Franchise Uses First Overall Pick to Draft WNBA All-Star

Phoenix Selects Penny Taylor in Dispersal Draft

Phoenix, Ariz., Jan. 6 -- The Phoenix Mercury used the first overall pick in today�s WNBA Dispersal Draft to select 6�1� forward Penny Taylor. The WNBA�s Dispersal Draft was held via conference call Tuesday afternoon to disseminate players from the now-defunct Cleveland Rockers franchise.

Taylor, a native of Melbourne, Australia, was originally drafted by the Cleveland Rockers 11th overall in the 2001 WNBA Draft. After three seasons with the Rockers, Taylor boasts career averages of 10.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. In 2002, Taylor was named a WNBA All-Star and averaged 13 points and 5.3 rebounds on the season.

�Penny is a great young player at her position and when we take a look at our team, we really need to get stronger at the perimeter,� said Mercury General Manager Seth Sulka. �Coach Shumate and I spoke with Penny this morning and she is 100% committed to playing here in Phoenix.�

Currently playing in Schio, Italy, the 22-year old Taylor couldn�t contain her enthusiasm to be drafted first by the Mercury.

�I wanted to go to a team where I thought I could make an impact - to be a scorer and to become a better player. My primary goal is to help the team and win games,� said Taylor from her apartment in Italy. �In a perfect situation, it came about that Phoenix is the place where I could do all of those things as well as being able to play on a great team that has a positive look to the future.

�At the moment I�m playing with (Mercury center) Slobodanka Tuvic. She�s a really smart basketball player and the more we play together, the more excited I am about playing with her in the WNBA,� said Taylor.

Last season, Taylor posted career bests in scoring (33, vs. Phoenix, August 1) and assists (6, vs. New York, August 17). Nicknamed �PJ�, Taylor has been a member of the Australian National Team since 1998.

2004 Dispersal Draft Results
Team (2003 Record) Player Pos Ht
1. Phoenix (8-26) Penny Taylor F 6-1
2. Washington (9-25) Chasity Melvin C/F 6-3
3. San Antonio (12-22) LaToya Thomas F 6-2
4. New York (16-18) Ann Wauters C 6-4
5. Indiana (16-18) Deanna Jackson F 6-2
6. Seattle (18-16) Betty Lennox G 5-8
7. Minnesota (18-16) Helen Darling G 5-6
8. Houston from Connecticut (18-16) Pollyanna Johns Kimbrough C 6-3
9. Charlotte (18-16) Mery Andrade F 6-0
10. Sacramento (19-15) Jennifer Butler C 6-3
11. Houston (20-14) Lucienne Berthieu F/C 6-0
12. Los Angeles (24-10) Isabelle Fijalkowski C 6-5
13. Detroit (25-9) Jennifer Rizzotti G 5-6