Mercury Fall Short, Pringle Again Solid
But while it would seem a return to the hardwoon has come easy, the forward/center said her rehabilitation process has been anything but.
“It’s really been a lot harder than I expected,” Pringle said of the recovery. “On the court, it’s just been about getting the confidence back in terms of my knee and what I’m able to do out there. It’s a process and I’m working hard at it.”
In her first three games as a pro, the North Carolina product has been impressive to say the least. In her WNBA debut against Los Angeles, Pringle blocked three shots in a Phoenix win over the Sparks. In Seattle, the she rejected five shots, while also managing to pull down seven boards.
On Saturday, Pringle was at it again, swatting five of the defending Easter Conference Champions' attempts for the second-consecutive contest while also pitching in eight points and six rebounds. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that Pringle is doing it in limited action, playing just over 20 minutes in the contest against Detroit and just over 50 minutes between the three games total.
“We still have to limit her in terms of her minutes, but there’s no doubt LaToya could be big for us down the stretch,” Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines said. “Having a player like her with shot blocking and rebounding capabilities – plus being a scorer down low - is going to be incredibly valuable.”
In the meantime, Pringle will continue to work on completing her recovery, a process for which the German native says she has received full support.
“It’s been tough," she said. "Sitting at home and not being able to contribute, I was really upset with myself. I did not expect it to be this hard, but the coaches and players continuously reminded me they wanted me back but to make sure I didn’t try and come back too soon. They really helped in making the process a little easier.”
DADDY’S DATE NIGHT
Saturday afternoon’s contest was the first of three Daddy’s Date Night promotions at US Airways Center this season. Fathers were encouraged to bring their daughters for a day of good food, good entertainment and a chance to meet-and-greet several of their favorite Mercury players before the game. Following the contest, the duos in attendance also had the opportunity to compete on the court in a Father-Daughter Two Ball Tournament.
The festivities brought back memories for several Mercury players, including guard Kelly Mazzante, who to this day remains close with both of her parents.
“My parents have supported me since day one and I always look forward to the next time I see them,” PhoenixMercury.com's resident blogger said.
The sharpshooter out of Penn State says she expects her parents to be in attendance at some point during the Mercury’s upcoming East Coast swing, but that their presence will not add pressure in terms of Maz's performance.
“I always want to do well when they make it out to see me," she said. "But I have done it enough times by now where it doesn’t make it any more difficult.”
ASU WOMEN’S SOFTBALL TEAM RECOGNIZED
From one champion to another, the Arizona State University Women’s Softball Team was recognized for their title efforts on Saturday afternoon. Several members of the NCAA team spent the time leading up to the game signing autographs in the Casino Arizona Pavilion, before being recognized on the court during a game timeout.
“It’s an honor to be able to come here and get support from fellow women athletes,” sophomore pitcher C.J. Carlson said.
Carlson was a key in ASU’s title run, appearing in all five games of the Women’s College World Series, including two starts. Carlson was also a large contributor at the plate, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs in the 11-0 contest which clinched the title for ASU.
“Last year we had barely gotten it going before being eliminated,” Carlson said. “I really feel this year we got our nerves calmed after that first game and we just battled uphill from there.”