Petra Ujhelyi, Telisha Quarles and Marion Jones selected in following rounds

Mercury Draft Plenette Pierson

Phoenix, AZ, April 25 - The Phoenix Mercury used the fourth pick in the first round of Friday's Seventh Annual WNBA Draft to select 6'2" forward/center Plenette Pierson. A 2003 graduate of Texas Tech University, Pierson is coming off a strong senior season where she was named to the All-Big 12 First Team. In the following rounds, the Mercury added depth to their roster when selecting 6'4" forward Petra Ujhelyi (2nd round, 16th overall), 5'8" guard Telisha Quarles (3rd round, 31st overall) and Olympic Gold Medallist Marion Jones (3rd round, 33rd overall).

A native of Kingwood, TX, Pierson averaged 15.4 points and 7.6 rebounds during her four-year college career. Her impressive 17.8 ppg and .510 (238-467) shooting from the field her senior season earned her AP All-America Third Team honors. During her senior season, Pierson led her team to a fourth NCAA Elite Eight appearance.

"Plenette Pierson is probably the most intense player in this year's college draft," said first-year Head Coach John Shumate. "She has great footwork and will be a great defensive player. There are some things that we will have to do to help her offensively, but clearly I think that she will have an outstanding career on this level."

In the second round, 16th overall, the Mercury selected 6'4" forward/center Petra Ujhelyi. Ujhelyi, a 2003 University of South Carolina grad finished as the SEC's regular season leading rebounder (9.3 rpg). During her four years at USC, Ujhelyi averaged 8.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Ujhelyi holds the school record for defensive rebounds in a season (198).

In the final round, the Mercury used their 28th overall pick to take Telisha Quarles. A 5'8" guard, Quarles posted averages of 10.8 points and 2.3 assists while playing at Virginia.

With their final pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft, Phoenix used the 30th overall pick, to select 5'11" guard Marion Jones. Jones, a 1997 grad of North Carolina, led the Tar Heels to an NCAA Championship in 1994. In three seasons at UNC, Jones averaged 16.8 ppg and dished out 4.0 assists per game. Labeled "The Fastest Women on the Planet", Jones is the first female in history to win five track and field medals in one Olympics: three gold and two bronze. The 27-year old Jones, averaged 22.8 points and 14.7 rebounds per game her senior season at Thousand Oaks High School in Camarillo, California.

According to Mercury General Manager Seth Sulka, "We needed some athleticism on the perimeter and I believe that with Marion Jones we got the best athlete in the world. I don't think too many people would argue that fact. She was part of the National Championship team at North Carolina and she really loves the game. When you have a chance to take a player that, besides her world-class sprinting job, is a great basketball player, then why not?"

The Mercury will tip-off their seventh season in the WNBA at 7pm on Thursday, May 22 inside America West Arena versus Yolanda Griffith and the Sacramento Monarchs. The Mercury continue their homestand on Saturday, May 24, playing host to Sheryl Swoopes and the Houston Comets at 7:00 p.m.