Festivities to include Olympic send-off for Taurasi

Mercury to Honor Legends
Jennifer Gillom and Bridget Pettis

Posted: July 21, 2004

The Phoenix Mercury will honor a pair of it’s brightest stars Saturday night inside America West Arena when retirees Jennifer Gillom and Bridget Pettis are recognized for their achievements in the WNBA, along with their contributions to the Phoenix franchise and the local community. The Mercury vs. Indiana Fever game will also mark the final home game for the Mercury prior to the Olympics and the evening will include Olympic tributes before the Mercury send stars Diana Taurasi (Team USA) and Penny Taylor (Team Australia) to Athens for August’s Olympic Games.

The Mercury, a charter franchise in the WNBA in 1997, built their team from the ground up. Jennifer Gillom was the first player assigned to the young team on January 22, 1997. On February 27, 1997 the WNBA held it’s first ever draft – the WNBA Elite Draft – where the Mercury used the seventh pick to select Bridget Pettis. This dynamic duo helped propel the club to great heights for years to come.

A gold medallist in the 1988 Olympics, Jennifer Gillom added veteran leadership to the Mercury roster immediately upon her arrival to the WNBA. A six-year veteran of the Mercury, Gillom shined brightly with the club leading her team to the 1998 WNBA Finals and finished her Mercury career averaging 15.3 points per game. In 1998, Gillom flourished with 20.8 points per game and was named to the All-WNBA First Team. In 1999, she followed up with another stellar performance, thus earning her a spot on the Inaugural WNBA All-Star Team.

Known to fans as the most energetic and enthusiastic player to ever don a Mercury uniform, Bridget Pettis, was a fan favorite during her five seasons in Phoenix. The 5’9” guard was regularly seen on the court pounding her chest, screaming with the fans and dancing with the Hip Hop Squad following games. Over the course of 154 games with the Mercury, the dynamic guard posted career averages of 8.0 points and 1.8 assists per game.

The Mercury will honor Gillom and Pettis Saturday night with a limited edition “Legends” poster to be distributed to the first 5,000 fans. The pair will also be available for autographs following the game.

Prior to the start of Saturday’s WNBA game, the Mercury will send off Olympians Taurasi and Taylor as well as Indiana’s Tamika Catchings (Team USA). Former Olympians also in attendance Saturday evening will include Lynda Tolbert-Good of the 1996 track and field team as well as Amanda Bordon (captain and gold medallist) of the 1996 gymnastics team. The Olympians will be recognized in a special ceremony at halftime. In celebration of the Olympics, a WNBA league banner that will accompany Taurasi and Team USA to the August 5 “All-Star Game” at Radio City Music Hall will be available for fans to sign inside the America West Arena Pavilion prior to the start of Saturday’s game.

In August, the WNBA will take a one-month hiatus for the 2004 Olympic Games and the Mercury will return to America West Arena on Saturday, September 4 for the final stretch of the season. For a complete Mercury schedule or for additional ticket information, CLICK HERE!.