Mercury Signs Free Agents Marie Ferdinand-Harris and Nakia Sanford

Marie Ferdinand-Harris and Nakia Sanford signed with the Phoenix Mercury
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PHOENIX- The Phoenix Mercury has signed free agents Marie Ferdinand-Harris and Nakia Sanford, the club announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.

�We wanted to get better this offseason, as every team wants to do,� head coach Corey Gaines said. �We decided to go with veterans and players who are established and proven contributors in this league.�

�These two signings make us one of the deepest teams in the league,� 2009 WNBA MVP Diana Taurasi said. �Marie is one of the most explosive scorers of all time, and will fit right in with our running style. Nakia will give us a tough, relentless attitude to go along with her rebounding and finishing moves around the basket. We are all very excited for a promising season.�

Entering her 10th WNBA season, Ferdinand-Harris joins the Mercury after spending the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks. The 5-9 guard holds career averages of 10.2 points, 1.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting 41.0 percent from the field.

�Marie is a scoring veteran who fits our style and will give us firepower in the half court and in transition,� Gaines said about the versatile scorer.

The three-time WNBA All-Star was originally selected eighth overall in the 2001 WNBA Draft by the Utah Starzz, who relocated to San Antonio in 2003. She holds the Silver Stars� franchise record with 246 steals in six seasons with the club despite missing the 2006 season due to the birth of her son, Cedrick.

A 2001 graduate of Louisiana State University, Ferdinand-Harris will join fellow LSU alum Temeka Johnson (2005) in the Mercury�s backcourt. One of only three LSU players to record at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 200 steals in her career, Ferdinand-Harris was inducted into the LSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and was also honored as one of the Southeastern Conference �Greats� that same year.

Sanford joins the Mercury after eight seasons with the Washington Mystics. Undrafted out of college, the 6-4 center/forward was signed by Washington as a free agent in 2003.

�Sanford is a physical post presence that does all of the dirty work that doesn�t necessarily show up on the stat sheet,� Gaines said.

Sanford holds career averages of 6.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 49.3 percent from the field. In 2007 she set career highs in nearly every statistical category including 11.0 points on 53.0 percent shooting and 7.1 rebounds per game.

The 2003 University of Kansas graduate finished her college career ranked fourth on the school�s all-time rebounding charts (832) and fourth on the career blocked shots list (89).