Phoenix Mercury coaching staff to coach all-star team after team’s hot start

The Phoenix Mercury have earned its first All-Star representation of the year as the coaching staff today earned coaching duties in the 2018 WNBA All-Star Game Saturday, July 28, in Minneapolis.

Head Coach Sandy Brondello, along with assistant coaches Julie Hairgrove and Todd Troxel, will make their second appearance as a staff at All-Star Weekend by virtue of guaranteeing to have one of the league’s top two records on Friday, July 13, according to a press release.

“We’re really excited to be going to the All-Star game this year,” Coach Brondello said in a prepared statement. “It means we’re one of the top-two teams in the league, and that’s right where we want to be at this point in the season. It’ll be a great opportunity for our staff to go and have some fun with some of the best players in the world.”

Coaching staff’s for this year’s All-Star game were selected based on records, with the top-two teams in the league this season earning the nod to coach the WNBA’s 22-best players in the Twin Cities, a release states.

The Mercury rank second in the league with a 14-7 record, trailing only the Seattle Storm (15-6), whose coaching staff led by Dan Hughes will coach the opposing team in the All-Star Game.

Coaches Brondello, Hairgrove and Troxel also served as coaches in the 2015 WNBA All-Star Game under the league’s old format where the prior year’s conference champions earned the coaching spots.

“It’s pretty amazing to get to go coach against Dan,” Coach Brondello said. “He gave me my first opportunity to coach in the WNBA, which I’m forever grateful for. He’s a great guy and we’ll go out there and have some fun and enjoy the All-Star weekend.”

Coach Brondello has guided the Mercury to its third-best start in franchise history this season, totaling 14 wins in the team’s first 21 games of the season.

She was recently named WNBA Coach of the Month after leading Phoenix to a league-best 11-2 record in June, tying the franchise record for most wins in a month (11 in July 2014).

Additionally, the team’s eight-game win streak to begin the month of June is the longest win streak of this year’s WNBA season and marks the second-longest win streak in franchise history.

In this year’s new All-Star format, the top-two players with the most votes will be announced as captains Tuesday, July 17. The captains will select their 11-player teams out of the given player pool and rosters will be announced Thursday, July 19 prior to the Washington Mystics at Dallas Wings game on ESPN2.

Coaches and captains will select their starting lineups Friday, July 28 live on ESPN2 at the WNBA All-Star Welcome Reception.

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