Announced this morning, Phoenix Mercury head coach Sandy Brondello was named the 2014 WNBA Coach of the Year. She was accompanied in her accolade with player Brittney Griner who was awarded the 2014 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.
After leading the Phoenix Mercury to a WNBA-record 29 wins this season, first-year head coach Sandy Brondello became the first Coach of the Year award-winner in the franchise’s 18-year history.
“Sandy was the best offseason addition made by any WNBA team in 2014,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “While we could never have predicted winning a WNBA-record 29 games, we knew the kind of thorough, detail-oriented preparation Sandy would bring to our team, and much of our success has been a result of her hard work and valuable leadership.”
In addition to setting the league record for regular-season wins, Brondello led the Phoenix Mercury to the second-longest win streak in WNBA history, a 16-game stretch from June 15 – July 29. The Mercury also established franchise records for the highest winning percentage in a season (29-5, .853), best home record (16-1), longest home winning streak (15 games, active), best road record (13-4), and longest road winning streak (7 games, June 15 – July 24).
Following the best shot-blocking season in WNBA history, Brittney Griner was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Griner set WNBA records this season for blocks in a season (129) and blocks in single-game (11). Griner becomes the first Defensive Player of the Year winner in the Phoenix Mercury’s 18-year history.
The 6-foot-8 center’s dominant 2014 regular season featured more total blocked shots than eight of the other 11 teams in the WNBA, and 72 blocked shots—or over 2.00 per game—more than Chicago Sky forward Jessica Breland, who finished second in the league in blocks. Former Utah Starzz center Margo Dydek blocked 114 shots in 1998, a league record that stood for 16 seasons until Griner broke it in just 28 games in 2014 (Dydek’s record was set in 30 games).
Griner and the Phoenix Mercury begin their best-of-three Western Conference Semifinal series against the Los Angeles Sparks tonight at 7 p.m. at US Airways Center.
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