The Phoenix Mercury is a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, playing in the Western Conference in the Women's National Basketball Association. The team was founded; the team is owned by Robert Sarver, who owns the Mercury's NBA counterpart, the Phoenix Suns. The Mercury has qualified for the WNBA Playoffs in eleven of its twenty years in Phoenix; the franchise has been home to many high-quality players such as former UConn sharpshooter Diana Taurasi, explosive Rutgers grad Cappie Pondexter, former Temple power forward Candice Dupree, former Baylor standout center Brittney Griner, Australian guard Penny Taylor. In 1998, 2007, 2009, 2014, the Mercury went to the WNBA Finals. With a cast that included hall-of-famer Nancy Lieberman, possible future hall-of-famers Michele Timms of Australia, Jennifer Gillom, hyper-active star Bridget Pettis, outspoken coach Cheryl Miller, the Mercury established itself as a major franchise. In the first WNBA season, the Mercury posted a 16–12 record and reached the first WNBA playoffs.
The Mercury lost to the New York Liberty, though, in those playoffs. In 1998, the Mercury again qualified for the playoffs; the Mercury defeated the Cleveland Rockers to reach the WNBA Finals for the first time. In a hard fought series, the Mercury fell 2 games to 1 to the defending champion Houston Comets. In 1999, the Mercury missed the playoffs. In 2000, the Mercury got swept by the Los Angeles Sparks; the team descended into turmoil after the season, as coach Miller left and the original core group of players broke up, via retirement or trades, the team stopped being a playoff contender. From 2001–2004, the Mercury were at the bottom of the WNBA. Fielding miserable teams, the Mercury were never competitive; the Mercury went through coach after coach, nothing worked. During the lean years, the franchise remained in the news as forward Lisa Harrison would become a sex symbol. Playboy Magazine offered her money to pose in their magazine, she would decline the offer. After a horrible 2003 season, in which the Mercury posted an 8–26 record, the Mercury won the #1 overall choice in the 2004 WNBA Draft, select coveted former UConn star Diana Taurasi.
Taurasi went on to win the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award in the 2004 season, as the Mercury posted a better 17–17 record. The Mercury posted a 16 -- 18 record in 2005. Former NBA coach Paul Westhead became the Mercury's head coach prior to the 2006 season and brought his up-tempo style to Phoenix. Westhead was the first WNBA coach to have won a previous NBA championship; the Mercury drafted Cappie Pondexter with the #2 overall selection in the 2006 WNBA Draft. The addition provided Taurasi with a solid #2 player. Westhead's run and gun offense became The Mercury's trademark and the franchise would soon set new league records for points scored; the 2006 season was a positive one for the Mercury, as they posted a winning record for the first time since 2000, at 18–16. The Mercury fell just short of a postseason berth; as the 2007 season came, the Mercury were hungry for a deep playoff run. The Mercury would run away with the Western Conference, posting their best record in franchise history at 23–11, as well as clinching the #1 seed.
The Mercury set a record by averaging 89.0 points in a season during 2007. In their first playoffs since 2000, the Mercury made quick work of the Seattle Storm in the first round, blowing them out in two games. In the Western Finals, the Mercury swept the San Antonio Silver Stars in a closer series, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the first time in nine years. In the Finals, the Mercury faced the defending 2006 champions Detroit Shock; the two teams split the first two games in Detroit. Coming back home, the Mercury suffered a letdown in game 3, losing 88–83. Down 2 -- 1, the Mercury had to lose. Game 4 came down to the final seconds, but the Mercury edged out the Shock 77–76, with Cappie Pondexter scoring 26 points, forced a Game 5 in Detroit. In Game 5, Phoenix won by a score of 108–92. Penny Taylor scored a game high 30 points in Game 5, went 18-for-18 from the line; the Mercury won the series and their first championship with a 108–92 Game 5 victory, becoming the first WNBA team to win a championship on the road.
Cappie Pondexter was named the WNBA Finals MVP, averaged 22.0 points and 5.6 assists in the series. On November 7, 2007, The Mercury announced the hiring of Corey Gaines as head coach to replace the departing Paul Westhead. In 2008, the Mercury started and never found a groove, finishing the season with a disappointing record of 16–18, well out of the playoff picture in a tough Western Conference; the Mercury became the first team in WNBA history with the dubious honor of failing to qualify for the playoffs after winning the WNBA Finals the year before. However, a year the Mercury were back to what they were two years before; the Mercury clinched the top spot in the playoffs along with the number one seed in the Western Conference. The Mercury defeated the 2008 conference champion San Antonio Silver Stars in the first round, winning the exciting series 2–1 after losing the first game on the road; the Mercury defeated the Los Angeles Sparks in the conference finals, winning 2–1 in a series that ended Lisa Leslie's career.
The Mercury went on to beat the Indiana Fever 3–2 in the best of 5 series to capture the seco
The five basketball positions employed by organized basketball teams are the point guard, the shooting guard, the small forward, the power forward, the center. The point guard is the leader of the team on the court; this position requires substantial ball handling skills and the ability to facilitate the team during a play. The shooting guard, as the name implies, is the best shooter; as well as being capable of shooting from longer distances, this position tends to be the best defender on the team. The small forward has an aggressive approach to the basket when handling the ball; the small forward is known to make cuts to the basket in efforts to get open for shots. The power forward and the center are called the "frontcourt" acting as their team's primary rebounders or shot blockers, or receiving passes to take inside shots; the center is the larger of the two. Only three positions were recognized based on where they played on the court: Guards played outside and away from the hoop and forwards played outside and near the baseline, with the center positioned in the key.
During the 1980s, as team strategy evolved. More specialized roles developed. Team strategy and available personnel, still dictate the positions used by a particular team. For example, the dribble-drive motion offense and the Princeton offense use four interchangeable guards and one center; this set is known as a "four-in and one-out" play scheme. Other combinations are prevalent. Besides the five basic positions, some teams use non-standard or hybrid positions, such as the point forward, a hybrid small forward/point guard; the point guard known as the one, is the team's best ball handler and passer. Therefore, they lead their team in assists and are able to create shots for themselves and their teammates, they are quick and are able to hit shots either outside the three-point line or "in the paint" depending on the player's skill level. Point guards are looked upon as the "floor general" or the "coach on the floor", they should study the game and game film to be able to recognize the weaknesses of the defense, the strengths of their own offense.
They are responsible for directing plays, making the position equivalent to that of quarterback in American football, playmaker in association football, center in ice hockey, or setter in volleyball. Good point guards increase team efficiency and have a high number of assists, they are referred to as dribblers or play-makers. In the NBA, point guards are the shortest players on the team and are 6 feet 4 inches or shorter; the shooting guard is known as the two or the off guard. Along with the small forward, a shooting guard is referred to as a wing because of its use in common positioning tactics; as the name suggests, most shooting guards are prolific from the three-point range. Besides being able to shoot the ball, shooting guards tend to be the best defender on the team, as well as being able to move without the ball to create open looks for themselves; some shooting guards have good ball handling skills creating their own shots off the dribble. A versatile shooting guard will have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities known as combo guards.
Bigger shooting guards tend to play as small forwards. In the NBA, shooting guards range from 6 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 8 inches; the small forward known as the three, is considered to be the most versatile of the main five basketball positions. Versatility is key for small forwards because of the nature of their role, which resembles that of a shooting guard more than that of a power forward; this is why the small forward and shooting guard positions are interchangeable and referred to as wings. Small forwards have a variety such as quickness and strength inside. One common thread among all kinds of small forwards is an ability to "get to the line" and draw fouls by aggressively attempting plays, lay-ups, or slam dunks; as such, accurate foul shooting is a common skill for small forwards, many of whom record a large portion of their points from the foul line. Besides being able to drive to the basket, they are good shooters from long range; some small forwards have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities as point forwards.
Small forwards should be able to do a little bit of everything on the court playing roles such as swingmen and defensive specialists. In the NBA, small forwards range from 6 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 9 inches; the power forward known as the four plays a role similar to that of the center, down in the "post" or "low blocks". The power forward is the team's most versatile scorer, being able to score close to the basket while being able to shoot mid-range jump shots from 12 to 18 feet from the basket; some power forwards have become known as stretch fours, since extending their shooting range to three-pointers. On defense, they are required to have the strength to guard bigger players close to the basket and to have the athleticism to guard quick players away from the basket. Most power forwards tend to be more versatile than centers since they can be part of plays and are not always in the low block. In the
Field goal (basketball)
In basketball, a field goal is a basket scored on any shot or tap other than a free throw, worth two or three points depending on the distance of the attempt from the basket. Uncommonly, a field goal can be worth other values such as one point in FIBA 3x3 basketball competitions or four points in the BIG3 basketball league. "Field goal" is the official terminology used by the National Basketball Association in their rule book, in their box scores and statistics, in referees' rulings. The same term is the official wording used by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and high school basketball. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the NBA record for field goals made in a career with 15,837. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the most prolific scorers of all time, holds the top four spots for most field goals made in a season and has the two top field goal percentages for a season. One of the greatest field-goal shooters of all time is Michael Jordan, who led the NBA in field goals made ten times. Shaquille O'Neal has the record for most seasons with the best field goal percentage, Artis Gilmore has the record for highest career field goal percentage.
Steve Nash was one of the greatest all-around shooters in the history of the NBA, holding the record for 50–40–90 seasons, a mark of all-around shooting for two-point field goals, three-point field goals, free throws. Nash recorded four of the eleven 50–40–90 seasons in NBA history. One type of field goal is called a slam dunk; this occurs when a player jumps near the basket with possession of the ball, throwing the ball down through the basket while airborne. The word "slam" is derived onomatopoeically from the sound of the player's hands hitting, grabbing releasing the hoop. NBA records
In basketball, a rebound, sometimes colloquially referred to as a board, is a statistic awarded to a player who retrieves the ball after a missed field goal or free throw. Rebounds are given to a player who tips in a missed shot on his team's offensive end. Rebounds in basketball are a routine part in the game, as most possessions change after a shot is made, or the rebound allows the defensive team to take possession. A rebound can be grabbed by either a defensive player. Rebounds are divided into two main categories: "offensive rebounds", in which the ball is recovered by the offensive side and does not change possession, "defensive rebounds", in which the defending team gains possession; the majority of rebounds are defensive because the team on defense tends to be in better position to recover missed shots. Offensive rebounds give the offensive team another opportunity to score whether right away or by resetting the offense. A block is not considered a rebound. A ball does not need to "rebound" off the rim or backboard for a rebound to be credited.
Rebounds are credited after any missed shot, including air balls. If a player takes a shot and misses and the ball bounces on the ground before someone picks it up the person who picks up the ball is credited for a rebound. Rebounds are credited to the first player that gains clear possession of the ball or to the player that deflects the ball into the basket for a score. A rebound is credited to a team when it gains possession of the ball after any missed shot, not cleared by a single player. A team rebound is never credited to any player, is considered to be a formality as according to the rules of basketball, every missed shot must be rebounded whether a single player controls the ball or not. Great rebounders tend to be strong; because height is so important, most rebounds are made by centers and power forwards, who are positioned closer to the basket. The lack of height can sometimes be compensated by the strength to box out taller players away from the ball to capture the rebound. For example, Charles Barkley once led the league in rebounding despite being much shorter than his counterparts.
Some shorter guards can be excellent rebounders as well such as point guard Jason Kidd who led the New Jersey Nets in rebounding for several years. Great rebounders must have a keen sense of timing and positioning. Great leaping ability is an important asset, but not necessary. Players such as Larry Bird and Moses Malone were excellent rebounders, but were never known for their leaping ability. Bird has stated. That's where I get mine"). Players position themselves in the best spot to get the rebound by "boxing out"—i.e. by positioning themselves between an opponent and the basket, maintaining body contact with the player he is guarding. The action can be called "blocking out". A team can be boxed out by several players using this technique to stop the other team from rebounding; because fighting for a rebound can be physical, rebounding is regarded as "grunt work" or a "hustle" play. Overly aggressive boxing out or preventing being boxed out can lead to personal fouls. Statistics of a player's "rebounds per game" or "rebounding average" measure a player's rebounding effectiveness by dividing the number of rebounds by the number of games played.
Rebound rates go beyond raw rebound totals by taking into account external factors, such as the number of shots taken in games and the percentage of those shots that are made. Rebounds were first recorded in the NBA during the 1950–51 season. Both offensive and defensive rebounds were first recorded in the NBA during the 1973–74 season and ABA during the 1967–68 season. New camera technology has been able to shed much more light on where missed shots will land. Wilt Chamberlain – led the NBA in rebounds in 11 different seasons, has the most career rebounds in the regular season, the highest career average, the single season rebounding records in total and average, most rebounds in a regular season game and playoff game in the NBA, has the most career All-Star Game rebounds. Bill Russell – first player to average over 20 rebounds per game in the regular season, ranks second to Chamberlain in regular season total and average rebounds, averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in 10 of 13 seasons played, grabbed 51 rebounds in a single game, grabbed a record 32 rebounds in one half, grabbed 40 rebounds in the NBA Finals twice, is the all-time playoff leader in total and average rebounds.
Bob Pettit – averaged 20.3 rebounds per game in the 1960-61 season, his career average of 16.2 rebounds per game is third all-time, holds the top two performances for rebounds in an NBA All-Star Game with 26 and 27. Nate Thurmond – averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons, career average of 15.0 rpg, holds the all-time NBA record for rebounds in a single quarter with 18. He is the only player besides Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry Lucas to record more than 40 rebounds in a single game. Jerry Lucas – averaged more than 20 rebounds per game in two seasons, had a career average of 15.6 rpg. Along with Russell and Thurmond is one of only four players to grab at least 40 rebounds in a single game. Moses Malone – led the NBA in rebounds per game in six d
In basketball, free throws or foul shots are unopposed attempts to score points by shooting from behind the free throw line, a line situated at the end of the restricted area. Free throws are awarded after a foul on the shooter by the opposing team; each successful free throw is worth one point. Free throws can be shot at a high percentage by good players. In the NBA, most players make 70–80% of their attempts; the league's best shooters can make 90% of their attempts over a season, while notoriously poor shooters may struggle to make 50% of them. During a foul shot, a player's feet must both be behind the foul line. If a player lines up with part of his or her foot on or forward of the line, a violation is called and the shot does not count. Foul shots are worth one point. There are many situations; the first and most common is. If the player misses the shot during the foul, the player receives either two or three free throws depending on whether the shot was taken in front of or behind the three-point line.
If, despite the foul, the player still makes the attempted shot, the number of free throws is reduced to one, the basket counts. This is known depending on the value of the made basket; the second is. This happens when, in a single period, a team commits a set number of fouls whether or not in the act of shooting. In FIBA, NBA and NCAA women's play, the limit is four fouls per quarter. In the WNBA, the fouled player shoots two free throws starting with the opponent's fifth foul, or second team foul in the final minute if that team has committed under 5 fouls in a period. In FIBA and NCAA women's basketball, the fouled player shoots two free throws starting with the opponent's fifth foul in a period, considering that team fouls accrue from the fourth period on, as all overtimes are extensions of it for purposes of accrued team fouls. In NCAA men's basketball, beginning with the seventh foul of the half, one free throw is awarded; this is called shooting a "one-and-one". Starting with the tenth foul of the half, two free throws are awarded.
In addition, overtime is considered an extension of the second half for purposes of accumulated team fouls. Free throws are not awarded for offensive fouls if the team fouled is in the bonus; the number of fouls that triggers a penalty is higher in college men's basketball because the game is divided into two 20-minute halves, as opposed to quarters of 12 minutes in the NBA or 10 minutes in the WNBA, college women's basketball, or FIBA play. As in professional play, a foul in the act of shooting is a two- or three-shot foul, depending on the value of the shot attempt, with one free throw being awarded if the shot is good. If a player is injured upon being fouled and cannot shoot free throws, the offensive team may designate any player from the bench to shoot in the place of the injured player in college. If a player fouled takes exception to the foul, starts or participates in a fight, gets ejected, he or she is not allowed to take his or her free throws, the opposing team will choose a replacement shooter.
In all other circumstances, the fouled player must shoot her own foul shots. If a player, coach, or team staff shows poor sportsmanship, which may include arguing with a referee, or commits a technical violation that person may get charged with a more serious foul called a technical foul. In the NBA, a technical foul results in one free throw attempt for the other team. In FIBA play, technical fouls result in two free throws in all situations. Under NCAA rules, technical fouls are divided into "Class A" and "Class B". Class A technicals result in two free throws, Class B technicals result in one. At all levels, the opposing team may choose any player, on the court to shoot the free throws, is awarded possession of the ball after the free throws. Since there is no opportunity for a rebound, these free throws are shot with no players on the lane. If a referee deems a foul aggressive, or that it did not show an attempt to play the ball, the referee can call an more severe foul, known as an "unsportsmanlike foul" in international play or a "flagrant foul" in the NBA and NCAA basketball.
This foul is charged against the player, the opponent gets two free throws and possession of t
Three-point field goal
A three-point field goal is a field goal in a basketball game made from beyond the three-point line, a designated arc surrounding the basket. A successful attempt is worth three points, in contrast to the two points awarded for field goals made within the three-point line and the one point for each made free throw; the distance from the basket to the three-point line varies by competition level: in the National Basketball Association the arc is 23 feet 9 inches from the center of the basket. In the NBA and FIBA/WNBA, the three-point line becomes parallel to each sideline at the points where the arc is 3 feet from each sideline. In the NCAA the arc is continuous for 180° around the basket. There are more variations. In 3x3, a FIBA-sanctioned variant of the half-court 3-on-3 game, the same line exists, but shots from behind it are only worth 2 points with all other shots worth 1 point; the three-point line was first tested at the collegiate level in 1945, with a 21-foot line, in a game between Columbia and Fordham, but it was not kept as a rule.
There was another one-game experiment in 1958, this time with a 23-foot line, in a game between St. Francis and Siena. In 1961, Boston University and Dartmouth played one game with an experimental rule that counted all field goals as three points. At the direction of Abe Saperstein, the American Basketball League became the first basketball league to institute the rule in 1961, its three-point line was a radius of 25 feet from the baskets, except along the sides. The Eastern Professional Basketball League followed in its 1963–64 season; the three-point shot became popularized by the American Basketball Association, introduced in its inaugural 1967–68 season. ABA commissioner George Mikan stated the three-pointer "would give the smaller player a chance to score and open up the defense to make the game more enjoyable for the fans." During the 1970s, the ABA used the three-point shot, along with the slam dunk, as a marketing tool to compete with the NBA. Three years in June 1979, the NBA adopted the three-point line for a one-year trial for the 1979–80 season, despite the view of many that it was a gimmick.
Chris Ford of the Boston Celtics is credited with making the first three-point shot in NBA history on October 12, 1979. Rick Barry of the Houston Rockets, in his final season made one in the same game, Kevin Grevey of the Washington Bullets made one that Friday night as well; the sport's international governing body, FIBA, introduced the three-point line in 1984, at 6.25 m, it made its Olympic debut in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. The NCAA's Southern Conference became the first collegiate conference to use the three-point rule, adopting a 22-foot line for the 1980–81 season. Ronnie Carr of Western Carolina was the first to score a three-point field goal in college basketball history on November 29, 1980. Over the following five years, NCAA conferences differed in their use of the rule and distance required for a three-pointer; the line was as close as 17 ft 9 in in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as far away as 22 ft in the Big Sky. Used only in conference play for several years, it was adopted by the NCAA in April 1986 for the 1986–87 season at 19 ft 9 in and was first used in the NCAA Tournament in March 1987.
The NCAA adopted the three-pointer in women's basketball on an experimental basis for that season at the same distance, made its use mandatory beginning in 1987–88. In 2007, the NCAA lengthened the men's distance by a foot to 20 ft 9 in, effective with the 2008–09 season, the women's line was moved to match the men's in 2011–12. American high schools, along with elementary and middle schools, adopted a 19 ft 9 in line nationally in 1987, a year after the NCAA; the NCAA used the FIBA three-point line in the National Invitation Tournament in 2018. For three seasons beginning in 1994–95, the NBA attempted to address decreased scoring by shortening the distance of the line from 23 ft 9 in to a uniform 22 ft around the basket. From the 1997–98 season on, the NBA reverted the line to its original distance of 23 ft 9 in. Ray Allen is the NBA all-time leader in career made three-pointers with 2,973. In 2008, FIBA announced that the distance would be increased by 50 cm to 6.75 m, with the change being phased in beginning in October 2010.
In December 2012, the WNBA announced that it would be using the FIBA distance, starting in 2013. The NBA has discussed adding a four-point line, according to president Rod Thorn. In the NBA, three-point field goals became more frequent along the years by mid 2015 onward; the increase in latter years has been attributed to NBA player Stephen Curry, credited with revolutionizing the game by inspiring teams to employ the three-point shot as part of their winning strategy. The 1979–80 season had an average 0.8 three-point goals per game and 2.8 attempts. The 1989–90 season had an average 2.2 three-point goals per game and 6.6 attempts. The 1999–2000 season had an average 4.8 three-point goals