Phoenix, AZ — With a Washington Mystics loss to the Atlanta Dream just hours before, the Phoenix Mercury fortunately locked in a playoff spot before the whistle even blew at tonight’s contest versus the Seattle Storm.
With a little less pressure weighing them down, the Mercury tipped their hats to veteran Penny Taylor – who will retire at the end of this season – with an 86-62 win at home.
““It [tonight] was just lovely,” Taylor said. “Obviously, being here a long time there’s a lot of memories. I have a lot of affection for everyone with the club, all my players. I’ve seen these fans for over ten years. It’s very special. I’ve been here more than I’ve been in Australia in my whole adult life. So, it really is home for me and it was really lovely of everyone to acknowledge it and appreciate what I’ve tried to do and I in turn got to thank them.”
Taylor capped off her final regular season home game with eight points, two rebounds, and two assists to add to an already impressive resume from top to bottom. The Aussie will walk away with her name plastered all over franchise history record boards.
She finds herself among other WNBA legends, as she entered tonight’s game ranked third in Phoenix Mercury history in points, second in steals, second in 3-point field goals, second in games started and fourth in rebounds.
Despite missing nine games due to a hip injury earlier this season, there is no doubt Taylor embodied the saying that goes a little something like this: “minor setback, major comeback.” She went on to compete in the 2016 Olympic games for her home country of Australia and averaged over 15 points per game in Rio.
Prior to tonight (Sept. 15) versus a hot Seattle squad, who has won four straight games, the Mercury found themselves on the negative end of a streak dropping their last four of five.
Taylor was one who helped put this slump to a halt. She is a 15-year product of the WNBA, first making her debut in 2001. Some may argue Taylor was cheated out of the WNBA Top 20, that the league unveiled this season, but those who have followed her career closely know that does not take away from the remarkable stint she pieced together.
You will find her name in the top five in nearly every statistical category for the 2016 campaign, but her impact on the game and beyond will carry on.
For someone who picked up a basketball at age four, it certainly shows today. Not just her finesse on the court but her genuine passion and go-getter demeanor. It is to no surprise she also is a three-time WNBA champion, two-time Olympic silver medalist, and three-time WNBA all-star to her name. Not to mention, a 2007 All-WNBA First Team nod and 2011 All-WNBA Second Team nod.
Of course, a Mercury win cannot happen without the five players on the floor – but Penny Taylor deserves mad props for this one and the many that led up to this moment.
“Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi, oi, oi!”