Australian Sharpshooter Signs with Mercury
The Phoenix Mercury have signed guard-forward Belinda Snell to a contract, general manager Seth Sulka announced today. Snell, who was a member of Australia’s Olympic team in Athens this past summer, is coming off a tremendous WNBL season where she led the Australian pro league in scoring with 20 points per game.
“I think Belinda is one of the top three-point shooters in the world,” said head coach Carrie Graf, who has coached against Snell in the WNBL. “But her game isn’t limited to outside shooting—she can rebound and pass the ball as well. She is a big part of Basketball Australia’s future and came up through the ranks at the same time other great players like Penny Taylor and Lauren Jackson.”
Snell recently finished the 2004-2005 WNBL season in Australia where her team lost in the Finals. She averaged 20.3 points per game (1st in league), 8.9 rebounds per game (6th in league) and 4.0 assists per game (3rd in league) while playing for the Sydney Uni Flames. Snell shot 42% from the field and 40% from three point range for the season. This season, Snell set a WNBL record with 54 points in a victory over Perth, breaking Julie Nykiel's 22-year-old record. In that game, Snell shot 12-21 from three-point range. Her 12 three-point baskets broke the previous record of eight, held by Mercury assistant coach Michelle Timms. In the victory, Snell also pulled down nine rebounds, dished out seven assists, and had nine steals in the game
“Snell is a great young player that has played most of her adult basketball alongside two of the best players in the world in Penny Taylor and Lauren Jackson with the Australian national team,” said general manager Seth Sulka. “She has a good all-around game but what stands out is her long-distance shooting ability. And as former Suns’ legendary coach Cotton Fitzsimmons said to me a thousand times ‘you can’t ever have enough shooters’.”
As a member of the silver medal-winning Australian team at the 2004 Olympics, Snell averaged 5.1 points and 4.4 rebounds playing in all eight games. In a loss to the United States in the gold medal game, Snell had 6 points on 2-6 shooting (in 15 minutes off the bench)
"I am really excited to play in the WNBA and especially with the Mercury,” said Snell. “I grew up watching Michele Timms play and have seen (head coach) Graffie coach in the Olympics and in our league here. I hope that I can help the Mercury win a WNBA championship and with players like Penny Taylor and Diana Taurasi, I think we will have a chance.”
The Mercury begin the 2005 season at home on Saturday, May 21, when they host the Sacramento Monarchs at 7 p.m. inside America West Arena. Mercury fans have the opportunity to see their favorite WNBA team in action through all 17 regular season home games this summer with the purchase of a full season ticket plan. Season tickets are available in a variety of packages. For information on Mercury season tickets, CLICK HERE or call (602)-379-7878.