By Parmida Schahhosseini
The Griner Era has begun in Phoenix. The Mercury drafted Brittney Griner with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft on Monday night.
The Mercury are already promoting the “Griner Pack,” which is a sale on three lower-level tickets, including Griner’s debut on May 27, and an autographed photo of Griner for $142.
Injuries hurt the Mercury last year. The team finished with a 7-27 record, the second-worst in the league.
Griner will be playing along with All-Stars, including Diana Taurasi.
Taurasi only played eight games last season, and forward Penny Taylor injured her ACL and missed the entire season.
Forward Candice Dupree missed 21 games due to a knee injury. With most of the key scorers gone, the extra pressure hurt Phoenix’s defense.
The Mercury allowed .437 percent from the floor, while only shooting .384 percent last season while getting outscored by an average of 12.2 points per game. The turnovers didn’t help the Mercury get wins, with the team turning the ball over 561 times last season compared to the 455 turnovers committed by its opponents.
Despite the losses last year, the talent is there. The only missing link on their team is a low post player who can play offense, and Griner will bring that. With Taurasi on the floor, opposing teams will need to pick their poison.
“Definitely looking forward to the freedom,” Griner said. “Opening it up a little bit more, no more three people around me the entire game.”
Griner’s size and athletic ability will allow the Mercury to speed up their transition offense, limiting the extra passes. This will allow their offense to be more efficient.
Despite the struggles, the Mercury are two-time WNBA Champions.
The Mercury will try and continue their winning ways with Griner, who was named to four All-American teams, including the Associated Press, in addition to being named the Associated Press Player of the Year.
Griner has had a historic collegiate career, setting NCAA records for dunks by a female at 18 and blocked shots at 748.
Griner also ranks No. 2 in NCAA career scoring with 3,283 points.
In addition to Griner, Delaware forward Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins were the remaining players of ESPN’s “3 to See.”
Diggins was drafted No. 3 overall by the Tulsa Shock.
“[The] good thing is at this point, we’re all pros and we know the game,” Diggins said. “It’s a matter of us setting into a system. We have a lot of players that are skilled, and we have a coach that’s excited for this team.”
Diggins is the first player to reach 2,000 points, 500 assists and 500 rebounds in a career. Diggins also took Notre Dame to three Final Four appearances and two National Title games.
The Chicago Sky, with the No. 2 overall pick, drafted Delle Donne.
“This is definitely a dream for me, and I’m so thrilled to be continuing my basketball career in Chicago,” Delle Donne said.
Delle Donne finished her collegiate career with 3,006 career points while shooting 41.5 percent from the 3-point line, carrying a team that lost in the first two rounds in previous years to the Sweet Sixteen her junior and senior years for Delaware.
In addition to Delle Donne, the Chicago Sky also drafted Baylor’s Brooklyn Pope with the 28th pick. Pope enjoyed her best season as a Lady Bear with 10.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game last season.