As part of the 2024 WNBA All-Star Weekend festivities, the Phoenix Mercury officially opened the doors to their new state-of-the-art practice facility on Thursday.

Along with a host of player-driven amenities, the 58,000-square-foot, $100 million property showcases two full-sized basketball courts named after veteran Mercury star Diana Taurasi, complete with a one-of-a-kind Taurasi-inspired logo.

Phoenix mercury players celebrating at the new team training center's diana taurasi courts during wnba all-star weekend
The Mercury hosted a grand opening for their new practice facility during WNBA All-Star Weekend. (Phoenix Mercury)

The Diana Taurasi courts pay tribute to the three-time WNBA champion, six-time Olympian, 11-time WNBA All-Star, and the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer.

"Phoenix is the best basketball city in the world and continues to elevate the standard in women’s professional sports," said Mercury owner Mat Ishbia in a team release. "This practice facility is about hard work, passion, and greatness, all attributes that Diana Taurasi exemplifies, and we are honored to name our basketball courts after the greatest women’s basketball player of all time."

phoenix mercury weight room
From training to recovery, each aspect of the Mercury's new facility is geared toward player conditioning. (Phoenix Mercury)

With 24-hour access for players and staff, the practice courts feature built-in technologies capable of providing real-time performance analytics. The facility also includes a strength and cardio training area, indoor and outdoor turf training areas, a functional movement area, and a team meeting room with theater-style seating.

Amenities specific to athlete recovery are also on hand, including a dedicated physician and testing room, recovery room, hydrotherapy room with hot and cold plunge pools, freestanding underwater treadmill, and two massage rooms. The locker room is home to vanity stations, a sauna, a steam room, and a wellness room.

phoenix mercury players lounge
In addition to recovery and training areas, the facility also showcases a stocked player lounge. (Phoenix Mercury)

An area for players to relax and refuel, the onsite player lounge and kitchen is stocked with private chef, snack bar, pantry, and smoothie bar.

"This practice facility sets the standard for what it means to invest in women’s sports," said Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns CEO Josh Bartelstein. "From performance to recovery to team culture, we are providing our players with the space and amenities they need to be and feel their best."

phoenix mercury training facility
The new training center is a part the Player 15 Group's downtown Phoenix campus. (Phoenix Mercury)

The Mercury's practice facility is located inside the Player 15 Group's team member campus, headquarters to owner Mat Ishbia’s sports, entertainment, real estate, and investment company. the Player 15 Group's team member campus. Debuting this past April, the grounds also house business facilities for the Phoenix Mercury, Phoenix Suns, Valley Suns, and arena operations.

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Phoenix Mercury guard Kahleah Copper has been working toward this year's WNBA All-Star Weekend for a long time.

2024 won't be Copper's first trip to the All-Star Game — in fact, she's been an All-Star for four consecutive seasons. This weekend also won't be Copper's greatest individual achievement to date. Afterall, it's tough to beat winning Finals MVP as part of the 2021 WNBA Champion Chicago Sky. And this year isn't even Copper's first time playing the All-Star Game in her home arena; that was in Chicago in 2022.

But this will be Copper's first All-Star Weekend as an Olympian, a title she's been striving for since the moment the Tokyo Games ended in August 2021. Back then, the 29-year-old had been one of Team USA's final roster cuts prior to the Olympics. And from that day forward, she made it her mission to channel  her disappointment into becoming an indispensable part of the 2024 Paris Olympic squad

"I wouldn't change my process for anything," she told Just Women's Sports earlier this week as she prepared to join the national team at training camp in Phoenix. "I'm super grateful for it, it has definitely prepared me. It's a testament to my work ethic, and me just really being persistent about what it is that I want."

A proud product of North Philadelphia, Copper has always been big on manifesting, speaking her intentions confidently into the universe and never shying away from  ambitions no matter how far-fetched they sounded.

"It's important to set goals, manifest those things, talk about it," she said. "Because the more you speak it, you speak it into existence." 

She also displays those goals on her refrigerator at home, forcing herself to keep them front of mind every day. The day she was named to the Olympic roster, ESPN’s Holly Rowe posted one of these visual reminders to social media: A 2021 photo showing Copper wearing a Team USA t-shirt over her Chicago Sky warmups, smiling at the camera while holding up the homemade gold medal slung around her neck.

"Kahleah Copper put out [the] photo on the left in Aug. 2021 and manifested that she WOULD be an Olympian," Rowe’s caption read. "Today she made team USA. Dreams to reality." 

Kahleah Copper of the USA Basketball Women's National Team poses for a portrait during Training Camp in Phoenix
The 2024 Paris Games will mark Copper's Olympic debut. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Copper turns her focus to Team USA

With one dream realized, Copper is aware that the job isn't finished, as USA women's basketball is aiming to win a historic eighth-straight Olympic gold medal in Paris this summer. That path doesn't technically begin with All-Star Weekend — where Team USA will take on Team WNBA in a crucial tune-up game — but the trial run could make a difference when the team touches down in Europe next week.

"It's serious, because other countries, they spend a lot of time together, so their chemistry is great," Copper said of her Olympic competition. "We don't get that, we don't have that much time together. Just putting all the great players together is not enough. It's gonna take a lot more than that."

With a laugh, Copper acknowledged that Team USA’s task at hand could lightly dampen the occasionally raucous All-Star festivities ("Balance!" was an oft-repeated word). But it's a cost she and her national team colleagues are more than willing to pay if it helps them come out on top in Paris. 

Of course, Copper — along with club teammates Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner — will be enjoying home-court advantage when the All-Star Game tips off inside Phoenix’s Footprint Center on Saturday, a factor that might put them slightly more at ease. 

WNBA players kahleah copper and candace parker celebrating winning the 2021 championship with the chicago sky
Copper won a WNBA Championship in 2021 alongside one of her idols, Candace Parker. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

A "damn near perfect" new WNBA team

Copper made the move to the Mercury just this season after establishing herself as a respected star in Chicago. What she joined was a work in progress, one of a number of key 2024 signings under first-time head coach Nate Tibbetts. Having played for the Sky since 2017, Copper wasn’t exactly sure what to expect of the transition. But any positive manifestations she put out about her new team seemed to have done the trick.

"I said I would never go to the West Coast, I could never go that far from home," she said. "But I didn't know that this organization was what it was: Super professional, really taking care of everything. It's damn near perfect."

Copper herself has been damn near perfect, shooting 45% from the field while leading sixth-place Phoenix to a 13-12 record on the season. She’s also averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game, second highest in the league behind soon-to-be six-time WNBA All-Star A’ja Wilson’s 27.2 points per game. It’s not lost on Copper that she’s playing in front of packed houses, with the Mercury accounting for some of the W’s biggest crowds throughout its 28-year run. 

"Here in Phoenix, our fans are amazing," Copper said. "They show up every single night."

Phoenix Mercury player Kahleah Copper poses on the court before the 2023 WNBA All-Star Game
Copper will play in her fourth consecutive All-Star Game on Saturday. (Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Copper's All-Star home-court advantage

All-Star Weekend presents Copper even more opportunities to connect with her new city, including by making an appearance at American Express's interactive fan experience at WNBA Live 2024. As part of the activation, Copper recorded a few short stories about growing up a basketball fan, describing the posters of Candace Parker, Seimone Augustus, and Ivory Latta she had as a child, and how she dreamed of joining her idols as a professional basketball player. 

The Rutgers grad said she was excited about connecting with Phoenix fans on their level, rooting herself in a shared love of the sport even as she moves from watching the WNBA on TV to becoming one of its brightest stars. The message is clear: If you want something bad enough, and you work for it hard enough, just about anything is possible.

But for all of Copper's personal manifestations, she's never lost sight of the most important thing: winning. And she won't stop grinding until she's posing for the cameras in Paris, holding up a real Olympic gold medal.

"When winning comes, the other stuff will come," she said. "The individual sh*t will come."

Voting for the 2024 AT&T WNBA All-Star Game opened at 2 PM ET today and runs through June 29th.

All active WNBA players are eligible to make the All-Star Game, set for July 20th in Phoenix. Unlike previous formats that featured two voted-in All-Star squads, this year’s contest pits a single All-Star team against the already-decided Olympic-bound USA Women’s National Team.

Fans can submit a daily ballot nominating up to 10 athletes via or the WNBA App.

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Fan-submitted ballots account for 50% of vote, with the other 50% split equally between current WNBA players and members of the media. The top 10 athletes will automatically make the All-Star Game, with league coaches then voting from a pool of the next 36 to complete Team WNBA’s 12-player roster. The final lineup will be announced on July 2nd.

This year's All-Star Game format presents an opportunity for fans to vote for players they might consider Olympic snubs. Indiana rookie Caitlin Clark and Dallas’s Arike Ogunbawole seem like shoo-ins given the discussion surrounding their Olympic omissions, while Connecticut stars Brionna Jones and DeWanna Bonner are also expected to snag All-Star nods.

And after a career-high 20-point, 10-rebound double-double in last night’s 83-75 loss to the Sun, Chicago rookie Angel Reese could also secure a spot.

Regardless, it won't necessarily be smooth sailing for Team USA, as history has tended to favor the underdog. 

The first USA vs. All-Stars matchup took place in 2021, with the league’s squad humbling the Tokyo Olympians 93-85. With 26 points, Ogunbawole was named All-Star Game MVP after barely missing the Olympic cut. Could she and Clark turn the tables on Team USA this year?

Watch more: "Were Caitlin Clark and Arike Ogunbowale snubbed?" by Expert Adjacent

The 28th WNBA season starts tonight, and one of the week's most anticipated games will be played without two of its biggest stars. 

Phoenix center Brittney Griner and Las Vegas guard Chelsea Gray are currently both sidelined with injuries, unfortunately missing out on the head-to-head clash that officially kicks off the 2024 season.

Griner is out with a left foot toe fracture, the Mercury announced on Monday. She’ll be out for an unspecified amount of time, and will be re-evaluated in the coming weeks. 

The 6-foot-9 starter is a major loss for Phoenix, as she added some much needed size to the guard-heavy roster. The team is scheduled to play eight games throughout the month of May, including two against defending champs Las Vegas along with a road game against the stacked New York Liberty. 

Gray, meanwhile, has been ruled out for the Aces’ season opener. She injured her foot during the WNBA Finals last season and spent much of training camp rehabbing the lingering knock. The former Finals MVP recently signed a contract extension with Las Vegas.

"We'll be reevaluating her daily, but also probably in a couple of weeks," head coach Becky Hammon said. "She's a little dinged up right now, so we'll take that one step at a time."

The Aces square off against the Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday at 10 PM ET.

The WNBA 28th season officially begins on Tuesday, May 14th.

A four-game doubleheader is set to kick things off on opening day, with a sold-out matchup featuring Caitlin Clark’s regular season debut with the Indiana Fever leading the charge. A'ja Wilson and the reigning champion Las Vegas Aces will also be in action, going up against the Phoenix Mercury at 10 PM ET in the evening's second act. 

First up are the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics, with 2023 league MVP Breanna Stewart hoping to once again guide her team back to the WNBA Finals. Last year, Stewart led the team in scoring with 23.1 points per game, while the Liberty notched a league-best 11.1 three-pointers per game last season. 

For their part, the Mystics find themselves without longtime forward Elena Delle Donne this season. Rookie Aaliyah Edwards will attempt to fill the void, being one to watch as Washington looks to turn the page on its next chapter.

At 7:30 PM ET, the Fever face the perennially dangerous Connecticut Sun. Indiana is coming off their best season since 2019, finishing the year 13 and 27 overall. Armed with 2024's No. 1 draft pick, they're now looking to make their first playoffs appearance since 2016. This could be one of the first true tests for the much-hyped Caitlin Clark, as the rookie squares off with Sun starter DeWanna Bonner.

The 10 PM ET bill keeps things going with the 2024 WNBA title-winning Aces hosting the Mercury at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Despite losing superstar Candace Parker to retirement in April, the Aces' roster remains stacked with household names Sydney Colson, Kelsey Plum, and Kiah Stokes complementing rookie Kate Martin and two-time league MVP Wilson. They'll need to harness some of that 2023 champion chemistry on the court if they want to one-up a veteran-heavy Phoenix squad.

Rounding out the night is a Seattle team headlined by offseason additions Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith plus 2024 draft pick, UConn alum Nika Mühl. Paired up with team stalwart Jewell Loyd, the powerful arrangement could make for a sneaky sleeper pick for the WNBA Finals. Minnesota, meanwhile, won both of its preseason games, with 2024 draftee Alissa Pili putting up some solid performances under the basket. Pili, alongside Napheesa Collier and Diamond Miller, could form a tough defensive wall capable of silencing even the most offensively gifted opponents.

Tuesday, May 14th:

Wednesday, May 15th:

The Phoenix Mercury center spoke with Robin Roberts about her 10-month incarceration, reflecting on her poor living conditions and shaky mental state ahead of her May 7th memoir.

"The mattress had a huge blood stain on it. I had no soap, no toilet paper," Griner told the ABC News anchor in last night’s 20/20 special. "That was the moment where I just felt less than a human." 

She also detailed some of her lowest moments during that time, saying with tears in her eyes that she went so far as to consider taking her own life on more than one occasion. However, the thought of Russian officials not releasing her body back to her family made her reconsider.

"I just didn't think I could get through what I needed to get through," said Griner.

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In February 2022, Griner was arrested and charged with drug possession and smuggling by a Russian court after Sheremetyevo International Airport police found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. The cartridges were prescribed by Griner’s doctor for chronic pain back in Arizona, where medical marijuana is legal. In the interview, the two-time Olympic gold medalist said she had a "mental lapse" while packing, and never intended to bring the cannabis products with her when she returned to play for UMMC Ekaterinburg.

"It's just so easy to have a mental lapse," Griner said. "Granted, my mental lapse was on a more grand scale. But it doesn't take away from how that can happen." 

She was later sentenced to nine years behind bars after her Russian attorneys advised her to plead guilty the following July. Griner was then sent to a remote penal colony where she was forced to spend her days cutting cloth to make military uniforms. From there, it only got worse.

"Honestly, it just had to happen," she said when asked about her decision to cut off her signature long locks. "We had spiders above my bed making nests.

"My dreads started to freeze," she added. "They would just stay wet and cold and I was getting sick. You've gotta do what you've gotta do to survive."

Shortly after Griner’s initial arrest, the U.S. State Department classified her case as wrongfully detained, escalating its urgency within the government and calling even more attention to the situation. On December 8th, she was freed in a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Biden administration.

While she told Roberts she was "thrilled" when she got the news, she was also very upset about having to leave fellow wrongful detainee Paul Whelan behind. She also continues to carry guilt about her arrest, saying "At the end of the day, it's my fault. And I let everybody down."

Griner’s memoir, Coming Home, hits shelves on May 7th.

"Coming Home begins in a land where my roots developed and is the diary of my heartaches and regrets," Griner told ABC News in an exclusive statement. "But, ultimately, the book is also a story of how my family, my faith, and the support of millions who rallied for my rescue helped me endure a nightmare."

Elena Delle Donne could be on the move.

While the Washington Mystics extended a core qualifying offer to Delle Donne on Jan. 13, a number of teams have inquired about the availability of the guard, according to Khristina Williams. Among those teams are the Phoenix Mercury.

Any type of deal would have to be completed via a sign-and-trade, and according to Williams, the Mystics are seeking draft pick compensation for the star.

Currently, the Mercury hold the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, as well as the No. 13 pick and the No. 25 pick.

Delle Donne is one of the top free agents this offseason and has played for the Mystics since 2017. In that time, she won a WNBA championship with the team, but appeared in just 53 total games of her contract due to injuries.

Under the core tag, Delle Donne cannot talk to teams unless given the okay by the Mystics. A trade by the team would have to happen with her agreement.

The Indiana Fever hold the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft for the second consecutive year after again winning the draft lottery.

Following the Fever in the 2024 draft will be the Los Angeles Sparks (No. 2), Phoenix Mercury (No. 3) and Seattle Storm (No. 4).

No. 1 overall picks have a prolific history in the WNBA. Those players have won 38 championships, 13 MVPs and 124 All-Star selections, according to ESPN.

The Fever were represented at the draft lottery by 2023 top pick and WNBA rookie of the year Aliyah Boston. If Iowa star Caitlin Clark decides to go pro after her senior season, she and Boston on the same team could prove deadly for the rest of the league. 

“I think it’s just going to be another talented player that we can use to help build us to back to the franchise that the Fever was at, so I’m super excited for the upcoming draft,” Boston said to ESPN on the broadcast. 

Like many other players for the draft, Clark has some NCAA eligibility remaining, which could shake up draft predictions. Players have until March to declare for the draft — unless their team is in the NCAA tournament after the deadline, in which case players have until 48 hours after their final game to declare.

The draft is scheduled for April 15, 2024, and Just Women’s Sports has made early predictions for the lottery picks.

The WNBA draft lottery is on Sunday, with four teams in the running for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 draft.

Among those teams are the Phoenix Mercury, who finished last in the league in the regular season. It was a tumultuous season, with the team firing head coach Vanessa Nygaard midway through after losing 10 of 12 games to start the season. The team’s playoff streak of 10 consecutive postseason appearances also came to an end.

The Mercury battled a number of injuries. All-Star Brittney Griner missed several games on mental health leave stemming from her 10-month detainment in Russia last year. Meanwhile, veteran guard Skylar Diggins-Smith, who had a career-best season in 2022-23, has been out on maternity leave and will not return to the team.

Griner intends to stay in Phoenix, calling it “home” in September. Diana Taurasi, meanwhile, signed a contract extension with the team earlier this year. The team also recently hired Nate Tibbetts as its next head coach, with Kristi Toliver joining the team as associate head coach.

All signs point to the team improving on last year, although Mercury guard Sophie Cunningham would like one last piece of the puzzle to help propel the team past its low points: the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

Iowa star Caitlin Clark is the consensus pick in mock drafts to go in that first spot.

“We deserve it,” she told AZ Sports. “We have been on the struggle bus the past couple years and it has been awful. … But we have a new GM, a new head coach and, of course, the new ownership with Mat Ishiba, and there have been changes made over here. So we are feeling good. … Whatever good luck or vibes you have, please send them our way because we would love to get Caitlin Clark on this train.”

The Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm are the remaining teams in the lottery, with Indiana holding the best odds at 44.2 percent. Phoenix has the second-best odds (27.6 percent) in the draft lottery.

Kristi Toliver is joining the WNBA coaching ranks for the 2024 season as associate head coach for the Phoenix Mercury.

A two-time WNBA champion and three-time All-Star, Toliver played for the Washington Mystics in the 2023 but tore her ACL in September. She has not formally announced her retirement, though her move to the Mercury bench would seem to signal a career transition.

Toliver, 36, brings ample WNBA experience to her new role as an assistant to Mercury head coach Nate Tibbetts, who came to the team with no women’s basketball experience. Tibbetts was hired in October to succeed interim head coach Nikki Blue, who took the helm after Phoenix fired head coach Vanessa Nygaard in June.

In Toliver’s 14 seasons in the WNBA, she played for the Mystics, the Los Angeles Sparks and the Chicago Sky. She won titles with the Mystics in 2019 and with the Sparks in 2016, and she was named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player in 2012.

Toliver also brings coaching experience, as she spent four seasons as an NBA assistant coach. She became the first active WNBA player to do so in 2018, when she joined Scott Brooks’ staff with the Washington Wizards. And then she spent two seasons on Jason Kidd’s staff with the Dallas Mavericks.

Kristi Toliver spent two years as an assistant coach for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)