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Can Griner, Taurasi lead Phoenix’s new wave of talent?

This year Phoenix has a ton of new faces, but two familiar faces that everyone will have their eyes on is Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. How far can they carry the team this year?

Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner lead the Phoenix Mercury to win in the WNBA Playoffs David Dow - Getty Images

“We Will Be Heard.”

It’s the strong and memorable campaign for the Mercury’s 2017-18 season that describes the promising squad well. In an announcement posted on the Mercury’s site, the organization explains their decision for this year’s motto.

“The mantra emphasizes the Mercury’s commitment to having our impact felt both on the court and in our community, while fostering an environment of inclusion and acceptance for fans and players alike.”

Coached by former Australian Olympian Sandy Brondello, Phoenix is looking to win their fourth WNBA championship and they have all of the tools that they need to achieve it. The team is led by 2016 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Diana Taurasi, who is just 178 points away from becoming the all-time leading scorer in WNBA history.

Phoenix also has Britney Griner, a former Baylor center and the number one overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft. Griner also just signed a multi-year contract with Phoenix, securing her prowess for the Mercury in the coming years.

In addition to having these forces in the league back in orange and purple, Phoenix picked up some new talent, too. Griner is joined by fellow Baylor Lady Bear alumna, super star Alexis Prince, who was selected by the Mercury in the third round of the draft as the 29th pick.

Prince is joining Phoenix after coming off of her best season with the Lady Bears. The 6-foot-2-wing player averaged 8.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in 136 career games in which she started in 86 of.

Their successful lineup doesn’t end there, though. Phoenix also acquired a few key players for this upcoming season. New additions include All-Star Danielle Robinson and 10-year veteran Camille Little.

Robinson was picked up from the San Antonio Stars and is a five-foot-nine guard best known for her unmatched speed on both ends of the court. She was traded in exchange for center Isabelle Harrison and the Mercury’s 2017 first-round pick (fifth overall).

Little was acquired in a three-team trade that included the Mercury, Connecticut Sun and Indiana Fever. Phoenix picked up standout forward Camille Little from the Sun. According to a release by the Mercury, “as part of the deal, Phoenix sent forward Candice Dupree and the 17th overall pick (second round) of the 2017 WNBA Draft to Indiana, and the Fever sent forward Lynetta Kizer and the 8th overall pick (first round) of the 2017 draft to Connecticut.”

Other additions to this squad include, Shay Murphy, a 5-foot-11 guard, Leilani Mitchell, an outstanding three-point shooter and key player from the Mercury’s 2015 team, Yvonne Turner, the EuroLeague scorer who averaged 19.7 points per game, Emma Cannon, the best scorer in the Russian League with an average of 20.8 points per game, Stephanie Talbot, a 6-foot-2 versatile player from Australia’s WNBL and Cayla George, whose range makes her one of the most dangerous shooters in the league.

Despite these major gains on their roster, the Mercury is sad to see DeWanna Bonner out due to pregnancy, but stated that they’re happy for her and this major life step for her and looking forward to having her back for the 2018 season.

The Mercury went 1-1 in their preseason contest against the Seattle Storm and their regular season begins this Sunday, May 14, against the Dallas Wings at 3 p.m. MT at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. The Mercury leads the league in game attendance and will play on their home court a total of 17 times during their 34-game slate.