still ended up with a 25-9 record, which could easily be a first place finish in the West if Phoenix did not have its record breaking season.
In Thibault's case, he made some significant changes to the Mystics' roster, where 2013 starters Matee Ajavon and Crystal Langhorne were traded, and opted to go with a younger lineup. And as we mentioned before, even though this team is younger, the Mystics still managed to produce one of the best defensive units in the WNBA. Yes, Washington finished with a 16-18 record, one game worse than the year before, most did not expect them to play the way they did.
Even with Reeve's and Thibault's accomplishments, Brondello's performance stands out more. And this is definitely a well-deserved honor for her.