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Sophie Cunningham to re-sign with Phoenix Mercury

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sophie Cunningham is expected to re-sign with the Phoenix Mercury, her agent tells Just Women’s Sports. The exact details of the contract terms were not disclosed.

An unrestricted free agent, Cunningham also received offers from the Los Angeles Sparks and Indiana Fever before deciding to return to the Mercury.

The 6-foot-1 guard has become an integral part of Phoenix’s roster since the team drafted her 13th overall out of the University of Missouri in 2019. Starting in 20 of 83 game appearances with the Mercury during her three-year career, Cunningham improved in nearly every statistical category in 2021.

After averaging 5.6 points and two rebounds while shooting a career-best 41-percent from the 3-point line during the regular season, Cunningham raised her game even more during the Mercury’s run to the WNBA Finals. The 25-year-old was the difference-maker in Phoenix’s first-round, single-elimination win over the New York Liberty, scoring 21 points on 6-for-7 shooting from deep. She provided a spark on several occasions in the playoffs, as the Mercury overcame a shorthanded roster to push the Chicago Sky to four games in the Finals.

Now that Cunningham is locked in alongside the veteran core of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith, it appears the Mercury are going all in on settling unfinished business in 2022. Cunningham’s play should continue to trend in the right direction as she continues to find her confidence. Her toughness and ability to stretch defenses make her an asset to the Mercury when opposing defenses are focused on the Big Three.

Vanessa Nygaard will lead Phoenix into the 2022 season after she was named head coach last week. Nygaard replaces 2014 WNBA champion Sandy Brondello, who was hired as head coach of the Liberty after her contract with the Mercury was not renewed.

Rachel Galligan is a basketball analyst at Just Women’s Sports. A former professional basketball player and collegiate coach, she also contributes to Winsidr. Follow Rachel on Twitter @RachGall.