Phoenix keeps MVP of 2006 World Championships

Mercury re-sign Penny Taylor

“She’s the MVP of the world championships, a vital piece of our plan here, and we had to have her back," said GM Ann Meyers Drysdale of Thursday's re-signing of Penny Taylor.
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PHOENIX, March 8, 2007 – The Phoenix Mercury kept one of the league’s highest profile free agents, signing forward Penny Taylor to a contract, the club announced today.

“It’s Penny Taylor,” said Mercury General Manager Ann Meyers Drysdale. “She’s the MVP of the world championships, a vital piece of our plan here, and we had to have her back. Offensively, with Diana [Taurasi], Cappie [Pondexter] and Penny, we feel like we have a ‘Big Three.’ We’re ecstatic.”

The six-year WNBA veteran returns to the highest scoring offense in league history to form the league’s most dynamic scoring trio alongside Diana Taurasi, who owns the WNBA’s single-season scoring record, and Cappie Pondexter, the second-highest scoring rookie in league history. Despite playing a shortened third season with Phoenix in 2006, Taylor enjoyed a career year, averaging a career-high 13.9 points and a personal-best 5.7 rebounds in just 20 games. Phoenix was 6-2 in eight starts by the 6-1, 163-pound Australian, who played mostly power forward in 2006.

Following the 2006 WNBA season, Taylor led the Australian women’s national team to the nation’s first world title, a gold medal in the 2006 World Championships in Brazil. Taylor, who scored a game-high 28 points in the clinching game, was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

Taylor was originally the 11th overall pick of the Cleveland Rockers in 2001 and joined the Mercury as the club’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 Dispersal Draft. The Melbourne, Australia native owns WNBA career averages of 11.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 178 total games. Taylor is currently playing for Schio in Italy.

Winners of a franchise-best seven straight to finish 2006, the Phoenix Mercury look to pick up where they left off led by All-Stars Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter in the record-shattering offense of head coach Paul Westhead. Under the direction of new general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale, the Mercury own the No. 1 overall pick in the April 4 WNBA Draft. Phoenix opens its 11th WNBA season on Saturday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m. at US Airways Center against the San Antonio Silver Stars.