Mercury Re-Signs Lisa Harrison
The Mercury announced today that former player and assistant coach Lisa Harrison has re-joined the team after a one-year retirement. Harrison joined head coach Carrie Graf’s staff for the 2004 season after it was determined that surgery would be required on both knees. Harrison spent the entire offseason and training camp trying to rehabilitate her knees to a point that would allow her to return to the court.
“It was very difficult for me watch the team from the sidelines last season,” said the five-year WNBA veteran. “I really wanted to be out there helping my teammates on the court and I felt last year that, if my body would allow, I wanted to return as a player.
“It has been a tough nine months of recovery and rehab but I feel my knees are going to be as good as they’re going to get and I want to give this a chance. I liked my experience coaching but feel I have more to offer as a player.”
The move brings the Mercury roster to 11 active players while Penny Taylor and Kamila Vodichkova will begin the season on the suspended list.
Harrison, played for Phoenix from 1999 – 2003, but retired in 2004 because of knee injuries. In five seasons with the Mercury, Harrison averaged 6.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game in 160 career games. Her best season came in 2002 when she averaged 8.2 points and 3.9 rebounds per game.
“We are really happy as an organization that Lisa has been able successfully recover from her injuries and return to the team as a player,” said Mercury general manager Seth Sulka. “She is the consummate professional athlete and although she contributed to our success as an assistant coach last year, we feel that we will be much better off as a team with her as a player.”
Harrison is one of three players on the Mercury roster who have playoff experience. In the 2000 playoffs, she averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds in two games against Los Angeles.
Harrison joined the Mercury after being acquired as a third round pick (34th overall) in the 1999 WNBA draft. Harrison played collegiate ball at Tennessee where she was a Kodak All-American and First Team All-SEC selection in 1993. She was also a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award during her senior season in 1993. Harrison played professionally in the ABL, playing one season for the Columbus Quest (1996-97) and two seasons for the Portland Power (1997-99).
Harrison also was the 1989 High School Player of the Year by Parade magazine, USA Today, Converse, Gatorade and Naismith. She was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletics Association’s Hall of Fame in 1998 and was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.