Pitchfork Press

Cronkite Summer Journalism Institute 2012

Mercury crowned ‘most fun,’ draws crowds despite slump

The Phoenix Mercury practice at U.S. Airways Arena before their next game.

The Phoenix Mercury may be in a rut with recent injuries suffered by critical players Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor, but their dynamic presence on the court earned the team the title of “most fun team to watch,” according to a WNBA survey among general managers.

Center Krystal Thomas attributes the accolade to Mercury fans, which rank second highest in 2012 attendance, lagging only behind the Washington Mystics by a little over two hundred fans per game.

“We have some of the best fans in the league … If we’re playing like crap one day someone will usually say ‘We got people out there who came to support us and what we’re putting on the court,” said Thomas. “We have a lot of support, so of course we’re carrying that with us through the game.”

Forward Charde Houston agreed and said she “owes it to the fans that pay to see good basketball in a good, family environment.”

Houston cited a new tradition for the team aimed at creating this atmosphere: dancing after every home game victory.

The team recently took to the court and danced after their victory over the Tulsa Shock on June 3, 2012, with plans to continue the tradition into the future.

Houston also noted that the energy the team brings is another major reason to watch.

“We play fast. We play quick. We’re energetic,” Houston said. “Whenever you have that and can have it mesh well, it creates a fun atmosphere.”

Thomas echoed these statements, saying, “We go hard. It’s basketball so it’s a lot of fun.”

Coach Corey Gaines called the team “up-tempo,” but also noted that the team does not alter its playing style to rouse the crowd.

In fact, Mercury players were quick to point out that skilled playing was at the heart of the team.

Thomas said that once she steps onto the court, everything else fades away.

“Once you get there, it’s all over,” she said.

~Julian De Ocampo, Entertainment Editor

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