Sophie Brunner, an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State, is on the Phoenix Mercury’s season-opening roster that was announced Friday.
Brunner, a 6-1 forward, will become ASU’s sixth ever WNBA player and fourth with the Mercury. Others were Kym Hampton, Monique Ambers, Ryneldi Becenti, Dymond Simon and Briann January. January still is playing with the Indiana Fever and recently was named ASU assistant coach.
The Mercury begin their 21st season at home Sunday against Dallas, followed by a game against Indiana on Wednesday.
“Sophie should have been drafted,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “It was fortunate for her to fall to us. She’s relentless, always around the ball and going after a rebound or loose ball. That’s the kind of player we like to have in our system. She’s sneaky athletic. We’re excited about what she could bring to our team.”
Brunner will play as a backup power forward while working on perimeter skills that could eventually allow her to play small forward.
“She’s a great teammate and we want that in our locker room,” Pitman said.
Brunner was among players included on the media day roster Monday but had to wait out cuts from other WNBA teams to know if she would remain on the 12-player opening day roster.
Those released around the league included Chantel Osahor of Phoenix, who led the nation in rebounding for Washington. Osahor was a second-round draft pick by Chicago that Minnesota acquired in a trade. Sydney Wiese of Phoenix, a first-round draft pick, made the roster of the WNBA defending champion Los Angeles Sparks. Wiese played at Oregon State.
MORE: Mercury schedule 2017
Brunner finished her ASU career as the school’s second-leading career rebounder behind Hampton and third-leading scorer behind Hampton and Cassandra Lander. She averaged 13.6 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior, making All Pac-12 for a third time and WBCA All-America honorable mention for a second time. Brunner played on the 2015 U.S. Pan American Games team.
The Mercury used their only draft pick on Baylor guard Alexis Prince, taking her in the third round. Prince also made a roster than includes 10 players not with Phoenix in 2016, joining returnees Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner.
The Mercury went 16-18 last season but still reached the WNBA playoff semifinals.
Sophie Brunner, 6-1 F
Emma Cannon, 6-2 F
Cayla George, 6-4 F/C
Brittney Griner, 6-9 C
Camille Little, 6-2 F
Leilani Mitchell, 5-5 G
Shay Murphy, 5-11 G
Alexis Prince 6-2 G
Danielle Robinson, 5-9 G
Stephanie Talbot, 6-2 G
Diana Taurasi, 6-0 G
Yvonne Turner, 5-10 G