About 1,000 Turn Out for Mercury Celebration

By Mark Heller
East Valley Tribune
Sept. 18, 2007

They hooted and hollered, screamed and sang. Then unveiled their first WNBA championship banner.

A crowd of nearly 1,000 crammed into the US Airways plaza Tuesday afternoon to welcome back the Mercury and rejoice in the team's title, captured Sunday in Detroit with a Game 5 rout of the defending champion Shock.

"The goal was accomplished," general manager Ann Meyers Drysdale said.

The hour-long festivities featured speeches from Mercury president Jay Perry, Meyers Drysdale, coach Paul Westhead, former player and assistant Bridget Pettis, and the team's three All-Stars: Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor.

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Taylor drew the loudest ovation, while Westhead went his typical philosophical way by referencing John Wooden.

Fans also chanted for Westhead to return next summer, as he's been linked to possibly joining close friend and new Seattle Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo as an assistant. Taurasi joked that Westhead signed a five-year contract extension.

The Mercury even persuaded former Mercury star and current Phoenix Xavier girls basketball coach Jennifer Gillom on stage for the team's final rendition of its theme song, "Mighty Mercury."

"These are 12 talented individuals who became the best team in America," Westhead said.

COPYRIGHT 2007, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.